André Thornton appreciates the value of team-work.
Thornton learned a lot about being a member of a team when he played for the Cleveland Indians from 1977 to 1987. The lessons he’s learned from that experience have carried over to his work as owner, chairman and CEO of Mogadore-based ASW Global LLC.
“Whether it’s business or sports or any other endeavor, having the right people to execute your plan is one thing that is vitally important for any organization to be successful,” he says.
Thornton’s $25 million supply chain management company provides logistical and warehousing needs worldwide for Wal-Mart and other clients.
Smart Business spoke with Thornton about how he coaches his team of 250 winners to succeed.
Q. How do you find the right people for your team?
I don’t think there’s any magic wand for doing that. Finding the right people is hard work. It’s good evaluation, good due diligence and making sure that you do your homework.
You have to find people that fit your culture, understand your goals and are willing to be a part of helping to realize that dream. It’s a process that you put in place by going through that checklist of qualities and abilities that you’re looking for.
Evaluating talent is always one of the most difficult things to do in any area because there are so many variables that come into play.
If you have the right people, then you’re going to get the right execution. Getting the right execution of that plan puts you in position to be successful.
Then, you have to have the motivation and inspiration to keep your vision fresh in front of your people; to do that, you need to have the right sort of rewards that motivate your people, and they’re not always financial rewards.
Q. What characteristics do you look for in the people that you hire?
Our values, which drive our culture, are tremendously important. You need good people with good values, people that are dependable and that have the integrity of character.
You can’t lose when you have talented people that have those attributes and values because you know that, at the end of the day, your client is going to be served well. Those things are vitally important to establishing the kind of culture that is important to me, our team and our organization. That’s evident in our values statement.
Our enduring values are trust, respect, integrity, excellence and diversity. Those are things that we hope will establish the kind of culture that makes it exciting and attractive to people who want to be a part of this organization.
We all have a values statement whether it’s stated or un-stated in what we do and how we live. For me, my faith sets the values in which I follow.
Q. How do you attract employees to your business?
The best way to do that is you live it out. People hear what you say, but they watch what you do. It’s what you do that really drives how people think about you.
I believe in doing the basics so well to where it becomes a routine. You live it out day to day, and you don’t have to go outside and try to create something unnatural to communicate a natural reaction. Living out what you believe is key.
There’s an ABC lesson we sometimes use as coaches, teachers and communicators, ‘Attitude determines Behavior, and Behavior is what you Communicate to others.’ If I don’t believe in integrity, treating people right and honesty, I can’t create a false sense of living that out.
Q. How does that affect the way you lead the company?
If I don’t set the example from the top of the organization in terms of our culture, how we treat our people and how we treat our clients it won’t be followed at the bottom.
That’s one of the things that we talk about with our management team: Our employees are going to watch us. They’re going to watch how we treat other people and how we treat them. They’re going to see whether or not that’s consistent with what we say, and they will measure us on that consistency.
That’s a part of our evaluation: living out our values and our mission.
Q. How do you motivate and reward your employees?
We offer our people an environment that we think is conducive to their success. When it’s done correctly, it’s a joy. When it’s not done correctly, it is miserable.
We try to surround them with people that are encouraging, challenging and motivating. We try to give them access to opportunity where they can be engaged in things (that) might peak their interest. But, most of all, we give them a chance to be a part of building something that is not only successful but has an impact on the lives of people.
HOW TO REACH: ASW Global LLC, (888) 363-8492 or www.aswservices.com