Open for success
Cherry’s Industrial Equipment CEO John Costello offered ‘Strategies to Succeed in a Changing Economy’ at the Schaumburg Business Association meeting.
John Costello, the chief executive officer of Cherry’s Industrial Equipment was recently invited to address a group of business owners at a Schaumburg Business Association meeting on the topic ‘Strategies to Succeed in a Changing Economy.’ Cherry’s is an engineering and manufacturing company dedicated to solving workflow and safety issues in the workplace.
Costello is an advocate of the Open Book Business model, and his presentation highlighted the value of employers providing this level of transparency within their companies. He delivered his remarks at an Association Leadership Luncheon meeting at the Schaumburg (IL) Business Center. By way of introduction, Costello shared the history of Cherry’s Industrial Equipment, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year – including his experiences going through several leveraged buyouts, which led him to the role of CEO and owner.
Having come up through the ranks of the company that he now leads, he knew that he wanted to do things differently, and that included the Open Book Business model. “When you open your books and share the numbers with employees, it can be a very freeing experience,” he says.
“Many business owners hold to the belief that you shouldn’t share numbers with employees but rather keep that information close to the vest.” He continued, “However, a lack of information on the part of employees can lead people to create their own stories and draw incorrect conclusions.”
He said that a key part of Cherry’s success has come from implementing the principles of The Great Game of Business, which the company adopted in 2018. “It transformed the way we were able to run our company.”
Beyond sharing financial information, he said, the company seeks to elevate others and bring out the best in everyone, while building strong relationships. The company culture is one where everyone takes ownership and accountability for their actions, and where every person knows that they work they do matters.
Cherry’s Industrial Equipment was honoured in 2022 with the All Star People Choice award by The Great Game of Business for creating a ‘Business of Businesspeople’ who ‘Think, Act and Feel like Owners’ by teaching everybody how business works, giving them a voice in saying how the company is run and providing them a stake in the financial outcome. Additionally, Cherry’s was named to the 2023 ‘Best Places to Work in Illinois’ by Workforce Inc and the Daily Herald.
Costello told the audience that he believes the key elements of a company’s success strategy should include these elements:
- Opening the books and sharing the stories behind the numbers
- Creating a culture of caring, core value recognition and servant leadership
- Creating company value by impacting the lives of the employees
- Defining the company’s ‘why?’ (purpose), where it is going, who will help to get it there (right seat, right person)
“It was an honour for me to have the chance to share my recommendations on what can help a business to be more successful,” Costello said. “I thank the Schaumburg Business Association for this opportunity. I enjoyed meeting other area business owners and I believe we can all learn from each other.”