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Skilled Manufacturing, Inc.: How CEO Dodd Russell builds bridges between cultural islands

May 6, 2019 Blog 5 min watch
Jim Proppe
As CEO of a growing company with nearly 300 people spread over three locations, Dodd Russell realized cultural islands were forming in his business that needed to be connected with a common bridge. The result was “One SMI.”

Dodd Russell, CEO of Skilled Manufacturing, Inc. (SMI), recently joined me to discuss culture and leadership in his growing manufacturing business. One of Dodd’s experiences that really stood out was his recognition of the increasing isolation between staff at SMI’s various locations. His solution? Creating “One SMI,” a values-oriented, family-like culture based on the idea of a single team working across all divisions and locations, similar to Plante Moran’s “One-firm firm” philosophy. The result is a workplace that he says feels like a second family for its people.

In the videos above, Dodd shares his insights on the importance of culture and inclusiveness, leading by example, and how mentors can help executives work through difficult situations.

I hope you enjoy the discussion as much as I did.

Leadership personality profile:

Your leadership approach in one word: Servant leadership

The leadership quality you most admire in others: Integrity and transparency  

Your best piece of business advice: Make sure you have a great team; people are the key to your success. 

What you look for when you hire: A value system similar to our company’s core values:Safety, customer satisfaction, continuous improvement, teamwork and communication, integrity, and trust and respect

To be an effective leader, you cannot… be unwilling to do what you ask others to do.  

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