I think you have an opportunity to…be a shining example of what can happen when you actually believe in and act upon the inherent value and dignity of a human person.
That’s what Jerry Zandstra, entrepreneur, business school professor, and ordained minister shared about Barry-Wehmiller recently. Jerry is a co-founder of Inno-Versity, an eLearning company that creates innovative online training for companies worldwide. A mutual friend suggested we meet as Inno-Versity could help tell the story of Truly Human Leadership by integrating audio sound bites with captivating animated illustrations.
When Jerry and I connected recently via phone, we quickly discovered our similar passions: creating environments in which people can develop to their full capacity. Jerry wanted to see firsthand what Barry-Wehmiller and Truly Human Leadership were all about so I invited him to visit.
“The thing that struck me about your company initially, and strikes me even more now, is intentionality; the commitment to learn, the commitment to develop, the commitment to grow,” he said.
Jerry’s right; we are very intentional about developing a culture that brings forth, as he put it, “the inherent value and dignity of human beings.” That intentionality, however, began with our cultural vision. When we drafted our Guiding Principles of Leadership more than ten years ago, we articulated our vision of a culture devoted to developing our team members into their best selves. We established our daily measure of success: by the way we touch the lives of others.
We declared our expectations for an ideal people-centric culture that offered meaning and purpose to our team members through their work. Once we had our vision to guide us, we have been able to be fiercely intentional in aligning the actions to achieve it.
As a leader, establishing a vision that offers meaning and purpose to those you lead is one of the most important things you must do.
Meaningful work is imperative these days. The latest Gallup poll says 70 percent of American workers are not engaged or are actively disengaged. And that number is likely to rise. A 2011 Harris Interactive poll commissioned by the Career Advisory Board cited meaning as the top career priority for those between the ages of 21 and 31.
What Jerry experienced during his short visit with us is a concept we hope every business leader will someday embrace.
“You can be a successful company and at the heart of it, you can have people who enjoy coming to work every day and who are better for it,” he said. “Can a business succeed the way it should in the business world and still value people? Absolutely, the answer is yes!”
We look forward to Jerry’s and Inno-Versity’s unique interpretation of our message. Their work will bring added visibility to a concept that is long overdue. Seventy percent of American workers are waiting.