Creating a championship culture

David Strand
President and CEO
Wisconsin Oven Corp.
2675 Main St., East Troy
Industry: Industrial ovens
Employees: 114

David Strand, chief executive officer of Wisconsin Oven Corp., has worked to establish a “championship culture” at the East Troy company. Here, he lays out the steps any company can take to do the same.

“Today, the fight for a competitive edge in business is more intense than ever due to the shortage of employees with certain skill sets that we need. As a result, businesses invest heavily in recruiters and outsourcing specialists for social media, branding initiatives and culture building.

“Being an employee of one company for 28 years on a path from an entry level position to president and CEO, I have lived in a championship culture every day. I did so with the help of TEC and the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, combined with what I witnessed on my journey to the top.

“It surely doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a top down, bottom up commitment from everyone in the company. The buzz words I use we have all heard, but truly being committed to them is your job as the leader.

  • Find the right seat on the bus. If your culture is weak, you can be sure it starts here. Tolerating weak performers is not fair to the rest of your team. Don’t plan on getting 100 percent buy-in if you are not willing to empty and reload, or change seats on that bus.
  • Provide clear vision, goals, and a scoreboard. Winning is contagious. If your employees don’t know how they are doing every day, month and year, then it’s really all about you and your bottom line, and not them.
  • Celebrate with enthusiasm. Pour your wallet into this one rather than your recruiting and outsourcing. Reward your employees heavily and they will pay dividends to the bottom line and attract more talent.”

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