Brannon Industrial Group President Blake Brannon likes to take a step back each year. Reflect on the previous year and vision cast for the next one. For the past several years, he’s intentionally chosen a word to set the tone for the year ahead. In 2023, he used the word “transition” to punctuate what was a year of big change and newness for the business. He used that word when things were tough and needed to transition into a smoother solution. He used that word when things were great and booming and needed to transition into a sustainable new pace.
At the 2023 end-of-year Christmas party, Blake announced to the entire company that the word for 2024 would be “impact.” He felt like this word was appropriate and exciting in a sense of the current culture at Brannon Industrial Group, but also as a continual aspiration for everyone in the company and everyone with whom the company comes into contact.
There are a lot of layers to the word, and we’re thrilled to peel them back one by one as it relates to each company, customer, and community under the BIG umbrella – beginning with Blake himself. Stop and Go Potties is a sub-company of BIG, and here's our vision for the year as told by our president.
Tell us what the word of the year is and how it came to you.
“The word of the year is “impact” and it really kind of came to me, thinking about what we do in our communities. We’re in the service business. So, the people that we deal with on a day-to-day basis… how are we impacting their lives? It’s a biblical thing, but it’s also just what we do. So, are we impacting them in a positive way and actually providing value to them?”
“Our focus is really on how to create a “win-win” relationship. To truly go out and provide value for somebody that's impactful. That can be in internal personal growth: teaching and growing this business, growing their skills and abilities. And then, in turn, that’s going to make an impact on the communities. And I just really believe it starts on the inside, it starts with us and our employees and focusing on that. And really caring… truly caring about their well-being. What is their best path for growth? There’s a lot to that. Sometimes, the hard conversations are the best conversations. There's true growth in those.”
“The goal is to impact the customers, and impact the communities and, in turn, impact our employees with opportunities and growth and big things.”
Win-win, impacting the employees and, in turn, our customers. Say more about that…
“It starts in the heart. If people are motivated, they feel included and a part of the team. They know that ownership and management have a true investment in their growth. And then that exudes out. That, in turn, goes to our customers. We walk in and truly want to try to help them be better. If we can help their business, then in turn, it helps us.”
“I think there’s an understanding that relationships are really really important for everyone in our organization to understand. As well as getting our customers to understand. If we can’t provide value… we’ll tell you. I don't want to be here to just be another vendor or just be another scrap guy or trash guy. It really is… “how can we come in and help you be more successful.” We’ve walked out of a lot of meetings saying, “Hey, we can’t do this… what you got is the right deal.” We’re always trying to make sure that we respect that relationship and respect that person enough to be able to do that.”
“But it all starts with the employee- with their growth and their path.”
“It’s kind of funny to think… we’re just the trash guys. We pick up all the junk and the trash... but it’s an important part of the communities. People don't get mad until their trash isn’t picked up. So as long as we’re doing that, we’re in pretty good shape.”
Impact in communities… tell us more about that.
“I think that the communities we’re in… being involved is paramount. It really is. If we really want the well-being of our surroundings, then we need to get involved. I’m really thankful that we’ve been involved as a company. We’ve got a lot of people within the organization who have been involved in every community that we’re in. On a local level and even on a national level. With boards and things like that. It’s important to give back. God calls us to be generous. That could be our time, talents, or resources. Our goal within the organization is to grow leaders. Hopefully, leaders that will be impactful in the community and help to be a change in the surroundings.
Impact as a culture, what do you think that looks like?
“Truly making an impact on people around you is mainly through action and through leadership. The goal is to grow people and build a business with a culture of that. Our values all tie back to that. They’re all biblical, actually. So then… take that outside of these walls and into communities to help change the surroundings. But it starts with action and with the people that are here. It’s hard to influence everybody… but we want to be a positive influence in the way that we act.”
“We’re gonna say it, but we’re also gonna do it. We’re gonna show the action.”
Action is such a big word in the culture. You can hear a lot of people who have said, “Hey, here’s how we do it.” But is that really happening? So, in regards to leadership, that’s what we want to have happen and be about. People going out into communities with action. And that’s what changes it… that’s the real way to think of it.”
Tell us more about what impacts you as a leader.
“A lot of mistakes! To the ones that I didn’t lead well, I apologize. One of the things that changed me was the difficult times. It's biblical too. You can thank god when the times are good, but can you also thank him for the bad times? I truly look back and am most thankful for the difficult times.”
“Covid was a really difficult time for us in business. Having the humility to know that you can't do it all... was the end of myself. Which ultimately made me a better leader. It made me realize that … people are the most valuable asset in any business. Sure, we can look at cranes or equipment or whatever, but it’s people who are the real value. I had gotten to a point and grown the business to the point where I couldn't do it myself. So when you're in a spot where the world changes overnight, you want to do anything in your power to fix it, but you really can't. You come to the end of yourself. The only thing to do at that point was to look up, which I did. But all of that really changed me. It changed me in my leadership and my love for other people. And that it wasn’t all about me. Which the world will tell you to believe. And I have fallen into that part. But all of that changed me.”
“The business started way back when to change people’s lives. That was our quick vision statement from back in the day.”
Then it changed to where we only focused on profitability. And I mean how do you focus on people if it's all about profitability, right? So I think the change of focus on people and culture and relationships… you know, focusing there first. What happens is that profitability follows. It was all a tough lesson. But it was a good lesson.”
Thank you, Blake!! We’re all looking forward to a BIG impact in 2024!!