Over the past 35 years running JWF Industries, President and CEO Bill Polacek has faced several obstacles that required him to step back and rethink his approach.
“I hit either a ceiling or we were at the point where the market was oversaturated, the market was going a different direction, so it made it tough to guide the organization,” he says.
In these moments, Polacek relies on his ability to stay curious, continually ask questions and build the right base of advisers. That’s led the 400-employee operation, which designs, manufactures and integrates metal-centric products, to grow in fits and starts.
“For me, it was a vertical line — a plateau, regroup, grow for the next step vertical line,” he says. “And those are the times when you hit those ceilings, because you realize you can’t grow, and you have to figure out why. It’s either people, yourself or markets.”
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