Hopefully you made it past the title of my blog (Upside Down).  After 36 years of work, the inverted pyramid, while a bit of a cliché, has come to symbolize one of my most important leadership philosophies.  Anyone entrusted in a leadership position must ask themselves daily, “How am I helping support the organization carry out its mission?”  This goes well beyond the obvious requirement of providing clear direction and expectations.  It is, “How do we ensure our team is successful?”  “What barriers are in their way?”  “How is our culture playing a role?”  “What “tools” can we provide to contribute to increase the likelihood of success?”

Zig Zigler expressed this very simply:  “You don’t build a business, you build people and people build the business.”  My next blog will focus on these concepts and why they are so important.  In the meantime, to borrow the second habit from Steven Covey’s 7 Habits book, let’s start with the end in mind to help visualize what success looks like.

This time of year is awards season for music and film.  We at Atlas also take time to reflect on our facilities and individuals that performed above their peer group.  These excellence awards are decided by both performance results as well as through peer voting taking into account both numerical results and the intangible of teamwork.  The manufacturing categories we recognize are Safety, Productivity, Most Improved, and Plant of the Year.  The sales awards include Meeting/Exceeding Budget (Shark Award), the Most Improved Sales Professional and Sales Professional of the Year.  I will discuss these categories in future blogs.  Our awards ceremony was held on February 10th.  For the first time we held a live companywide virtual meeting to announce our 2016 Service and Excellence Awards. Here were the award winners and some brief statistics:

Safety – Injury Free for the year 2016

  • Greensboro, Palmer, Atlanta, ACM, and Corporate
  • For the first time, we achieved 11 months injury free enterprise-wide

ProductivityChicago SRD Plant

  • Achieved 141% of plan
  • All facilities improved over 2015

Most Improved Plant – Elkhart SRD Plant

  • Safety = 351days (5th longest – have since achieved 1 Year)
  • Productivity = 4.51% Improvement (1st)
  • Quality = 0.99% Improvement (2nd)
  • Material Saving = 2.21% Improvement (2nd)
  • EBITDA = 11.02% Improvement (1st)

Plant of the Year – Elkhart SRD Plant

  • Voted by peer group
  • Had collectively the best performance results

Shark Award – Meeting / Exceeding Territory Budget

  • Brian Kray, Bob Gant, Jason Warren, Kathy Kauffman, Dan Cauffman

Most Improved Sales Professional – Bob Gant

  • Pipeline increase of 15%
  • Year over Year growth of 6%

Sales Professional of the Year – Brian Kray

  • Highest % Growth YOY (11%)
  • Was 108% of Budget
  • Best lived the “Challenger Model”

I wish to again congratulate all the award winners.

2016 was a special year for another reason.  Collectively our entire team of 167 worked together and a dramatic business turnaround was realized.  Through this hard work, customer dedication, and teamwork, the newly created Unity Bonus was achieved.  This was not a small accomplishment and recognition is warranted beyond just the individual or plant award winners.

As I mentioned in the beginning, my next blog will focus on one of our Mission’s Key Beliefs – Respect for the Individual.  In the meantime, we need to continue our ongoing pursuit of continuous improvement and providing our customers the best experience possible.

As they say, 2016 is in the books.  My congratulations and thanks for everyone’s contribution!  I am looking forward to our team growing together even more in 2017 with the results to match.