Business Center

Everybody Matters

Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring For Your People Like Family

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Author:  Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia
ISBN: 978-1591847793
Posted: January 25, 2016
Website: Everybody MATTERS
Summary by: Amanda Gonzales, Process Improvement Intern

Book Review: “Everyone wants to do better. Trust them. Leaders are everywhere. Find them. People achieve good things, big and small, every day. Celebrate them. Some people wish things were different. Listen to them. Everybody matters. Show them.”

Everybody Matters

Each day we hear new definitions of what makes an “effective leader”.  While this may be subjective to a certain degree, most will agree that an effective leader touches the lives of others.  Based on this belief, the leadership team at Barry-Wehmiller - a global provider of manufacturing technologies - developed a guiding principle that has led them to much success, including over 75 acquisitions globally and a combined $2 billion in assets.  Their guiding principle, to which they attribute much of their success, is simple: “We measure success by the way we touch the lives of people” (Chapman, page xi). 

After receiving news of his father’s death at age 30, Bob Chapman stepped into the role of Chief Executive Officer at Barry-Wehmiller, inheriting his father’s business.  Detailing Bob’s journey and his transition from a “numbers based leader”, to a “people based leader”, Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring For Your People Like Family” demonstrates how Bob developed the idea of “Truly Human Leadership”.  In essence, “This is a story about the power and impact of ‘truly human’ leadership.  It is about bringing together our deepest sense of right, authentic, caring and high ideals to business” (Chapman, 9).  Through anecdotes and detailed processes, Bob explains how virtually any business may adopt the same practices to develop the human side of business and to develop a team of “effective leaders.”

Roles of Leaders

Bob begins the book by emphasizing how important leaders are within the organizational context.  Additionally, how they influence the success of others.  Stating, “Our responsibility as leaders, be it in business, the military, in government…is to create an environment where people can discover their gifts, develop their gifts, share their gifts…which creates an opportunity for them to have a more meaningful life…” (Chapman, 68).  Leaders influence organizations in an ever flowing manner.  This book details just how important leaders are in the overall influencing of individual morale, team morale and the fulfillment of one’s life.  Taking this concept as a foundation, Bob demonstrates further how to create a culture of “Truly Human” leadership.    

Creating Guiding Principles

One practical step in creating “Truly Human” leadership is creating guiding principles.  In addition to outlining how to develop these principles Bob raises the practical question, “…how do we bring these to life?” (Chapman, 57).  He involves team members in the process of creating guiding principles and demonstrates how important it is in terms of engaging the team.  Through following such practices (among others) Barry-Wehmiller has established a very people-centric culture.  Thus, encouraging leaders to continuously improve is a constant focus demonstrated in this book. 

Lean with Compassion

Bob stresses the importance of continuous improvement using Lean principles.  Enhancing the traditional Lean methodology, Bob and his team focused on a “people-centric” approach to continuous improvement.  There are two ways in particular that Bob and his team achieve this. 

The first is expanding the traditional Lean methodology of “5S” – Lean’s systematic visual management approach for eliminating waste and driving improved efficiency. At Barry-Wehmiller “5S” is expanded to “7S”, with the two additional “S” items being for “safety” and “satisfaction”.  He explains, “…we have expanded 5S to 7S, adding “safety” and “satisfaction” to better align with our people-centered vision.  We start with the idea of keeping our friends safe, so safety is our first S, and no event is complete without ensuring that we’ve achieved satisfaction for the people who work in the affected area.” (Chapman, 163). 

Secondly, Bob improves upon the traditional process improvement approach to emphasize “People AND Process”. This highlights the importance of bringing the “human element” to processes and ensuring that people benefit from process changes.  Bob strengthens the traditional approaches to Lean by modifying some of the language used.  For example, instead of identifying “waste”, Barry-Wehmiller focuses on “frustration”, which changes the way this is viewed.  Recognizing it as frustrating then directs the focus on the human impact the process currently has, rather than the process alone. 

These subtle changes that Bob and his team made to the continuous improvement approach within Barry-Wehmiller reinforce the people-centric culture that has demonstrated much success for the organization. 

Bob has also extended this approach to include continuous improvement for leaders. 

Leading the Leaders

In order to provide guidance to leaders, Barry-Wehmiller’s “10 Commandments of Truly Human Leadership” were formed:

  1. Begin every day with a focus on the lives you touch.
  2. Know that leadership is the stewardship of the lives entrusted to you.
  3. Embrace leadership practices that send people home each day safe, healthy, and fulfilled.
  4. Align all actions to an inspirational vision of a better future.
  5. Trust is the foundation of all relationships; act accordingly.
  6. Look for the goodness in people and recognize and celebrate it daily.
  7. Ask no more or less of anyone than you would of your own child.
  8. Lead with a clear sense of grounded optimism.
  9. Recognize and flex to the uniqueness of everyone.
  10. Always measure success by the way you touch the lives of people!

The leaders of Barry-Wehmiller not only list the 10 Commandments of Truly Human Leadership, but communicate these effectively through tools such as a Leadership Checklist.  This encourages the leaders to truly understand their detailed roles, accept their roles and adhere to them – creating synergy among the team.  In addition to detailing and communicating expectations, Bob stresses the importance of celebrating the successes with these expectations. 

Celebration and Recognition

At Barry-Wehmiller successes are celebrated to help people know that they are valued.  By recognizing and celebrating people who do the work of the company every single day, the culture becomes one that is much more fulfilling for all.  As leaders of Barry-Wehmiller express, “We strive to make our recognitions and celebrations personal, memorable, creative, sincere, timely, proportionate, significant, and meaningful” (Chapman, 196).  The subculture of celebration and recognition is yet another tool to reinforce the people-centric culture.

Showing “You Matter”

 Everybody Matters tells the story of how Bob Chapman pioneered perhaps one of the most impactful styles of leadership – Truly Human Leadership.  This book presents a sound postulation of what makes effective leadership, why leaders are so critical in an organization, and how to develop a people-centric culture – with a Lean continuous improvement focus.  Summing up the concept of effective leadership, he states, “We measure success by the way we touch the lives of people” (Chapman, xi).  This book revisits the importance of taking care of people.  This is a concept for virtually any organization to comprehend.