Chances are, you’ll probably find a can of WD-40 in your garage. Garry Ridge, who calls himself the “chief” of the WD-40 “tribe,” is a big believer in creating lasting memories in his staff’s minds every day. He attributes this as the key to having built the company’s success during his 22-year tenure.
Ridge passionately speaks about how creating a culture of trust (not fear), respect, and candor has been transformative: “Leadership is about learning and teaching. Why waste getting old if you can’t get wise? We have no mistakes here, we have learning moments,” he explained to Forbes.
Ridge believes the annual performance review process is broken. Like all servant leaders, he thinks coaching, development, and feedback should be an everyday conversation between leader and direct report, a theme often noted in his 2009 book, co-authored with Ken Blanchard, Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called “Don’t Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A.”
At WD-40, employee engagement numbers are in excess of 90 percent and shareholder value has grown consistently over the past 14 years.
Ridge describes how a focus on the servant leadership principles of values, learning, teaching, growth, and community can lead to enhanced performance by helping people step into the best version of themselves.