Rawlings Sporting Goods & Workforce Solutions Group Actively Developing Emerging Leaders

By on June 28, 2013
Rawlings Developing Emerging Leaders

“It’s amazing what can be accomplished when employees are empowered to work seamlessly together across functional lines. We’re seeing that first hand with our new Emerging Leaders Program,” stated Robert M. Parish, President and CEO, Jarden Team Sports.

“In my estimation, the Emerging Leaders Program has been a smashing success for our company,” stated Brian Dale Josephson, CFO, Jarden Team Sports and program mentor. “The program has been a great help to our organization on multiple fronts:

  1. It has provided an important growth platform for future leaders in our organization.
  2. It has allowed them better visibility to corporate executives:
    a. Emerging leaders have a chance to interact and learn from the Executive staff.
    b. Executive staff has benefited from emerging leaders’ passion and desire to implement improvements.
  3. The company has benefited from the emerging leaders implementation of key initiatives to drive improved company results.”

Rawlings, seeing the value of intersecting activity and action, worked with St. Louis Community College’s Workforce Solutions Group and funding assistance from the Missouri Customized Training Grant program, to develop highly interactive training for certain emerging leaders over a two-year period. An inaugural group of thirteen completed the program’s three components that are designed to intersect, augment and support each other. Training began with Leadership Development. Then, to maximize the emerging leaders’ high potential for taking on current and future business challenges, as Mentees they were matched with trained executive Mentors. Finally, going beyond traditional classroom training, the emerging leaders tackled a current challenge in the capstone Action Research/Action Learning Project and presented their recommendations.

Rawlings Emerging Leaders

What the Mentors and Mentees are saying about their experience in the Emerging Leaders Program

“The Emerging Leaders training has helped me in several ways. The initial classroom training helped me improve on my organizational, communication and management skills. It was really helpful to go through this training with a whole group from Rawlings and to hear the perspectives and experiences of colleagues from different departments. The most beneficial activity has been the Action Learning project we have been working on. Working with the group on a project that is outside of my normal job function has exposed me to aspects of our company that I haven’t been involved with in my seven years with Rawlings. Through working on this project I have developed relationships with colleagues who I had not worked with previously and I have developed a better understanding of how my job role affects the company as a whole.” Becky O’Hara – Emerging Leader and Mentee, Sr. Engineering Manager, Jarden Team Sports.

“The training and education provided via the Workforce Solutions program proved to be extremely beneficial to our group of aspiring leaders. Not only did we gain a solid understanding of the various areas of our business and workplace in general, we were able to put our knowledge into practice thereby creating a truly unique learning experience.” Lindsey Naber – Emerging Leader and Mentee, Senior Marketing Manager, Key Accounts.

“The program has been mutually beneficial from my perspective. The Emerging leaders have gained exposure cross functionally across JTS (Jarden Team Sports) which will help them in their normal daily duties trying to find solutions that improve the company because of their broader exposure. As a mentor I have found my discussions with my Emerging leader to be insightful as I get a feel for his perceptions for my organization while I can also help through our discussions better explain why we do what we do and also help him find solutions in support of his ongoing duties. This can only strengthen our business going forward.” Dennis D. Sollberger – Mentor , SVP Operations & Supply Chain , Jarden Team Sports.

“Brian Scheele is who I got the pleasure of working with in the mentor program. Working with Brian to help set personal professional growth goals and working toward these goals in our bi-monthly mentor meetings has been as much of a learning experience for me as I hope it has been for him. I look forward to our meetings and any assistance I can be in the mentorship process and watching the progression of an emerging leader in our company.” Tim Lord, Mentor, VP of Bats, BHP, BG&AT, Rawlings.

“Working with Tim Lord has given me valuable feedback on current projects as well as helps me to realize my long term goals. Our meeting structure provides a low-pressure, safe environment for us to openly communicate. Working with Tim has been a pleasure and gives me the opportunity to gain a tenured perspective that I would not have otherwise had. This perspective increases my awareness and is useful is navigating my career. I truly feel that this relationship will not end when our initial goals are completed, but will last well into the future. It is my hope I can help him achieve his goals as he is helping to achieve mine.” Bryan Scheele – Emerging Leader and Mentee, Category Manager – Fall Apparel, Rawlings Sporting Goods.

