For more than fifty years, Reell Precision Manufacturing has been practicing a form of collaborative leadership that provides the foundation for both a successful business and a thriving community of coworkers.
Collaborative leadership is energized by wisdom—a dynamic perception that exists apart from the individual. Wisdom integrates principles, knowledge, experience, and contemporary reality. It appreciates the validity and worth of the opinions of others. At its essence, wisdom requires humility.
Author and company cofounder Robert L. Wahlstedt speaks to the importance of accessing wisdom—and the humility that goes with it—for good business. He also addresses the importance of building a company that views success as more than a return on investment. Reell provides exceptional products and services while establishing the purpose of the company as "the growth and development of people." And even when virtuous people in good relationships stumble, a solid business with collaborative leadership can recover from conflict and experience redemption.
As Michael Naughton writes in the book's foreword: "It is said that in order to know something you need to know where it came from and where it is going. In this short book, Bob Wahlstedt tells us about Reell's origins as well as its destiny. He provides for us important insights to what the company is about—what is its purpose, what practices embody this purpose, what are the leadership challenges, and more. What motivated Bob and the other two founders was not wealth or size or fame but meaning. They wanted a business where people would flourish in their work. They spoke of the growth of coworkers who would be free to develop the excellence within. Bob and the founders wanted to get to the level of our being, a created order, where the best version of ourselves could emerge."
After receiving a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota and working at 3M for eight years, Bob Wahlstedt joined Dale Merrick in his independent sales rep business. Seven years later, Lee Johnson joined Dale and Bob and the three founded Reell Precision Manufacturing Corporation in 1970. Bob has been retired from active employment since 1998 and remains an emeritus member of the Reell board of directors. In addition, he has been involved with the University of St. Thomas as an executive fellow and with Hi Tempo, a retailer of skis and sailboats, as an investor and colleague. He also served for many years as a member of the board of Seeing Things Whole.
"The story of Reell tells how the founders combined the business operations with their spiritual values in a unique and interesting way. The author is forthright in discussing the problems that the owners encountered over the years and how they worked to overcome them. The worth of the individual employee is built up for the success of the company. With the right atmosphere established by management, employees are allowed to become key players in achieving the objectives of the company without sacrificing their own personal goals and spiritual values. This book is a must read for entrepreneurs who want to follow their spiritual values while building a business." - Carl Kuhrmeyer—Retired Vice President, Administration, 3M Company
"The culture within any business is powerful. A mark of leadership is nurturing an organization's culture into a compelling force. The paradigm of creating shareholder wealth as a singular force is insufficient. Dedication to the customer and an equal dedication to the firm's employees come first. Then shareholder value will thrive. The story of Reell Precision Manufacturing Company demonstrates how this is accomplished. Two guiding documents—Declaration of Belief and Direction Statement—capture the focus on culture, leadership, and commitment to coworkers. When I asked a newly promoted company vice president for his takeaway after reading Where Two or Three Are Gathered, he responded: 'It happened; it is real; and it means others can do it.'" - R. G. (Rod) Parsons—Former Vice President & General Manager Industrial Chemicals & Solvents Div. Ashland Chemical, Co.
"Capitalism in our country needs serious reform. This reform will happen from the ground up. It will require new forms of leadership and significantly improved governance. Where Two or Three Are Gathered speaks directly to leaders in senior management and boards, and calls us to new and powerful forms of collaboration in service to our customers, employees, and key stakeholders. It is a profound set of reflections about how we can bring our best to work." - James Emrich—Chair, Landry’s Bicycles; Past Chair, InspiriTec
"Many aspects of Reell's culture and governance have both intrigued and informed me. During my personal journey of connecting my faith with my work in a secular world, Reell has been a role model for me. Founded on distinctly Christian values, the company and its leadership have navigated a path to inclusiveness that did not minimize its roots, but built on them to establish an enduring culture of doing what is right—for the employees, their customers, their suppliers, and ultimately for the company.As in all of life, organizations and their leaders have times of success and times of significant challenges. So has Reell. However, the core values established by the founders live on today to guide present-day leadership as they write the next chapter of the company's future. This book provides a practical, experiential roadmap for anyone looking to walk the challenging road that is the intersection of faith and values and real world work." - Ed Mosel—Retired COO for Stoneridge Inc. and Executive Director of Seeing Things Whole
"I highly recommend Where Two or Three Are Gathered. Bob's book and the Reell Precision Manufacturing Company story is important, timely, and relevant for entrepreneurs and those in leadership roles in business, government, education, and the professions. The book offers practical advice and guidance stressing character, building on ethics, values, vision, spirituality, confidence, and humility—all important elements of leadership. As a mechanical engineering grad, consultant, and former elected official, I think the book is great!" - Don Salverda—Founding President, Roseville Area Optimist Club