//Barry-Wehmiller’s Principles of Leadership

Barry-Wehmiller’s Principles of Leadership

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By Curt Fowler | Fowler & Company

BarryWehmiller’s Principles of Leadership

Last week we discussed how Barry-Wehmiller cares for the people in its organization. We also noted how Barry-Wehmiller grew from $22 million in revenues in 1976 to a $2.4 billion company today.

That is an impressive jump in revenue, but what is even more impressive is the culture the leadership built as the organization grew. Those leaders are shaped by BW’s Guiding Principles of Leadership.

These principles are the guideposts for BarryWehmiller’s ten operating companies. Those ten operating companies were created from over 80 acquisitions. Creating a consistent culture while an organization continues to acquire additional companies (and cultures) is very difficult.

I won’t cite the entire Guiding Principles document but wanted to show you the big areas of focus so you can use BW’s template as you build your own guiding principles.


Barry-Wehmiller’s stated purpose is “We measure success by the way we touch the lives of people.” BW’s leadership does not measure success by profit, revenue or even customer satisfaction, but by the way they touch the lives of people.

Positively touch the lives of enough people and the profit will come. It has worked for Barry-Wehmiller.


The guiding principles state that each of the ten companies has a “clear and compelling vision, embodied within a sustainable business model, which fosters personal growth.” Each of these independent visions serves the greater purpose of Barry-Wehmiller.


Your leaders are the ones who touch the lives of your people. People do not quit jobs, they quit their leaders.

At BW, leaders create a dynamic environment that is based on trust; brings out and celebrates the best in each individual, allows for teams and individuals to have a meaningful role, inspires a sense of pride, challenges individuals and teams and liberates everyone to achieve true success.

Leaders are called to be visionaries, coaches, mentors, teachers and students. They use positive and insightful communication that empowers individuals and teams along the journey.

People are treated superbly and compensated fairly. Leaders use measurables to allow individuals and teams to relate their contribution to the realization of the vision.

Does Barry-Wehmiller sound like a place you’d like to work? They have been named one of St. Louis’ Best Places to Work and are the 12th largest St. Louis-based privately held company.

They are certainly doing a lot of things right. Next week we’ll look at the leadership checklist Barry-Wehmiller uses to guide and hold leadership accountable to its guiding principles.

For more tools on building a great organization, head over to our Resource Page and check out our free tools to help you get started or give us a call at 229-375-5613.

Curt Fowler is an organizational growth expert and President of Fowler & Company, a business advisory firm dedicated to helping leaders create and achieve a compelling vision for their organization. He has an MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the Kellogg School, is a CPA, and a pretty good guy as defined by his wife and four children.

Have a business growth topic you’d like me to cover? Send suggestions to cfowler [at] valuesdrivenresults.com or use our contact form by clicking here.