Joe Pentlicki Vice President/COO, Oliver Manufacturing

What does it mean to be “strong”? Do you picture a rugged hand with calluses and dirt and oil in the creases? Maybe you picture the 91-year-old church-going lady who still lives on her own, bakes pies for the neighbors and drives down to the senior center. Or maybe you picture a hard-working mom or dad who works long hours to provide for the family, and no matter the need — be it family, friends, community — they are there to lend a hand. 

Each is symbol of strength in my book; however, that’s not how Merriam-Webster defines it. “Having or marked by great physical power,” is one definition, followed by “having moral or intellectual power.”

For us, at Oliver, it’s not one or the other but some combination. Strength and building strong teams is more about knowing the core values of our business and then hiring people whose behaviors align. These include being respectful, reliable, collaborative, courageous and resourceful, as defined below.

The Respectful notice and value the opinions, experiences and diversity of others. They encourage others to contribute to meeting the needs of customers and the team.

The Reliable are accountable and hold themselves answerable for meeting the needs of customers through their work, actions and interactions with others.

The Collaborative openly engage others to better understand issues and challenges. They collective opinions from customers and across the organization to develop direction and implement new ideas, with a focus on what’s best for the team.

The Courageous advocate for and are dedicated to serving and supporting the cause of their team and their company. They challenge the status quo, constantly seeking ways to improve products, processes and procedures.

The Resourceful overcome situational difficulties using the resources available. They are solution oriented and embrace change needed to drive improvement.

We also look for those who take ownership and show initiative, those who demonstrate humility, and those who communicate well.

The Owners take pride in their work and demonstrate a focus on taking care of both internal and external customers to better serve their needs.

The Initiators seek, learn, embrace and apply new skills and knowledge, enabling the business to meet or exceed the changing needs of customers and the organization.

The Humble recognize and learn from their shortcomings and leverage this learning to drive self-improvement. They can empathize with others in similar situations.

The Communicators keep their team and others informed, ferociously sharing information and ideas, that add value in achieving organizational initiatives and meeting customer needs.

These represent the characteristics of strong individuals, whether they work under the heat of a welder or spend long days behind a desk or in meetings. These 9 core behaviors are instrumental to creating power teams that can break down barriers and achieve goals.