The best part of my gig is going to visit people who have a need for the solution we produce – I like hearing about their work, and determining whether we can help.
Today, I visited a long-running family business outside of Cleveland, Ohio. The president of the company had contacted us, and stopped by the trade show we were at earlier this week. He came with one of the salespeople for his business, and they had a great rapport. The sales guy joked to me, ‘hey look, he’s trying to sell ME on this and he owns the business!’ It made my day.
When I arrived at their business today, my first impression was that it was a beautiful and well cared-for facility. I arrived early, and as I was catching up on a few e-mails in the parking lot, I noticed the president arrived back from lunch. He gets out of his car, and immediately goes over to some maintenance guys, chats with them for awhile, and then they all warmly wave and leave each other.
When I go in, and he greets me and brings me to the lab, where he leaves me briefly to set up and chat with one of the engineers. The engineer tells me he joined the business in 1975 as a machine operator, and that the business helped him go to school at night to get his engineering degree. Pretty awesome.
What I loved most about observing all of this is being reminded about what people can do with power. This president – he inherited power. He inherited a business from his family, and with it, he still chooses to treat people like people – to talk to everyone with kindness and respect, even when speaking with authority. I got the sense he does this not because someone told him to, but because he knows it’s the right thing to do. What a great example.