FARNSWORTH GROUP is a very special kind of company.

A few months ago, they were recognized as a Great Place To Work, an award that isn’t at all easy to obtain.  But in a very real way, it’s something they’ve been working on for their entire history, over 110 years.

Many people equate a great place to work with the high-tech snazziness of foosball tables and idealistic millennials.  But here we have an engineering and architectural company with an honored history spanning multiple generations.  Their focused innovation is inspiring.

I talked with Bruce McLennan recently.  He’s the National Strategy Manager for Commercial Development, so he has a broad view of how the 450-person business operates.

I discovered that the keys to their longevity are straightforward: Strategy, Operational Excellence, Business Development, and their People.  They run as a single profit center across the company, which encourages everybody to pull together toward the shared goals.

They’ve grown organically and through acquisitions, now with hubs in Illinois, Colorado, Texas, and Missouri.  This results in the normal sort of growing pains, but a foundation of solid leadership practices helps them prosper.

gptw_overviewIt turns out that receiving this award has been both inspiring and challenging.  Of course, it’s wonderful to be recognized for great practices – based on an array of detailed interviews with employees.  But there’s always that question of “what’s next?”

Because the journey is never done.

When you look into the details, you see employees saying:

88% say “I’m proud to tell others I work here.”

88% say “People here are given a lot of responsibility.”

92% say “I am able to take time off from work when I think it’s necessary.”

These are truly amazing results.  So what’s next?

Well, they have all the challenges of most companies these days.  Diversity, demographics, and especially generations.  They’ve developed a practice of always including a cultural ambassador in interviews, in order to support the kind of diverse work team that will build success for another century.  Their priority is developing leaders, and recruiting the very best talent.

Because the long term success is always built with great people.

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