JASPER’s Doug Bawel, Chairman and CEO, and Zach Bawel, President and COO, were recently guests on a podcast and cited in a blog by Kyle DeFur, President of TrueU. They discussed how servant leadership and Associate (employee) ownership has affected JASPER’s culture.
JASPER® has worked to create a culture of servant leadership over the past 75 years. This leadership began with Alvin C. Ruxer when he founded the company in 1942, and continued throughout the years with the leaders that followed. It is servant leadership that helped the executive team make the decision to become 100% Associate Owned through an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) company in 2010.
So what exactly is servant leadership, and what does it mean? A servant leader is someone who makes decisions that benefit their Associates before themselves; someone who looks at how they can make their Associates’ jobs easier, safer, and someone who helps their Associates grow to their fullest potential. The decision to become an ESOP company was made to protect the Associates, the community, and the brand. It was a decision to benefit others and not for personal gain. This is the epitome of servant leadership.
Becoming an ESOP has enhanced the servant leadership culture at JASPER. It has given all Associates, not just those in management positions, the desire to be servant leaders. Work days are no longer only about clocking in and out. Associates now have a vested interest in the greater good of the company. Associates take ownership and pride in everything that is done here at JASPER. They are continuously looking for ways to improve. It has created a culture where it is normal to receive 18,000+ improvement ideas annually from Associates. It is a culture where Associates care. They care about their coworkers, the company, and the product.
Here at JASPER, we are proud to say that each unit that leaves our facility was built by an owner of our company. Our Associate-Owners have a vested interest and care to be sure that each unit is built perfectly for you.