Magazine article Talent Development

Building Coaches: The BLAST Program Helped Create Strong Leadership in a Time of Company Growth

Magazine article Talent Development

Building Coaches: The BLAST Program Helped Create Strong Leadership in a Time of Company Growth

Article excerpt

The following story was told by Deron Poisson, LMS administrator at Johnsonville Sausage.

CLIENT

Johnsonville Sausage

OPPORTUNITY

Fifteen years ago, Johnsonville Sausage was expanding from a regional brand to a national one. The company wanted to make sure it could retain its company values while increasing the number of leaders who could help scale operations, considering it had determined that its leadership bench wouldn't meet its upcoming needs.

DIAGNOSIS

The company decided to create BLAST--the "Building Leaders And Superlative Teams" leader development program. It came after the company surveyed its leaders to determine their skills gaps. Six problem areas were found, including monitoring work habits of team members and correcting unsafe work practices, mediating differences of options, and interacting with hostile team members calmly.

METHODS

Coaches nominated candidates for the program. Selected candidates were either ambitious first-line supervisors, high-potential future coaches, or influencers who lead without authority. A blended curriculum was created from off-the-shelf content, creating a nine-month program in which participants attended one session a month.

The curriculum was designed to build competencies in eight areas, combining instructor-led content with hands-on learning. During a three-month period, students work in teams of 10 on a learning project that solves real-world challenges.

About 25 employees per year participate in the BLAST program, which represents 10 percent of all leaders and 25 percent of first-line supervisors. …

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