Part II: My Experiences in Leadership;
The Talk and then the Walk

It’s time to further develop the points highlighted in my ‘New Teammate’ meetings as presented in Part I.

In particular, the first on ‘Introducing ourselves’.

The very first thing we did is go around the table. As I said previously, this could be between 1-15 people at a time, and introduce ourselves starting with me. I wanted them to know my background, values, and career path. Why? So they could see what was possible in this great Company. From lowly engineer/metallurgist to V-P and Plant Manager (and eventually Chairman/CEO).

Our discussions would include everything from our family up bringing, where we were from, our career travels, what had they heard about Nucor/Nucor Yamato – positive or negative – why they wanted to work here, their level of education, and whatever else they wanted to bring up. The information offered was as diverse as you can imagine. An important point to remember is that they were already hired.

Some came from big families, and some were only children; tech school educated; with/without high school diplomas; PhDs; North/South/East/West; Black, White, Hispanic, American Indian, and from overseas, Canada, and Mexico. They heard things like what a great place it was to work, or that the people cared; the pay was great but the work hard and dangerous. They wanted to work here for everything from just providing a better life for their Families to the opportunity to be challenged and to see how far they could go in the Company.

The purpose for this discussion was to let them all see how many differences there were between us and how much they all had in common! Then to build off that the concept of Teamwork and how to be the best at what they would be doing and to build the best Steel Company in the world. The things we had in common would be the glue that held us together on those tough days, weeks, months, and years. The differences that we brought with us would allow us to fly to great heights that would otherwise be unachievable. I would share two examples of why this was so.

First, I reminded them of the well-worn and true adage that “Two heads are better than one”. The reason they were better than one was because of the diversity of their life experiences and if we valued those differences, as we should, they would add unlimited value to themselves, their teams, and their Company. That diversity would allow them to do things that completely uniform thinking would not.

The second example was a sports analogy. Imagine how successful a professional football team or any sports team would be if every player had the same set of skills. Imagine a team made up of only 300-pound linemen or just linebackers? You get my point. How would they ever be able to compete successfully with a balanced multi skilled team with made up of the best skills at each position? The answer is clear, they would lose every game and never reach and win the Super Bowl, never!

Clearly, valuing and using the differences between us to make us a better team would give us the best chance at being the best, which is exactly what you have to do if you are going to have longevity as teammates, teams, and a Company in today’s extremely competitive world of business and steelmaking.

Remember, I always asked for their support of and commitment to these concepts and ways of working together. Their answers were always a resounding yes! But as we always see the proof is not in the words but the follow through and levels of success achieved. In my nine years as their leader at this plant, and my following 12+ years as CEO, there was no more successful plant of this type and team that even came close to their success, not even in the ballpark. They delivered on their commitments in spades!

They continue “To do it Together” at Nucor Yamato Steel in Blytheville, Arkansas and continue to be the best, hands down!