Rising stars, over-achievers, go getters, true believers. You know who I’m talking about—the people who have their plates full of projects, their to-do lists packed with checkmarks, their workdays crammed with appointments. These high performers are talented individuals who share a common desire to significantly impact the success of the company. They genuinely want to make a difference and take ownership of their work, but they are only able to do so if given the means by which to do it. This falls on the shoulders of managers.
I spoke with three leaders at Leggett & Platt who have spent the majority of their careers managing high-caliber teams: Michelle Crockett, Eric Rhea, and Randall Wood. They ensure their people are continually challenged and have the necessary tools to do their jobs and do them well. Here are the top five tips they shared for managing high performers:
Recently, Leggett & Platt sent four employees to the annual Women In Manufacturing conference. When I told my husband I was headed off to a conference for work, he said, “Where? Orlando? Vegas?” “Nope,” I said, “Detroit.” Despite my initial coolness towards spending two days in the Motor City, it was the perfect location for an enlightening and motivating trip spent with a group of impressive women from Leggett’s operations.
We became members of Women in Manufacturing in early 2013, when we discovered the organization and some of their activities online. A subgroup of the Precision Metalforming Association, Women in Manufacturing focuses on “the support, retention, and advancement of women in the manufacturing industry”. Their second annual conference was held October 22-23 in Detroit, Michigan, home of Ford, General Motors, Daimler-Chrysler, Carhartt, and Caterpillar. With the encouragement of our COO, Karl Glassman, I organized a small delegation of women from Leggett to attend the conference.
Families display certain common traits and behaviors, generation after generation, that have nothing to do with genetics. These non-genetic markers are passed down through shared perceptions, beliefs, and actions, as surely as hazel eyes and curly hair. The same is true for companies.
At Leggett & Platt, we recently set out to revise the competencies in our annual performance review, and accidentally found ourselves deconstructing our corporate DNA. We started the project with 15 competencies – things like strategic thinking, decision making, interpersonal skills, and communication. Instead of simply trying to whack a few that seemed less important, we started with a clean sheet of paper and our company history book. Looking back over 130 years, our leaders displayed certain common qualities, no matter what the business challenge of the era. When we distilled this “Leggett DNA,” we found eight key qualities that drive our collective success. Eureka! These characteristics, expressed as actions, reflect our culture and the way we lead.
A member of the Leggett team: Continue reading
Leggett & Platt has been in business for over a century, but our logo has undergone relatively few changes in that time. The one major change came in the early 1970s, when we moved from a simple “L” to a script typeface. I sat down with Leggett’s Creative Director, Scott Clark, to discuss the history of the logo.