If you’ve read some of our earlier blogs, you know we love talking about the myriad ways that leadership development can transform a team or company. Leaders are instrumental in establishing a positive culture where employees feel motivated and empowered. Since there’s a 70% variance between a strong company culture and a lousy one, when your top people are confident, competent, compassionate, every aspect of the organization benefits.
Here’s an example. Prairie State Tractor (PST) is a John Deere dealer in Illinois. Despite grim employment trends across the country, in 2021 PST has been able to attract talent, hiring over 40 workers this year. The company turnover rate is less than 10%, so it’s clear that new employees aren’t just backfilling vacancies, they’re driving real business growth. More proof that Prairie State Tractor’s investment in leadership and culture is paying off? When a recent hire observed that things were “very different” at PST than anywhere else he’d worked, he added, “I’ve never felt so valued.” Cue the applause!
Paul Kelly, HR manager at PST, says the key to securing this competitive advantage was deciding to focus on building intentional culture and developing leaders. Also key: partnering with People Spark Consulting to develop leaders through the Ignite to Transform for Team Leaders program, which teaches skills like giving meaningful feedback, recognizing employees, and making the most of the onboarding process.
Watch this short video to get a sense of the practical tools we teach during our interactive program.
We asked Paul to reflect on how being intentional about leadership development and culture has helped the company achieve such impressive results. Take it away, Paul!
PSC: Paul, what inspired you and your leaders to commit to the Ignite to Transform for Team Leaders?
Paul Kelly: With the guidance of People Spark, we were very intentional about who we are as an organization and what values we would use to hold one another accountable. We wanted to make sure we were following through with our promises from each department head. So, to further the Prairie State Tractor mindset deeper and sharpen our leadership tools, we decided to have everyone on the leadership team who is managing a team go through this program.
PSC: What was the Ignite to Transform experience like?
PK: Kristen and Erin really care about each individual’s development and helping people grow to be better leaders. They know how to give and receive feedback in a manner that supports growth and deflects conflict. Ignite to Transform was the most impactful program we’ve ever initiated and is in large part why the merger process has gone so well.
PSC: What specific skills and tools did your leaders learn as part of the program? What has been the impact?
PK: Our leaders have learned how to be more empowering, and also more assertive with how they give and receive feedback. They’ve learned how to have tough conversations and why they’re important to have. The biggest improvement is that they’re soliciting feedback, giving intentional feedback, and creating incentives and initiatives based on behaviors driven by our values and goals for the individual, department, and company. These skills have positively impacted the teams.
PSC: What is the impact on the business?
PK: Most managers in our industry have been given the title manager but have never been qualified to manage another individual. This is why this program is so great. It teaches the baseline skills and tools all leaders need. We now have a better informed and united front of leaders. We’re excited to continue partnering with People Spark Consulting by bringing our next level of managers through the Ignite to Transform program.
Get your business on track for success in 2022 by signing up for the next Ignite to Transform cohort. The 8-week program, which kicks off January 20th, teaches leaders to give effective feedback, manage and encourage strong performance, and engage and retain high-performing employees. Watch this video and book a free informational call to find out more.