Episode 2 – Bob Chapman on the Power of Listening and Caring

In this episode, Bob Chapman and I talk about the incredible power of listening and a leadership and humanistic skill that can heal relationships, workplaces and communities and the mission he’s on to change the world through Truly Human Leadership. I’m so inspired by the path Bob is paving for a better future for our kids and us all and have his book ridiculously highlighted and tabbed. It’s always uplifting and inspiring to talk with him -- and this conversation was no exception!

Guest Info

Bob Chapman, Chairman & CEO - Barry-Wehmiller

Recently named the #3 CEO in the world in an Inc. magazine article, Bob Chapman is very intentional about using his platform as a business leader to build a better world.

Bob is CEO of St. Louis, MO-based Barry-Wehmiller, a $3 billion global capital equipment business with more than 12,000 team members. He became the senior executive of this private company in 1975 at age 30 when the 80-year-old business had $20 million in revenue, outdated technology and a very weak financial position. Despite the obstacles, Bob applied a unique blend of strategy and culture over the next 40 years in leading Barry-Wehmiller through more than 100 successful acquisitions.

Over the past two decades, a series of realizations led him away from traditional management practices to what he now calls Truly Human Leadership--a people-centric approach where his employees feel valued, cared for, and an integral part of the company’s purpose. At Barry-Wehmiller, they have a unique measure of success: by the way they touch the lives of people.

Bob’s experiences and the transformation he championed were the inspiration behind his WSJ bestseller Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family. The book is co-authored by Raj Sisodia, founder and co-author of Conscious Capitalism.

In 2012, Bob and his wife Cynthia launched a non-profit, Our Community Listens, to bring the company’s groundbreaking training at no charge to communities. And in 2015, the Chapman & Co. Leadership Institute was founded to bring Barry-Wehmiller’s trademark culture transformation training to for-profit organizations.

Bob regularly writes about the powerful intersection of people-centric leadership and good business strategy on his blog, TrulyHumanLeadership.com, and on LinkedIn, where he is an Editor’s pick. In 2016, Harvard Business School released a case study illustrating how Barry-Wehmiller applies its people-centric approach to business decision-making.

His speaking engagements include the Aspen Ideas Festival, Conscious Capitalism events, Fortune Scale Up Summit, TEDxScottAFB, the 2016 US Congressional Retreat, Danforth’s Seeds of Change, WorldBlu, CEO Global Leaders Forum, American Conference on Physician Health, Institute for Healthcare Consumerism Forum, Shingo Prize for Manufacturing Excellence, HERO Forum for Employee Health Management, and others.

Bob shares his leadership journey and the story of Barry-Wehmiller whenever he can as it is an example of the way businesses and organizations should be: focused on creating value for all stakeholders—team members, customers, communities and shareholders. Not only is it the right thing to do, it creates meaning and fulfillment for team members.

Bob has a BA from Indiana University and an MBA from Michigan. He spent his early career as an accountant with Price Waterhouse.

 

Show Notes

Everybody Matters - The Extraordinary Power of Caring for your PEOPLE Like FAMILY by Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia

Chapman and coauthor Raj Sisodia show how any organization can reject the traumatic consequences of rolling layoffs, dehumanizing rules, and hypercompetitive cultures. Once you stop treating people like functions or costs, disengaged workers begin to share their gifts and talents toward a shared future. Uninspired workers stop feeling that their jobs have no meaning. Frustrated workers stop taking their bad days out on their spouses and kids. And everyone stops counting the minutes until it’s time to go home.

This book chronicles Chapman’s journey to find his true calling, going behind the scenes as his team tackles real-world challenges with caring, empathy, and inspiration. It also provides clear steps to transform your own workplace, whether you lead two people or two hundred thousand. While the Barry-Wehmiller way isn’t easy, it is simple. As the authors put it:

"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."

 

Our Community Listens - Barry-Wehmiller’s nonprofit teaching their proven communication skills at no charge

Truly Human Leadership - Bob’s blog where he writes about the powerful intersection of people-centric leadership and good business strategy

Who Can Win America’s Politics of Humiliation? - Tom Friedman’s Sept. 8, 2020 New York Times article Bob references and quotes

 

Behind the Scenes

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