A family-owned food manufacturer with over $1 billion in revenue operates plants across the United States. Business was thriving, but shifts during an unexpected staff departure revealed company-wide gaps in in leaders’ readiness to step into next level roles.
A Grounded Organization
The company partnered with Coraggio to address this need. Its need to invest in succession planning represented an opportunity to make the organization – and its nearly 3,000 employees – prepared in the case of a crisis or turnover of critical roles. It needed a long-term strategy to elevate leaders from the inside. Yet while it sought to inspire and lift up, the company was wary of upsetting its focus on production service and quality, given the ever growing customer base. Moreover, each plant had its own unique workforce and culture, and a standardized strategy needed the flexibility to adapt to local needs.
Preparing for Liftoff
The Coraggio team conducted surveys and interviews and identified core leadership capabilities to build a higher understanding of the organization. We then partnered with both an executive-level steering committee and localized design teams to create and implement a leadership development approach aligned with both their strengths and their needs.
The design process was intentional and iterative. Potential leaders were identified, and we applied adult learning strategies and the 70-20-10 model to build a development approach that included self and peer assessment, individual development plans, peer learning teams, and action learning projects aligned with the organizational strategy and goals. The program was piloted and rolled out gradually at individual locations so that our team could reflect and improve on the program after each one.
In addition to creating a development process and structure, we also inspired a culture of growth. Our research had shown that demanding supply schedules and industry-mandated safety regulations left managers little time for higher-level development, and many talented team members stalled out in mid-level positions. With the new approach, participants were encouraged to go above and beyond and prioritize long-term strategy over short term needs. They learned to recognize the opportunities that leadership development offered for them, their coworkers and the company.
Sky’s the Limit
Our initial program rollouts sparked shifts in leadership skills and culture at plants in the South, Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Program participants are taking passionate ownership of their development and have begun to think in terms of career, not work. In turn, the family-led company is finding new ways to elevate its people that both nourish the communities it operates in and support the manufacturer’s own long-term rise.
Coraggio has lead these first implementations. With each successive rollout, the client will take additional stewardship responsibilities of the succession planning and leadership development program. By project’s end, it will be managing its own growth culture and have the momentum to drive success now and for years to come.
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