“The key to long-term success in the business world is by creating a culture of servant leadership,” says DVT CEO Bob Steinke.
On the morning when Oprah Winfrey was giving away cars to kick off her “wildest dreams” campaign, attendees at DVT’s Global Business Conference and User Group Meeting is also being exhorted to dream for greater things.
Bob Steinke, chairman and CEO of DVT, uses his religious beliefs to help determine how the machine vision firm works with its customers, stressing the concept of servant leadership. That urges company leaders to consider themselves servants of customers and other employees, doing whatever they can to help customers achieve their goals. Steinke makes himself readily available to serve DVT’s customers, putting his home phone number on his business card and telling attendees at the Las Vegas conference to call him directly if they can’t resolve an issue.
The concept works for DVT, which has averaged 36 percent growth over the past several years. Whether or not other companies buy into the religious message, Steinke feels the concepts are sound business practice for any corporation. “I believe the key to long-term success in the business world is by creating a culture of servant leadership that permeates the entire corporation,” he says.
The model of servant leadership is the basis for the company’s extensive training programs, which are all free. “The best gift we can give to anyone is knowledge,” says Mike Schreiber, director of applied engineering.
Another service is DVT’s online Conference rooms, Websites where companies can bring together the many suppliers often involved in complex factory automation can come together and solve problems. That’s a way to get around the issues of finger pointing and passing the buck. “It’s not a question of whose fault the problem is, that’s ridiculous. It’s about solving the problem,” Steinke says.
The concept of helping people is the basis behind all DVT’s new programs. “We ask three things. Will it help the company, will it help the family, will it help the customers,” Steinke says. If a plan doesn’t pass those tests, it’s scuttled.