Culture of Possibility

Illustration of Ben Kroeger

Ben Kroeger, CSP

Environment, Health & Safety Manager, Guardian Industries

Favorite quote from Good Profit

In discussing the goal of the business management framework, “…that everyone knows the right thing to do and is motivated to do it – without explicit directions or overly detailed rules.” Good Profit, page 3

Ben Kroeger first read Good Profit when he came to Guardian Industries, a Koch company, to start a new position. What he discovered was a transformative new way to think about his role, his abilities and work itself.

“The culture here at Guardian is unlike any other I have been privileged to be a part of. It has been a breath of fresh air for me and in my career,” Ben said. “Trying to understand and learn Market-Based Management® has allowed me to realize what my capabilities are, how I can truly add value to the company and also what adding value means in different ways.”

As an environmental, health and safety (EHS) manager at Guardian Industries, Ben works closely with plant operators and employees to keep everyone safe and healthy, and to find ways to create more value for customers while consuming fewer resources.

“Most companies have detailed rules for how they run their specific business outside of standard business practices, which does not allow employees to feel motivated for anything other than the status quo,” Ben said. “While it is imperative to still follow specific rules and regulations related to EHS, having the freedom to contribute ideas on how we comply creates a greater sense of responsibility and motivates me even more.”

Another big shift for Ben was the MBM concept that it isn’t just permissible to challenge your bosses respectfully if you think you have a better answer, it’s your obligation.

“The challenge process as described in Good Profit was completely foreign to me prior to joining Guardian and Koch Industries. In my other companies, ‘challenge’ entailed presenting your ideas but never discussing the value or validity freely with leaders or even peers,” Ben said. “This concept has proven to be the most challenging to learn to apply correctly, pardon the pun. We all have different experiences, knowledge and biases, which can cause us to believe we know the ‘right’ way. We tend to think we know it all, which can cause us to put up walls when confronted with different opinions and ways of doing things. Suppressing those biases and letting others challenge your knowledge, ideas, and opinions allows for value creation, which in turn helps businesses to flourish.”

Ben’s overall takeaway from Good Profit is that the MBM philosophy be applied to the business “society” in which we work, but it can be applied to the whole of society.

“Learning about the Guiding Principles outlined in this book and applying them will allow others to understand their true potential, which will ultimately benefit both themselves and others.”

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Good Profit has been embraced around the world. Today, it is available in seven languages: English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Romanian and Portuguese, as well as a UK edition. Available now in hardcover, e-book and audiobook from these retailers.