By way of introduction, my name is Tim Cromley, and for the last 16 years, I have been blessed to work at Walker Manufacturing Company in Fort Collins, CO. My current position is Sales and Marketing Manager. Walker is an independent manufacturer of commercial grade riding lawn mowers, but more importantly, it is a company owned by a Christian family and built on Christian principles.
It is an honor to have been asked by Dr. Aldridge to contribute to a blog about real world experience that we have learned over the years here at Walker.
In the coming weeks, I will be posting on beliefs that we have lived in, learned from, and stood by. These are derived from our “What we Believe at Walker” card (given to each of our employees when hired) that lists 18 principles of business we have lived and then put into written form. We believe that many companies write down how they should live and then try to be a company they are not, or even worse, turn into a company that is opposite of what they believe. Are we perfect? No, but we do have some experience that we hope can help as you step into the business arena.
In the meantime, I would encourage you to get to know Walker Manufacturing Company a little better at walkermowers.com. Be sure to read about the company history and philosophies–you can also view our 18 principles of business in our Philosophy section.
September 27th, 2010 at 12:51 pm
Thanks Tim. Greetings CCU students, faculty/staff and all WTT subscribers, please join me in welcoming Mr. Tim Cromley with Walker Mowers to the new 2010/2011 edition of the Walk The Talk Blog. Over the past few years we have focused on what’s wrong with business management and leadership; The lack of moral/ethical decision making, and practices & policies, organizational procedures that look more like a poker game than values aligned leaders making principle-centered decisions. Our focus this year will be more encouraging as follows; 1.) we will emphasize a place for values in a world of fact through workplace evangelism. 2.) We will honor faith-based leadership where the organization’s core values are reflected in the way decisions are made and carried out.
In making your posts, please keep in mind CCU’s Mission; “We cultivate love of God in a Christ-Centered community of learners and scholars, with an enduring commitment to the integration of exemplary academics, spiritual formation and engagement with the world.” Consider, how you are fulfilling this mission reflected in the way you think, talk and walk in the Spirit of Truth?
In your service,
November 1st, 2010 at 4:07 pm
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February 11th, 2011 at 12:51 pm
Thank you for introducing yourself and the Walker Company. I went on the website and I really like the believes that is posted (opportunity abounds), but what really stood out to me is the R. stating “Remember where our help and blessing come from- live and work with gratitude with all the lord has done for us”. I agree with the Walker company on this believe. It is very important to remember and thank the Lord for what he has blessed us with. I really liked how the website is laid out, very eye catching pictures. It looks like you work for a great company, thank you again for sharing your time with us.
February 11th, 2011 at 6:26 pm
Sounds like you work for a great company! In one of our threaded discussions Dr. Aldridge asked us to comment on an exemplary leader. Since I work for CCU, Bill Armstrong is who came to mind. I’ll pass on my comments here:
In thinking of any leader now that demonstrated that type of integrity and honor (I know this sounds cheesy…) but Bill Armstrong, the president of CCU just stands out in my mind. I have had the incredible honor of getting to know this man a bit for nearly 2 years now and his character is just impeccable. He doesn’t mince words, he’s strong, his focus is on the mission…he’s really quite amazing. I’m sure anything like a “Golden Parachute” is the furthest thing from his mind. First of all, none of us make enough at CCU (including the president) to leave much over for parachute material…certainly not golden! When I first started working at CCU, I was so excited to be here that, after the Christmas party, I wrote him an e-mail just gushing about how I never expected a Christian organization to really be that different but CCU was! He wrote back a full page letter, thanking me (although I’m pretty sure he didn’t know me from Adam!). He sent a Christmas card of his family to my home address. Amazing. And since then, I have just seen him take the bull by the horns when our VP quit; he didn’t replace him…he took on the job himself because he wanted to be closer to the heartbeat of the Adult student. Every time he prays, I know that man has spent time with God and his heart is all over this university. He could care less about a “Golden Parachute”. fAter being a Senator, he probably doesn’t need one…but it’s more that that; he is INVESTED in our school, in the students, in the mission of changing the world, a challenge fulfilled by us…just us, here at CCU.
It’s been amazing. I never thought this university would be different; Christian or not I thought it would be “business as usual” and in some ways it. But the real mission, the big picture is real…it’s for the glory of God and seeking to lift Him up…it’s real.
