The Power of Culture: Inside KMM’s Growth

The remarkable growth KMM has achieved in recent years is a clear testament to the transformative power of a well-defined company culture. Our success is anchored in a set of fundamentals – essential behaviors and values that have been instrumental in our past achievements and continue to profoundly influence our strategy, decision-making, and company operations moving forward. But there’s more to these culture-building principles than meets the eye. Each carries unique significance, steeped in the experiences and insights of our leadership.

This article takes a deep dive into the origins of these fundamentals. It traces the paths of our CEO, John Shegda, and President, Eric Wilhelm, highlighting how their personal and professional challenges shaped their leadership styles and molded KMM into the culture-rich organization we are today. 

Crafting Fundamentals from Challenges

Discover the stories that have shaped the development of our fundamentals, which have guided our growth and defined our company’s very soul.

John Shegda: Finding Meaning Beyond Burnout

John’s journey to the fundamentals began with a personal crisis. In the late 2000s, John faced severe burnout while managing his family business, M&S Centerless Grinding. Despite hard work and business success, he felt a void where a sense of purpose should have been, and this period of introspection led him to seek guidance and support. He joined Vistage, a CEO peer advisory group, where he gained valuable insights from a broad network of business leaders, significantly shaping his understanding of company culture. John also delved into extensive reading and research, absorbing wisdom from leadership experts and corporate culture strategists like Tom Foster and Elliott Jacques. This theoretical knowledge was complemented by practical tools and strategies he acquired from attending various executive workshops and seminars. Additionally, he partnered with a professional coach, marking a turning point in his life and career. His coach guided him through identifying core behaviors that aligned with his values but also had the potential to redefine the company’s culture.

Hear more about John’s burnout journey in his own words in this personal video.

Eric Wilhelm: Bridging Divides to Unify Teams

At the same time, Eric faced his own set of challenges in his family business, KV, Inc. A palpable sense of misalignment plagued the organization, with teams seemingly pulling in different directions. This challenging environment spurred Eric to rethink the organizational culture. Like John, his participation in Vistage exposed him to diverse perspectives on leadership and company culture from experts like David Friedman, profoundly influencing his approach to organizational development. His aim was to realign the teams and create a cohesive environment where everyone shared a vision and values, transforming the organizational dynamics. From there, he spearheaded operational standards and values that would unite his team under a common purpose, fostering a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement.

When John and Eric’s paths converged with the formation of KMM in 2020, they combined their experiences and insights to form KMM’s fundamentals. Their journeys helped establish a strong culture driven by these principles, which are key to our success today.

KMM’s Fundamentals

Each of our fundamentals reflects a specific aspect of the culture John and Eric envisioned for KMM – a culture that values profitability and productivity as much as personal growth, mutual respect, and a shared sense of purpose.

  1. Inspire Passion: Igniting leadership and impact through passionate work.
  2. Strive for Excellence: Pursuing excellence through experience, not seeking perfection.
  3. Seek to Understand: Gaining deeper insights by empathetic listening and questioning.
  4. Talk Straight: Communicating directly and respectfully with a focus on facts.
  5. Have Perseverance (Rise to Challenges): Combining passion and innovation to find solutions.
  6. Act with Integrity: Demonstrating character and trustworthiness in all actions.
  7. Earn Respect: Gaining respect through actions and treating others with consideration.
  8. Support Each Other: Fostering a supportive and responsive work family.
  9. Show Appreciation: Acknowledging efforts and contributions positively.
  10. Be Accountable and Lead by Example: Setting high standards and owning responsibilities.
  11. Act Boldly and With Conviction: Making courageous decisions with confidence.
  12. Embrace Change: Adapting swiftly and innovatively to technological advancements.
  13. Paid to Think: Maximizing output with smart, innovative thinking.
  14. Choose Positive: Opting for a positive approach to challenges for better leadership.
  15. Perform Service for Others: Strengthening bonds through acts of kindness.
  16. Make it Fun: Incorporating humor and enjoyment into professional excellence.
  17. Work Safely: Prioritizing safety in all operations for personal and company well-being.
  18. Focus Intently on the Work at Hand: Maintaining sharp focus for optimal outcomes.
  19. Move with Urgency: Acting swiftly to overcome business challenges effectively.
  20. We Are All in Sales: Understanding every role’s impact on customer relations and sales.


Discover the depth and impact of our fundamentals on our website.

Bringing the Fundamentals to Life

We are deeply committed to living and embodying our fundamentals, which is critical to ensuring our company’s enduring legacy. Every aspect of our operations reflects this commitment, from weekly meetings to performance evaluations.

  • Weekly Focus: We spotlight a different fundamental in company meetings each week. This practice encourages team discussions and reflections, ensuring these principles are continuously at the forefront of our minds.
  • Strategic Decision-Making: Our fundamentals are a compass for strategic decisions, ensuring our actions always align with the company’s core values.
  • Employee Development: Integral to onboarding and ongoing training, these fundamentals help cultivate a workforce deeply connected to the company’s culture.
  • Performance Evaluation: Our approach to performance reviews goes beyond job skills, focusing on how employees embody these core values in their daily work.


While these are just a few examples, our fundamentals manifest in countless ways, subtly infusing our daily interactions and operations and continually shaping the essence of what makes our company unique.

Fundamentally Focused: Cultivating a Meaningful Work Culture

John and Eric’s commitment to defining and embodying KMM’s core fundamentals has elevated our company culture, setting it apart as a prime example of success. Their journey vividly illustrates how overcoming personal and professional challenges can lead to profound, company-wide positive change. In our pursuit today, we are dedicated to pushing the boundaries in our industry by integrating these fundamentals with visionary leadership and proactive initiatives. We’re actively fostering an environment where every team member is encouraged and empowered to embody these principles in their everyday work. By adopting this approach, we ensure that our culture is defined by our actions and deeply rooted in our principles, solidifying our role as a meaningful and inspirational work culture model.

Connect with us for more on the unique culture and fundamentals that drive us and explore how our values shape our success and could inspire yours.