When Jason Lippert became CEO in 2003, Lippert Components (LCI) a manufacturing company was assumed to have peaked while hovering at $100 million in sales.
With many companies outsourcing shipping overseas, the manufacturing market in America was not the place to be in the early 2000's. Despite this, Lippert's motivation to achieve did not waiver. He envisioned a different kind of company, one that blew past $100 million in revenue.
In the years to come, the growth of LCI aligned with Lippert's vision. Through hard work, dedication, and strategic acquisitions the business grew 20 percent year over year amassing over $800 million in revenue by 2013. In spite of the success, Lippert felt like something was missing.
Around this time, he was emailed a TEDx talk, by Bob Chapman called "Truly Human Leadership." This 20 minute video ended up being his moment of clarity. Lippert knew there was more to his career and company than making parts, being profitable, and growing for the sake of growing. LCI had lost sight of how important it is to positively impact the lives of their employees. The decision was made. Lippert could no longer manage the business based on results.
It is often thought that accelerated business growth and the development of employees are difficult to achieve simultaneously. Lippert and the team at LCI have disproven this in a big way. 6 years later the business has gone from $800 million in revenue to over $2.4 billion all while making a commitment to people that is unprecedented. This success of Lippert is a testament that profitability is not hindered by investing in your people. Do you need proof? Here are three reasons why:
It should not surprise you to hear a business leader say, "We care about our people." But, do they know how to translate these words into action? According to Monster, 72% of employees don't think management cares about their career growth. Lippert has learned firsthand the importance of showing versus telling your people you care about them.
To truly be great to the people you lead, it is imperative that you make dedicated time to listen to them instead of talk. Each and every day, take notes on what your people are saying. Pairing these original thoughts of your employees with actionable items to implement throughout your organization is a tangible way to prove you value them.
In today's competitive market, the responsibility falls on business leaders to attract the best talent. According to the Labor Department, unemployment has hit 3.9 percent reaching an all-time low. This means potential employees have the upperhand. Companies have to go above and beyond to demonstrate and communicate that their culture cares about people over profit.
To attract new talent and retain your current employees, core values need to be defined and brought to life. Reward, recognize, and articulate these ideas at all times. While a company can display these core values on their walls, what really makes an organization stand out is the manifestation. Talented people are not attracted to empty words, but rather the exercising of them.
When asked on the Follow My Lead Podcast about the best investment Lippert has made in the past two years, his answer was shocking. "Developing our 800 front line managers into leaders. These people directly pour an example of leadership into our 11,000 employees." By evolving these leaders, Lippert was directly enabling people to model leadership by serving and empower others. This translated into a more engaged workforce which then created better results.
One of the best ways you can pour into your team members is by providing learning and development opportunities. Skookum, an award-winning digital strategy, design, and development firm in Charlotte, NC, provides their employees with $1,000 per year for learning and development needs. This is on top of already established internal programs. Invest in your people, offer leadership development programs and help them to build the skills to move themselves and the business forward..
For decades, companies have focused on managing their business based on results. Lippert and LCI provide a great example of why you should think about doing things differently.
A version of this article originally appeared on Inc.com
John is the CEO of LearnLoft, author of, F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader and host of the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast. He writes or has been featured on Inc.com, LinkedIn Pulse, TrainingIndustry.com, eLearningIndustry.com, CNBC Money, and more. John completed his education at the University of Maryland College.