Experiencing the Character of a Company
Annette Carroll 05.15.2020
At Okuma America Corporation I’m surrounded by seasoned professionals who have decades of experience with the company. This means, even with my 3+ years tenure, in some ways you could call me a relative “newbie.” I have, however, spent my entire career in marketing positions at manufacturing companies, and these experiences have rendered some unique perspectives about the nature of organizations during different business cycles.
True Character Revealed
They say you can really see the true character of a person when they’re faced with extreme circumstances, and I believe the same can be said of companies. As the coronavirus outbreak has unfolded, the stresses, surprises, and previously unthinkable realities have stunned us all. As I observe the character of my employer - Okuma America - revealing itself in the process, I’m struck by one clear observation: this company is different.
Caring at a Personal Level
In the early stages of the crisis, the leadership team held frequent meetings, and the top concern was always for the people, both internally and for those at our distributor and partner companies. This was caring at a personal level, an expression of doing our best to protect the health and well-being of our people and their families.
Our President and COO Jim King searched the globe for a supplier of face masks, which were ultimately distributed to each employee and to a local medical facility. He took action to stay one step ahead and provide whatever he could to ensure the safety of the employee body, while making a meaningful contribution to our health care community. When the day came to pick up my personal supply of masks, it hit me: I may be a fairly new member of the Okuma team relative to my colleagues, but I’m also a valued member of a caring professional family.
This was caring at a personal level, an expression of doing our best to protect the health and well-being of our people and their families
As some of our employees migrated to a temporary work-from-home environment, this was a major transition. Jim quickly understood the need for consistent, proactive communications and initiated a series of weekly video updates. Through these videos Jim shares the latest known information expressed by our local governments and elected officials as well as steps Okuma is taking to find workable solutions for new circumstances.
Each day brings new realities, and we can’t control every situation we encounter. We may need to endure some hardships along the way. But we’re given positive encouragement to rise to the occasion, put forth our best efforts, and take steps to create the best possible outcomes for all.
At the end of each video Jim shares a simple message: “Take care of yourself and take care of your families during this time. Be safe.” These parting words make it utterly clear, it’s the people who matter most.
THE HUMAN ASPECT OF COMPANY CULTURE
This brings me back to the concept of Okuma being different. I’ve worked for successful and highly respected companies; many of which were leaders in their industries. While company culture was always among topics of discussion at those companies, it is definitely distinctive at Okuma, where I am witnessing a company and its management team rising above the corporate concerns of the day to the level of the personal, human aspects. This, in my experience, is atypical in today’s business climate, but it is definitely a defining characteristic of Okuma and a hopeful “new normal” for other manufacturing companies and beyond.
About Annette Carroll
Annette Carroll is Director of Marketing, Okuma America Corporation.
Connect with Annette on LinkedIn.