Core Values Drive Our Culture
Client Highlight: Denny Reiland of General Pattern Company
Denny Reiland, owner of General Pattern Company, is a man who truly lives his core values. General Pattern Company (GPC) was founded by Denny’s grandfather in 1922 and has been a leader in the manufacturing industry for over 90 years. As a single source solution for prototyping, tooling and injection molded plastic parts, GPC is a family-owned business that shares its love of fun with the greater community.
The GPC core values “are a subject of discussion every day,” says Denny, and are formally reiterated every quarter at a company-wide “town-hall meeting.” The GPC team was kind enough to share their core values with us:
- Dependable: Say what you do, do what you say
- Hardworking: Come to work every day ready to give 110%
- Always Find a Way: We don’t know the meaning of can’t- we think “how can we” or “how will we”
- Fun: Embrace GPC’s culture: Where today is great and tomorrow will be even better
One way GPC demonstrates living their core values is through their annual holiday party. “The annual Christmas party began as a means of keeping people busy when we didn’t have enough work for them to do,” says Denny. “We go up and down in the number of people we need, and we have very skilled workers that we don’t want to let go. The Christmas party was our way of keeping people busy so we didn’t have to lay them off.” This event has now expanded into something that differentiates GPC from their competition and makes their culture stronger. “It’s an amazing team-building event,” says Denny. “Our employees bring their family, friends and neighbors to show them and say, ‘We are a part of this.’” The holiday party also helps GPC connect with and serve the community; they take donations for the food shelf and Toys for Tots. By throwing a party, GPC was able to keep their people employed. This is just one example of always finding a way and being dependable and hardworking, all while having fun!
Using their core values to hire, fire, review, reward and recognize people has helped GPC align their culture as well. “When we first started with Sue she told us we had the potential to lose 10-40% of our employees that weren’t the right people in the right seat. This was a frightening prospect,” admits Denny, “and the reality is we are at about 21% turnover. We have not had to let anyone go as those who do not share our core values have all voluntarily left. We also moved 5 people to different roles they are better suited for; getting them in their ‘right seats’ has been an amazing transformation. The right people are now being recognized and rewarded for their hard work.”
Living by core values does not always come easily. The highest-paid employee at GPC recently resigned, unable to deliver upon his accountabilities once they were clearly defined. “He was hitting 10% of his goal numbers; he’d been in his role for a long time and didn’t want to work as hard anymore. This was a tough situation,” sighs Denny. “We started working with him in December of last year and wanted to get him back on track, but he realized he didn’t want to be here any longer.” By using EOS and following the commitment to core values, there is now space for a new employee who is a cultural fit and will deliver what the company needs.
GPC’s growth and strategic planning has improved through EOS as well. Denny explains how EOS has revealed that the leadership team “needed more skills and to be empowered to do what is best for the greater good of the company.” GPC had been hitting plateaus in their business and “wasn’t able to break through the ceiling,” says Denny. “We’d fluctuate back and forth at a certain level and it would take us about five years to push through to that next level. Using the EOS V/TO has helped us have a forward look. We are now proactive instead of reactive. The V/TO is like a single sheet business plan and for every expense makes us ask, ‘is this getting us closer to the long term goal?’”
By living their core values and aligning to their vision, General Pattern Company has created a magnetic culture with employees who are moving the business forward as a healthy, functional team. Denny shares that “EOS has empowered the leadership team and shown us where the gaps in our knowledge are. We now have a forward-looking plan instead of a reactive plan. If you asked me today if we would still make the investment to do EOS, I would say yes in a heartbeat.”
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