Leadership is About the People… Whodathunkit??

— It’s ALWAYS about the people…

A recent article in the Houston Chronicle caught my attention…

Seems there’s this 73 year-old woman who runs a precision machine company (that’s right, she’s a machinist), having learned the trade – and running a company – from her late husband.

Anyway, she’s showcased in the Chronicle because her business is growing, has been quite successful, and has managed to keep and grow her workforce in the face of various and less-than-ideal economic conditions.

We can’t all make that claim…

What caught my eye, besides the general uniqueness of her success in a traditionally male-dominated field, was her comment when asked about her initial concerns some decade or so ago when she took the reins of the company. She said, “A manufacturing plant isn’t about the product or machinery, it’s about the people.”

She went on to state further that her chief concern was that now there were people – real, living people – who were depending on her for their livelihood, and that scared her.

And well it should, Martha Pylate of USA Industries, Inc. Well it should…

It should scare us all, or at least give us enough pause to realize that our decisions – nearly all of them – may in some way affect the livelihood of others.

This caution shouldn’t lead us to delay necessary decisions, or act as though we’ve got mafia-driven concrete shoes impeding our progress.

It should, however, lead us to make sure we give adequate consideration… take adequate input from others… consider fully the available alternatives and potential impacts… when such decision-making time is available to us.

In other words, we have a duty – a real, personal responsibility – to be good at leadership, and all that means.

My hat’s off to Martha Pylate of Houston. Sometimes, we’re fortunate enough to experience someone fairly new to this whole leadership thing that really gets it.

She does.

But, that’s just me…


Kevin Berchelmann

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