Over the last few weeks, I’ve been interviewed and asked to take part in online forums to talk about the current business environment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many business leaders have also reached out to me.
Most of the time, I’m asked questions about Barry-Wehmiller’s response to the 2008-2009 economic downturn and the measures of shared sacrifice we took inside the company – why not have everyone endure a little pain so that no one had to endure a lot of pain?
I would hope that the message of shared sacrifice is not the only takeaway from that story. In that situation, it was the right thing to do for our people. But if it wasn’t for the foundation of our culture of Truly Human Leadership, that decision would have never been made.
We have worked hard for a very long time to build an environment within our company where people feel like they matter, acknowledging that everyone is someone’s precious child and should be treated as such. Because of that, we have built a stable and responsible business to give our people a fulfilling purpose and help them to support their families.
My hope is that during this time of difficulty, many leaders and future leaders will see the need to build their organizations on principles that are higher than the desire to make a profit. In Everybody Matters, I wrote “At Barry-Wehmiller, our primary purpose is clear to us: We’re in business so that all our team members can have meaningful and fulfilling lives.”
Several months ago, I wrote an open letter to the CEOs of the Business Roundtable about their statement that redefined the purpose of a corporation. How does their statement hold up in the light of the recent extraordinary events? Did those CEOs have a strong foundation of Truly Human Leadership before this crisis? How have they reacted since?
Several years ago, we began a video series called “Inspired” where we ask or team members to talk about what Truly Human Leadership means to them and how it has impacted their lives. This new edition features Jay Gopinath, Director of the India Region in our Barry-Wehmiller Design Group company.
If you are a leader trying to figure out where to start in transforming your company into one driven by a higher purpose, one that puts people at the center, Jay does a wonderful job describing what Truly Human Leadership is and how impactful it can be on the lives entrusted to your care.