Joe White was one of two men who demonstrated for me the traits of a leader who draws people to him by being open to others and encouraging them. Joe invested in both his employees and his customers over more than 3 decades and grew his small family business, Castle Supply, into a national leader in the industry.
I worked with Joe and the company president, Bob Cardwell, in developing their leadership team and documenting their strategic planning. As I worked with them, I began to notice a pattern; men and women in every branch and most departments had a story to tell about how Joe White had taken a chance on them and then stood back and let them grow. In return, Joe had a team of loyal employees who put customers first and built a highly profitable business.
An international company that also was a major force in the same industry put an offer on the table to buy Joe's company that couldn't be ignored. Joe wanted to talk to me immediately and I wasn't surprised by what I was about to hear. Joe was worried first about how his family would react to the sale and second what this would do to his employees. Joe negotiated the sale of the business over several months, and at every step, he calculated how to keep his family's interest foremost and to protect his employees.
The closing day came and those long-term employees, including Bob Cardwell, were rewarded for their loyalty. I have never seen any other business owner leave as much on the table for his associates. Joe White was open, he listened without judging, he invested time, he encouraged continuously, and he appreciated the strengths of those he led.