February 11th, 2011 at 9:07 pm
I read one of your later posts, where you explain all the programs your company offers its employees and I think it’s great to find out that there are still companies out there that maintain their ethical standards and leadership still considers its employees when making business decisions. Your company is one of the few that I mentioned in my class threaded discussion response in regards to reflexive learning and the law of sacrifice. I recently started working for a small company (BTAS), main office in Ohio. I support a contract out in Southern California, and they hold the same beliefs, people first.
How has leadership in the last decade demonstrated this law, if at all?
The law of sacrifice, “A Leader Must Give up to Go Up”, was not in the minds of the majority of the leaders for the past decade. They became leaders or were leaders during a decade that started off very prosperous. Big corporation leaders were making big money; they spent big money and were not going to give it up for anyone. And, when times got tough they were ready to bail, not only with their money, but with the money of others. This is not to say that there were no leaders that sacrificed, I’m sure there were, but with all the attention focused on companies like ENRON, stories that impacted millions, which dominated the new, the sacrifices received little or no attention. I’m sure even a story like Lee Iacocca’s would not have been front page news.
Provide examples of service leadership contrasted with “Golden Parachute” Leadership. Which do you believe is more effective, and why?
Service Leadership, The Quest for Competitive Advantage (2006), defines Service Leadership as a culture that empowers the organization to strategize its promises, design its processes, and engage its people in a proactive quest for competitive advantage. When an entire organization has a service leadership mind-set, every employee-customer encounter is considered to be an invaluable opportunity to improve customer service and engender customer loyalty. Under these conditions, every individual takes responsibility and pride in creating or protecting the organizations leading position in service quality or in designated markets by carefully observing and communicating customer needs through the organization.
Golden Parachute is defined on the Business Directory.com site as Huge bonus and /or a lucrative contract offered to a director or key employee to compensate for loss of office after a takeover or merger. It may also include a stockholding (shareholding) in the new set-up.
So, based on these two definitions I feel the Service Leadership style, normally seen in company’s like Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowe’s, is the better more collaborative, everyone has something to gain style of leadership then the Golden Parachute, which could be found in large corporation like Enron–need I say more.
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from faith and pierced themselves with many grief’s.” I Timothy 6:10, NIV.
February 12th, 2011 at 7:18 am
You are blessed to work in such an environment. I would expect that turnover in your company is exceptionally low. When employees feel valued, they rarely leave. Additionally, I would also expect that the culture is one with few silos, high collaboration, and a common respect for one another which leads to high productivity.
I’m always inspired to learn of such companies. I read look forward to reading other posts where you unpack a bit more from the 18 principles.
Should I be in the market for a good riding mower, I’ll know where to look.
February 13th, 2011 at 10:53 am
Good morning Tim,
Thank you for your willingness to share the God-based principles of your business. I am particularly interested in how you all turn those principles into everyday activities in your workplace.
I walked through your company web site, and a number of elements struck me. First, it is world-class, highly professionally done website – great graphics to show off your products. The pictures and history add a personal element that drew me to learn more about your company. I also appreciate the acrostic that you use for “What We Believe” – Opportunity Abounds. I am also interested in how the company belief statement came to exist, and how if it has been refined over the life of the company. It certainly sounds like an inspiring organization of which to be a part.
When considering examples of inspiring leaders and organizations, I think of the service leadership of Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision. In his book “The Hole in Our Gospel”, he relates the story about his transition from the corporate world as a president and CEO along with its money and perks, to turning his life to God as one living the gospel to serve the children of the world. He made personal sacrifice to purposely choose to follow Christ to address a very real need in our world.
One sentence from his most recent President’s Message summarizes his heart “Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, we serve alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people.”
Tim, thanks again and I look forward to your examples of how you all have lived in, learned from, and stood by your “What we Believe at Walker”.
Best Regards, Mike
February 14th, 2011 at 6:23 pm
I really enjoyed your posts and getting to know the Walker Manufacturing Company through the website. It is evident that the organization is driven by leaders grounded in biblical truths that live out their beliefs every day.
As we are discussing servant leadership in our class, I found the belief statement “O” to be very relevant. “Opportunity to lead depends on serving–our suppliers, employees, and customers all voluntarily associate themselves with the company based on how well we serve them”.
Another example of servant leadership that comes to mind is my pastor. It may be a matter of character and calling, but I think that pastors in general have a different mindset about leadership that business managers may benefit from learning. It’s not necessarily a part of his job description, but you will find my pastor doing everything from teaching bible studies to cleaning the toilets. His humility and willingness to serve inspires the congregation to volunteer their own time.
It sounds like this principle is integrated throughout the Walker Manufacturing Company and plays a role in changing lives. I look forward to reading more of your posts.