Utility Trailers, a national, family-owned has been manufacturing trailers for over 100 years. They are the largest producer of refrigerated trailers in North America, and among the top three trailer manufacturers in the United States. As a leading manufacturer of transportation vehicles, their product line includes dry vans, flatbeds, reefers, curtain sides, and customizable commercial trailers.
In October 2013, LGL Leadership was tasked with facilitating a conversation aimed at identifying leadership competencies and behaviors unique to the client and that defined leadership success at various levels of seniority.
With a special focus on the company’s plant-based manufacturing teams, LGL facilitated a three-hour conversation which resulted in “the wedding cake”, a list of 35 competencies arranged by level, from new hire to plant manager, and that, in sum, represented the “leadership brand” at this company. The model, although developed over a very short time, survives to this day, and has undergone only minor edits since creation.
Leaders use the competency model as a framework to discuss:
- The type employee the company wishes to hire
- What it takes to demonstrate leadership capacity as a young, hourly worker
- Expectations, performance and accountability for manufacturing leaders at all levels.
The model has subsequently been used as the foundation for discussions at each manufacturing plant, facilitated by LGL Leadership, and involving participation by plant leaders (e.g., supervisors, general foreman, managers, superintendents, plant managers, etc.), to identify candidates for ongoing emerging leader programs. These candidates, once identified, participated in four-to-six month, tailored development programs which focused on foundational leadership skills individuals would require (in the organizational context) in order to lead effectively. Nearly 100 emerging leaders have completed these programs across four separate locations. Many have since moved into formal leadership roles.
LGL’s engagement with Utility Trailer continues to this day. The collaboration has generated nearly 25 separate leadership and organizational development projects, leading to a number of individual and team success stories. Further, this approach has been successfully applied in several other contexts by LGL Leadership since this initial deployment with Utility.
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