In an ever changing economy, American businesses are notorious for placing profitability above anything else. The evidence of that mountainous profit is staggering. Fear not, however, as there is a new world emerging from the ego-clad, money-centric environment that big business has supported: Culture before profit. In all fairness, it isn’t all that new but this concept has certainly been a rare commodity in recent times. Well, struggle be damned – it’s time for a conscious shift.
Let’s take a look at Xylem Design. Located in the beautiful little Northern Colorado town, Fort Collins – this wood manufacturer is more into growing people then building displays. How are they still in business, you ask? In all fairness, Xylem focuses on growing their business by growing the people who work there. Their product is always top-notch and meticulously crafted because of the continuously improved systems created and nurtured by each and every employee along the production process.
See? Xylem Design grows people.
It starts at the top. CEO, Greg Glebe, is more than a just business owner. He seeks like minded individuals that are interested in taking the best parts of life, their experiences and skill-sets, and with that hone systems that effectively nurture personal and company-wide growth. To attain and maintain this high level of focus, creativity, and forward moving mindsets, Glebe employs the LEAN manufacturing system as the environment in which we strive and achieve. Broken down to its core, LEAN is very simply defined as: eliminating waste through continuous improvements.
LEAN has become a massive part of the culture within Xylem and has further inspired the team to define why they do what they do. This mantra is part of every decision they make, every discussion they have, and every issue that arises. It is what creates a tightly woven bond that weaves its way through each and every team member at Xylem. Simply by walking through the shop floor and having a conversation with any employee, it is immediately evident that this culture has completely re-shaped their way of thinking.
Hiring thoughtful, energetic, team players is essential to the overall success of the company. So it’s no shock that when one of these team members move on, it leaves a lasting impression.
Enter Ryan Guillaume; well, exit really. A finer bloke you will be hard pressed to find. A brilliant painter and craftsmen, Ryan is exactly the kind of person Xylem seeks. His outlook on life is super positive, typically inspiring those around him to follow suit. He has a slightly-out-there sense of humor (like all Xylemites) and has very little ego to get in the way of the day to day stuff. He will always search for an excuse to wear a frilly dress, noisy shoes or some equally mood-lightening ensemble. A testament to Ryan’s ability to make people feel comfortable or even happily uncomfortable.
This is where it counts and still further exemplifies the type of character that Xylem seeks to invest in. When I asked him why he was leaving, his response simply made me smile. He said, “My grandfather needs some help. So I’m going to move in, spend some more time with him…and paint a lot.” The spirit carries on.