By Bruce Hamsher
There’s certainly no shortage of training going on here at ProVia. We have installer training, IT training, and skills training in a variety of disciplines, all very practical in their applications. So when we decided to roll out a different type of training program – aimed exclusively at cultivating leadership skills and character development – we weren’t sure what our employees would think. We announced our first leadership class with 10 available slots, and soon we had 39 applicants! Clearly we have many who are hungry to learn, grow, and develop in a leadership capacity.
The development of qualified leaders can sometimes be an afterthought, but we decided to prioritize this important topic. In 2015 we started “ProVia Leads”, our in-house leadership coaching program. We completed our first class last fall, and you can see the happy faces of our successful participants in the photo below. Our goal for this program is to be proactive and to “get people ready before there’s a role to fill.” Everything is centered around servant leadership, where we lead by serving with humility.
A Learning Laboratory
Our group meets for a 90-minute session on Wednesdays, three weeks per month. It’s not really a classroom setting, it’s more of a “learning laboratory”, very much a mixture of instruction and a hands-on approach. As you can see, that’s a considerable resource commitment on ProVia’s part. But we have the kind of leadership who are investors and they’re givers, and they know this is going to make a difference all the way around.
From Fear to Success
Take for example the topic of public speaking. This is one of the things that people fear the most! So I go through some how-to training and explain how to put together a presentation, and we’ll look at some examples. Then I let them know that in three weeks, each person will be giving an eight-minute talk. I remind them they don’t have to freak out because I’ve given them a systematic formula for approaching this, and they’re ready. To the amazement of all, they survive their eight-minute talks, and indeed excel at them because now they know the proven techniques for success. As a bonus, there’s a bonding that takes place as they conquer their new challenges together.
A Valuable Ticket
At this point I should clarify, the ProVia Leads program is not an automatic ticket to a promotion, and our participants know this ahead of time. This educational journey is for those who really want to know how to become a better leader. We also talk about what that means in their homes, as a spouse, as a parent, their relationships in their social networks, their churches, and obviously at work. So it’s a ticket to something much more valuable than a job promotion…it opens the gates to a more rewarding and successful life.
I had one participant last year who’s amazed because his wife says he’s a different father. And his kids are telling him he’s a different dad. We’re able to provide an environment where he’s taking it home and changing his life. Similarly, many of our ProVia Leads participants have experienced a profound impact on their lives overall.
This kind of program not only strengthens the individual – it can also strengthen any growing organization. I highly recommend it. If you decide this is something you’d like to put in place at your company, I encourage complete buy-in from your top executive team. That will steer the ship for success. If you’re a ProVia dealer and have questions, or simply want to brainstorm the possibilities for your company, feel free to give me a call at 800.669.4711. I’ll be more than happy to help think about ideas for your company.