One way to motivate and inspire employees is to help them see themselves in the company's vision, says Gina Radke, co-founder and CEO of Galley Support Innovations Inc. of Sherwood, in Arkansas Business' continuing video series on leadership.
Radke, whose company makes interior hardware — locks, latches, hinges and other parts — for aircraft, sat down with Online Editor Lance Turner for the second installment of Arkansas Business' "Foundations" video series.
The series aims to highlight key tools for success for businesses, nonprofits and other organizations. The first four videos of the series, which are premiering each month, focus on leadership and feature interviews with Radke, Jon Harrison of VIP2, and Fitz Hill, director of the Scott Ford Center for Entrepreneurship & Community Development and the Arkansas Baptist College Foundation.
In this episode, Radke talks about developing new leaders, the key qualities she seeks in new hires, the challenges that have made her a better leader, and how being honest with employees can lead to better communication.
Radke's company hires people from all kinds of backgrounds, including some who have troubled pasts, serving time in prison or other rehabilitation programs. But she said they see good results by investing time and resources in their employees' personal and professional lives.
They company also works to present a clear picture of the company's goals and help employees see themselves as active players in accomplishing them.
"We really allow them to see themselves in the vision, be part of the vision and then cast a little bit of their vision on their own," she said.
Radke and her husband Wade purchased the company in 2005 and moved it to Sherwood from southern California. Gina Radke has a degree in social psychology; Wade Radke, the company's COO, is an industrial engineer.
Originally, Gina was the marketing and sales person and Wade was running the company, but by 2007, as the nation's economy began to tumble, he took a job as a contractor at Hawker Beechcraft. Gina took over running Galley Support Innovations — and began attending every course and class offered on how to run a small business.
"I was learning as much as I could, so that I would know what to do to keep us afloat," she said.
Eventually, GSI landed a contract with Gulfstream for all the interior hardware for the Gulfstream 650.
Wade soon returned to GSI as lead designer and engineer, and the company has grown steadily. In 2015, it was named Arkansas Business of the Year in Category I. Later that year, it completed an expansion of its Sherwood operation.