Less About the Work, More About the People

July 17, 2018
Ray L. Chambers - Chairman, CEO & President

Featured in Muncie Power Quarterly, Issue 3, 2018

Every once in a while, we come across an experience that not only sticks with us but shapes who we are as leaders. For me, one of these experiences happened a few years ago when I was meeting with a couple members of our team after a target date had been missed on a major product initiative. To this day, I can still see their faces etched with looks of anxiety and dread. I may be the CEO, but I’m still a person – just like everyone else – so to see them anxious or really petrified to see me gave me pause to say the least. Braced like students sent to the principal’s office expecting to receive a reprimand or punishment after pleading their case, I think my response surprised them. Instead of yelling or delivering some kind of repercussion, I asked to see an in-depth view of the process to understand all of the finer details going into this project. Upon reviewing this, I realized that when we set the target date we weren’t looking at all of these finer details and our time frame was perhaps too aggressive for all that was being asked. I knew these men and women; I knew how hard they had been working with efforts that went above and beyond. Looking at the facts this one was on me, so I apologized – becoming vulnerable before my team. I recognized I had been focusing on the wrong thing.

Throughout my experience, I’ve learned that nothing shuts down an individual quicker than being shot down or attacked by their peers for being vulnerable. In our culture, being vulnerable can be seen as a weakness. Vulnerability though, is a strength and if allowed to flourish helps to create open communication between ourselves and the people we lead. For us, it’s led to learning from these missed dates and discovering ways to make our processes better so that in the future we won’t miss these dates again. In being vulnerable, we set an example for our team as leaders by putting the focus where it always should be – on our people doing the work and not so much the work itself.

Ray L. Chambers - Chairman, CEO & President

Ray Chambers joined Muncie Power Products as Vice President of the Tulsa (Oklahoma) Division in 2004. He became President of the company in 2009, and was named to his current position in January 2012. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Wesleyan University and a master’s degree from Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma. He is a thought leader and visionary within the industry.