037 – The “Top Down” Approach to Building Culture | Doug Bawel

Doug Bawel is the CEO of Jasper Engines & Transmissions, the largest remanufacturer of gas and diesel engines, transmissions, and differentials in the United States. Jasper has been an employee-owned organization since 2010 and outperforms 98 percent of all publicly traded companies.

Much of Jasper’s success is linked to their extremely engaged culture. Not only are employees (AKA “associates”) intrinsically motivated as part-owners of the company, but also because of the culture of servant leadership.

He believes culture isn’t HR’s responsibility. Rather culture is the responsibility of every single associate—starting at the top. Servant leaders lead by example. They step into the trenches, roll up their sleeves, and get their hands dirty. They connect with and care for their people.

Listen in to learn how Doug has woven these values into Jasper’s culture, and the dramatic impact it’s had on their growth as an organization.

Truth You Can Act On:

  1. Have a culture class. Teach all employees about the culture and the vision of your organization. Clarify what the company is looking for in its employees, how they should behave, and how to work and operate as a collective whole towards the culture you’re striving for.
  2. Create a culture of excellence. This can be achieved through internal training and development of your people. Design a learning roadmap specific to your company and have the CEO and executives train and teach the employees.
  3. Mobilize advisory committees. Influence employee engagement by getting groups of people together to solve organizational problems and talk innovative ideas. The group should travel around to different locations getting employees across the company involved in decision-making. Record and publish the meetings and send them out to all employees. Consider traveling around to a new location each month with a different group of people. Talk about the problems employees bring to the meeting and discuss the results of engagement surveys. Let all issues come to the surface, share the group’s solutions, and watch as communication flourishes organization-wide.

Nikki’s Book Recommendations:


  • Emplify – Are you still using pulse surveys? How about annual questionnaires? If your organization relies on either of these, it’s time to discover Emplify. Emplify has created a new way to measure employee engagement. It’s where CEOs who want to know what’s really happening within a workforce go… to get honest feedback… and to understand what needs to change for people to love their work using simple and trustworthy data.
  • Titus – In our conversations with CEOs and hiring managers, we hear they are frustrated with traditional recruiting… From outrageous fees to focusing on candidates before clients, the process was broken and needed to be fixed. Enter Titus Talent. Titus Talent Strategies serves its clients using passionate people, a proven process, and unparalleled performance. Oh, did we mention they guarantee the PERFORMANCE of their candidates for 12 months?

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