Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Making of an Employee of the Year

Football fans know that Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings was voted the 2012 Most Valuable Player in the National Football League. In baseball, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers was MVP of the Anerican League, and Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants was voted MVP of the National League. Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers was bestowed the 2012 Hart Memorial Trophy as MVP of the National Hockey League. Johnny Manziell, Quarterback at Texas A&M, was voted the 2012 winner of the Heisman Trophy as the best player in college football. In all cases, the choices were made by vote of the press, or past winners of the award.

More impressive to me was the fact that Aldo Popolizio of Radiall USA, Inc. (New Haven, CT) was voted 2012 Employee of the Year. It is more impressive because Aldo's selection was by over one hundred of his peers. People he worked with for 365 days. There is absolutely no faking leadership with that many interactions with people. As a member of the Maintenance team, Aldo interacts with people in every corner of the company, improving work flow, moving work stations, etc..

As lean leaders, we often ask the question, "who is your customer?" (the correct answer is usually the next process downstream, the external customer, etc.).  Aldo, and people like him, view anyone they are working with as "customer". This, my friends, is the very definition of leadership (and "respect for people").  Companies that struggle to "do lean" often miss this very important point. Extraordinary business results come when the culture is all about helping. I believe leadership is not about rank, position, title, or the size of your office. It's the ability to put aside one's own ego and improve the lives of others. Aldo has this down to a science. Imagine a company FULL of people like that? When I talk to him about it, he shrugs his shoulders and tells me how lucky he is to work with the great people of Radiall USA.

Congratulations to Evelyn Bonaparte, Human Resource Generalist at Radiall, for understanding the importance of and developing the process that results in the recognition of true leadership in the company. The process itself is innovative and unbiased, and I think she should patent it.

When Johnny Manziell won the Heisman, there was polite clapping, a standing ovation, and some tears shed by "Johnny Football's" parents. When Radiall announced the winner of the 2012 Employee of the Year at their Holiday party, his customers were ecstatic, and Aldo admitted to me he "got somewhat emotional".  

So, who would win the Heisman Trophy if "peers" voted. I bet it would be an offensive lineman whose name is hardly ever in the paper. Because of Evelyn, an offensive lineman wins the Heisman trophy of Radiall!

No comments:

Post a Comment