Action-Oriented Training and Development through Corporate Services

Are you training your future leaders systematically? Have you thought about providing action-oriented training and development for your talented future leaders? Rawlings Sporting Goods Company Inc., a division of Jarden Corporation, did just that. They identified the need and, as an industry leader in action-oriented sporting goods products, saw the value of bringing activity and action together in developing their own training program focused on certain emerging leaders in their organization.

Through training developed and led by Dr. Renee A. Huss of the Workforce Solutions Group beginning in the fall of 2011, thirteen talented individuals were trained in Leadership Development, followed this year with Mentoring by corporate executives and an Action Research/Action Learning Capstone Project. Mentors and Mentees were matched, and action research and action learning were identified as two methods of developing their high potential individuals for taking on current and future business challenges. Both action learning and action research go beyond traditional classroom training and are seen as the next logical step in leadership development.

Companies who use action research and action learning to develop emerging leaders have their executive teams create a list of current and upcoming challenges their businesses will be facing, and charge their developing leaders to do research on those problems (action research) and to make recommendations on how to solve them. In many cases, companies take the additional step of having their new leaders follow through by working on one of their recommendations with the approval of their executive teams (action learning). Being allowed to apply what they learn in the action learning model is very motivating and challenging for new leaders, and helps them bond and work together as a cross-functional leadership team.

Total Time Commitment for Emerging Leaders Training

Over a period of six months, each participant was asked to devote a total of 40 hours to their personal development as leaders through participation in the two Emerging Leader programs: Making the Most of Your Mentoring Relationship (20 hours, including class time, group meetings and individual mentoring sessions); and Emerging Leader Development Through the Action Research/Action Learning Project (20 hours, including group meetings and individual and small group work), for a combined average of 6.5 hours per month).

Total Time Commitment for Mentee-Mentor Relationship Building

Over a period of six months, each Mentee-Mentor was asked to devote a total of 12 hours to class time and/or individual sessions with the instructor, plus a total of 12 hours spent in mentoring sessions per month (two mentoring sessions per month for six months), with a total time commitment of 24 hours in six months, averaging four hours per month.

Results of the Emerging Leaders Training Program

Following the presentation of their Action Learning Project recommendations to the Rawlings Executive Team, the Emerging Leaders class was asked how they had been able to “do all of this” with the confidence and apparent ease they were demonstrating. In their responses to this question, several member of the group and their trainer/consultant, Renee Huss, explained that all the elements of the program, including the classroom-based leadership training, the action research/action learning phase of the program, and the mentoring program had produced synergistic results culminating in the presentation of their recommendations on the business problem they had been assigned. Emerging Leaders mentioned that prior to this leadership development program, most of them had had very little knowledge of, or experience with, areas outside their specific departments, and little to no prior contact with many of the individuals they had worked with over the past 18 months.

The forging of these new cross-functional relationships and sense of connectedness within the company have created for them a new foundation on which to build going forward. David Rock, author of Your Brain at Work, might say of this group that participation in the leadership development program has created what he calls “moving toward states” in five primary reward/threat areas, including Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness – what he refers to as the SCARF Model. By increasing the Emerging Leaders’ status in their organization, creating more certainty for their future, giving them a greater sense of autonomy, improving their feelings of relatedness, and confirming the fairness of their treatment in the organization,

As the CFO said “The Emerging Leaders Program was a smashing success for our company! Rawlings has greatly increased the engagement of this team of Emerging Leaders and the likelihood they will stick around to help with whatever comes next.”

To discuss replicating this smashing success at your company, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email at kchambers@stlcc.edu or by phone at 314-539-5309. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

About Kathie Chambers

Kathie is a Workforce Solutions Group Senior Project Manager who works across industries with business leaders and training professionals to maximize training effectiveness. Her experience includes training and development in the corporate, manufacturing, public/non-profit sectors, and business management in privately held companies.

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