Quad/Graphics featured in book that highlights fearless companies
Press release from the issuing company
February 2, 2004 -- We always knew we did things a little differently here at Quad/Graphics. Now our unconventional ways appear in a new book by bestselling authors Kevin and Jackie Freiberg: GUTS! Companies That Blow the Doors Off Business-as-Usual.
The authors spent five years researching U.S. companies that buck traditional management styles and forge their own path — with extraordinary success. Quad caught their attention, says Jackie Freiberg, because “it’s a gutsy company with the creativity and chutzpah to think innovatively and take a road less traveled. Like all gutsy companies, Quad/Graphics is absolutely unconventional when it comes to creating a great place to work and do business.”
What makes a company gutsy? And why does it matter?
Gutsy Companies Poke A Finger in the Eye of “Business as Usual”
Company Founder Harry V. Quadracci and the other founders of Quad/Graphics started with a shoestring operation and a radical vision: egalitarianism. They didn’t view their employees as just another company asset, like the machinery on the shop floor. They respected their employees as individual people with unique talents and skills, eager to learn more, contribute more and improve their lives.
Our founders believed that no one is more important than anyone else. Every person’s contribution is vital for the company’s success. This core value is most visible in the uniforms we wear, regardless if we work in production or administration.
Quad/Graphics believes in hiring the right people, empowering them through education and training, trusting them to do their best and then getting out of their way so they can do their job. “It’s a bet that the more you delegate power, the better employees perform,” the authors explain. “That takes guts, and Quad/Graphics fully trusts its people to rise to the occasion.”
Gutsy Companies Create A Sense of Ownership
Another key element of gutsy companies, the authors discovered, is that all employees have a sense of ownership. This philosophy is engrained in our culture.
Quad/Graphics was founded on the principle that the company should be by and for the people. Employees are literally owners of the company through profit sharing. But ownership is also at attitude, the book stresses. It’s the understanding that every employee plays an important role in the company’s success, and the recognition that valuable input might come from anyone, at any level of the company.
Amazing things happen when employees think like owners. They go above and beyond their job descriptions, take risks and find solutions. The following excerpt from GUTS! illustrates this principle: “Part of Quadracci’s walking-away agenda was to keep the management structure as flat as possible and to be personally accessible to everyone — but only in those rare circumstances when his people needed his input … In one characteristic move, he financed an expansion of the trucking fleet by inducing his drivers to find loads for their return trips. Handing them the keys to their trucks, he announced that they were all now owners in the corporation’s new division, Duplainville Transport. How they made the rigs profitable on return trips was up to them. When the drivers asked Quadracci how to do that, he answered ‘I don’t know anything about driving an 18-wheeler.’ To their own amazement, the drivers found loads and made their new division work.”
Gutsy Companies Are Defined by Their Culture
Gutsy companies are as renowned for their culture as they are for their products or services. Quad/Graphics is recognized worldwide for our can-do attitude, our dedication to our people, our focus on innovation and technology, our passion for protecting the environment, and our commitment to the community.
This is who we are. This is how we do business. And this is what sets us apart from the competition.
“We spent a lot of time getting to know the people of Quad/Graphics, and everyone we met was willing to do whatever it takes to live these values out loud,” says Jackie Freiberg. “Quad has built a culture that explodes with passion, productivity — and record profits.”
Companies with this kind of culture, the authors found, usually don’t have satisfied employees. And that’s just fine, because gutsy companies don’t settle for merely “satisfied.” What Quad and other gutsy companies inspire are employees — and customers — who are wildly enthusiastic about the company; people who give it their all, and inspire others to do the same.
Gutsy Companies Hire Great People
A gutsy company hires people not just for their expertise but for the values and passion they bring to the company. Aptitude can be learned. Attitude can’t. “What gutsy leaders know is that your competitors can copy your products, improve on your processes, undercut your prices, perhaps even match your quality. What they can’t replicate are the attitudes of your people,” GUTS! reveals.
It’s no accident that Quad/Graphics is so often recognized for the intense loyalty between the company and its people. Like other gutsy companies, Quad/Graphics hires great people, believes in them and nurtures their talents. “We always say that Quad is a place where you can be more than you ever thought you could be,” says Sue Barrett, Sussex Quad/Education manager. “No matter how large we get, this is what defines us.”
Harry Quadracci believed so strongly in education, the GUTS! authors learned, that he often taught the company’s Introduction to Printing classes himself.
At Quad, employees have countless opportunities to further their education, training and personal development. Our on-site medical clinics, child care centers, fitness centers and abundant recreational opportunities help our employees and their families live healthier, happier lives. Quad/Graphics is deeply committed to making our people’s lives better, both on and off the job.
Gutsy Companies Lead With Love
No, the authors don’t mean romance at the water cooler. They’re talking about respect and trust. Companies that lead with love believe that people matter and help them to be successful. In turn, their workforces are motivated by caring, rather than driven by fear.
“Employees working at companies that care about them are far more than satisfied — they are engaged, loyal and fully committed to the organization,” the Freibergs observe. This philosophy is a central part of the Quad/Graphics culture. From Management University and Think Smalls to impromptu backyard cookouts and picnics under the trees, the company works hard to break down barriers and build close personal relationships.
“When you know the person behind the colleague or customer, you’re more motivated to go out of your way for them,” Jackie Freiberg explains.
Gutsy Companies Make Business Heroic
At Quad/Graphics, we’re about more than putting ink on paper. Our driving motivation is taking care, making the world a better place. We do this by linking people around the globe through the printed word, by creating opportunities for our people to excel, by giving back to the communities in which we live and work and play, and by being careful stewards of the environment.
When what we do is so meaningful, it’s no longer just a job; it’s our life’s mission.
Gutsy Companies Inspire Fun
There are quite a few photographs of Harry Quadracci in GUTS! They all exemplify his legacy of grand good fun. At Quad/Graphics, we are famous for our willingness to share laughs and even look downright silly together. There is a method to this madness. “Once you get up and make an ass of yourself in front of thousands of people, what else is left?” Harry often said of the irreverent Management Revue.
Fun breaks down barriers, bonds people and frees them to think creatively and take risks, the Freibergs believe. And, of course, having fun makes coming to work a whole lot more enjoyable.
“Organizations such as Quad/Graphics, which must meet critical deadlines, know how to take their business seriously,” the authors say. “But fun is a core strategy that doesn’t interfere with seriousness. In fact, it complements it, which gives these organizations a distinct advantage over competitors. Fun is a gift to your people and your customers.”
A Company With GUTS … And Heart
During the months the authors researched Quad/Graphics, they uncovered gutsy leadership from the administrative offices to the loading docks. More than 12,000 people are fully engaged in applying their energy, creativity and intelligence to benefit the company — their company. “Quad/Graphics truly exemplifies a company with GUTS!” says Jackie Freiberg. “Quad has created a place where impassioned people bring their heart, mind and spirit to work every day. They know they are part of something special.”
Are pioneers, not followers
Have a record of extraordinary business results
Have vision, and the ability to make it a reality
Are dedicated to inspiring their people to higher levels of engagement, performance and loyalty
Care, mentor, challenge, lead and even love
Lead by example, living and imparting the qualities they value
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