Greenleaf uses structured approaches to meet team, business goals

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Sejohnson Photography Greenleaf employees stand in front of their 4DX boards.

According to CEO Lawrence Segrest, No. 11 Greenleaf Industries Inc. was built around the four disciplines of execution, also known as 4DX, which is a methodological way to approach goals and make strategic organizational change.

The first approach, or discipline, involves choosing one or two "wildly important" goals that take priority. The second discipline involves acting on lead measures, which are the high-impact behaviors used to reach the goal.

Keeping a compelling scoreboard — the third discipline — lets the team know if they are winning or losing their objective. The fourth discipline is to create a cadence of accountability by having regular meetings with teams who have a "wildly important" goal.

Segrest, who founded the custom injection molder with his father in 1999, implemented 4DX in late 2015 but finally hit its stride last year. When the teams reach their goal, they are rewarded with employee-benefit items such as T-shirts or movie tickets and company-benefit items such as new tools.

He said a wildly important goal right now for the company is reducing waste, but they also use the system for weight loss among employees.

"Somebody might say, 'My [weakness] is ice cream, so I'm not going to eat ice cream this week' or 'My thing is eating after 8 o'clock at night, and I'm not going to do that anymore.' Those are the small, personal commitments you make each week," he said. "Everybody understands if you do something good today, then you're not going to lose weight today. But if you consistently do it, which is the lead measure, and the wildly important goal is weight loss, we try to connect those two, as well as scorekeeping."

Aside from the 4DX rewards, employees take part in a Thanksgiving breakfast, Christmas lunch and pizza parties.

Last year, Lenoir City, Tenn.-based Greenleaf launched an advancement plan to improve company culture and push its 36 employees to succeed.

"I'd say that's probably the biggest step for 2017," Segrest said, "to create and reinforce that culture that you're an employee but you're in control of your destiny. … I want people to come in and feel like we're an open company, that we want them to succeed rather than stay in the same spot, that we're going to make it possible for them but we want them to stand on their own two feet, and that we want them to go and pursue things rather than their supervisor running around and begging them to take training or begging them to do this or that. So, that's our culture."

To help employees flourish at the company, Segrest also embraces face-to-face interactions called Snack and Chat.

"That's something where every employee — five to seven employees at a time — sit around the table with me as the CEO. The group is designed so that there's no supervisors. So, I'll do the entry-level people, and then I'll do the midlevel people, and then I'll do the management team so that nobody is afraid to say anything," he said, adding that this program provides feedback to find out "what people are really thinking without any filters."

With all the programs and incentives in place to support employees, human resources intern Dori Martin said everyone values the opportunities that are offered.

"…[O]ur leadership team really believes in our employees and want to give them every opportunity to succeed and grow," Martin said. "If you walk in as an operator and prove yourself and work hard and you show that you can do this, there's every opportunity for you."

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