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We’ve Been in Business for 75 Years; Here’s What We’ve Learned

During 2022, the Gene B. Glick Company is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Recently, David Barrett, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Gene B. Glick Company, shared what the company has learned over the last 75 years with Inside Indiana Business.

The following article was originally published by Inside Indiana Business and is available here.

Why do so few businesses struggle to survive past their first decade? Is longevity the result of great products, exceptional leaders, ethical operations, or just good luck?

The Gene B. Glick Company celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary this year, and it’s a testament to our values that I can say we’re rounding the corner on a century in business. For those looking to do the same, here are a few lessons we’ve learned over the last seven decades.

Focus on why you started

First, find your “why” – and never lose sight of it. For Glick, our “why” is embedded in our company’s original vision, which continues to influence the way we do business today. Our founder, Eugene (Gene) Glick, was a World War II veteran who established the company out of a desire to help his fellow GIs build homes for their families. Gene and his wife, Marilyn, went on to grow the company from a small single-family home building operation to one of the largest privately held real estate firms in the country, with properties in thirteen states. Their commitment to serving those who have served and their families lives on through the company’s work, such as through our Housing Our Heroes program, which helps veterans overcome barriers to housing and self-sufficiency in Indianapolis. They also established the Glick Family Foundation – now part of Glick Philanthropies – to support their wider charitable outreach efforts.

Although Gene passed away in 2013, his values of integrity and civic engagement have had a lasting impact not just on our company’s success, but the communities where we operate. Continuously grounding yourself in your reason for starting can help to guide company decision-making, communicate your efforts to those who matter, and elevate your profile.

Take care of your people, and they will return the favor

More than thirty of our employees have been with us for decades. When asked why they’ve remained at Glick for so long, there’s always a common thread: our commitment to caring for our team members. We often say our business is family, but it’s more than a buzzworthy phrase to us. We make significant efforts to ensure our employees feel valued. For example, the Glick Education Awards lessen the financial burden on our team members’ dependents seeking postsecondary education, and the Glick Relief Fund supports team members facing financial difficulties during times of hardship.

Beyond financial support, we seek to foster a culture where all team members feel appreciated, such as through recognizing team members’ contributions both internally and externally. In return, they dedicate their time and energy to help us remain a leader in our industry. Don’t underestimate the value of treating your team members well – happy employees are good for business.

Go above and beyond for your customers

Any business leader will tell you customer satisfaction is a key indicator of success. If you want to really make an impression, do more than simply meet expectations – look for ways to exceed them. For instance, at Glick, our residents are not only looking for a safe, stable place to live, but also a community where they and their families can thrive. We go beyond providing a home to live in by employing staff and implementing programs dedicated to helping residents succeed. We’ve served over 50,000 residents through our Service Coordination program, helping to connect residents with employment, education, and training opportunities, among additional efforts.

Determine what your community’s needs are and address them

Developing a corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy is more than a public relations move. It’s an important way to demonstrate a company’s values to employees, customers, and communities. To get started, look at where your community is struggling and consider tangible ways to make an impact, ensuring your methods are authentic to your organization.

At Glick, we consider CSR an essential part of our business and have implemented multiple ways to give back. Through our employee donation program, Glick Gives, contributions from our employees are matched by the Glick Fund at Central Indiana Community Foundation, helping to make a difference in the lives of our residents. The matching potential was increased in response to COVID-19 and, more recently, to support refugees fleeing Ukraine due to Russia’s invasion. We have also organized food drives, school supply donations to help children access e-learning, and more. This is just a handful of the ways we have supported our communities through times of hardship and showed value beyond our daily operations.

As a company of our tenure, we’ve weathered our fair share of ups and downs, but these lessons have helped us to remain successful even in the worst of times. As Glick celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary and looks to the future, we’ll continue to be steadfast in our values and reap the benefits of being a company that cares. Thank you to the team members, residents, and the wider central Indiana community who have helped to make our success possible. We hope other companies can learn from our triumphs so they, too, can one day celebrate seventy-five years in business.
- David Barrett, President and Chief Executive Officer, Gene B. Glick Company