Surround yourself with great people

The Last Word

Bryan Mullett
President and chief executive officer, Bradley Corp.
W142 N9101 Fountain Blvd., Menomonee Falls
Industry: Commercial plumbing manufacturer
Employees: 550 (majority in Wisconsin)


Bryan Mullett is president and chief executive officer of Menomonee Falls-based Bradley Corp., a manufacturer of commercial washroom and safety products. Creating a family culture is as important as other benefits of investing in people, he says.

“As I reflect on Bradley Corp.’s 95 years as a family-owned business, there’s a common thread that tightly weaves all of our years together: our employees. Every employee is a family member.

“My philosophy on creating a family atmosphere stems from hiring good people and then trusting them to execute. It’s nearly impossible to successfully lead a company on your own, regardless of IQ or age. A company with the best products, services or technology will not thrive if its employees are disengaged from the mission, vision and values of the leadership. It’s essential to enlist smart, committed problem solvers who share the company’s vision and then trust them to do their jobs.

“The three key ingredients to look for in employees are: personality/character; strengths appropriate for the position; and culture fit. Nothing outweighs personality. While having the right skillset is important, the fact is skills can be acquired but personalities cannot.

“A diverse mix of personalities, skills and backgrounds will season – and solidify – a company’s culture, innovation and growth. The cumulative effect of different perspectives and unforeseen ideas will strengthen the business and drive it into unchartered territory. Work hard at being a good listener. Listen to their counsel.

This will make your company great.

“As Lee Iacocca once said: ‘I hire people brighter than me and I get out of their way.’

“While the ultimate payback of empowering employees is increased performance, productivity, morale, engagement and retention, creating an everlasting family bond is just as meaningful to me.”

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