Global Manufacturer Thrives Amidst Change by Developing Frontline Leadership Skills

Business Issue

The CEO of a global protection solutions company set forth a comprehensive transformational manufacturing strategy intent on improving quality and lowering costs. This required streamlining the entire supply chain and shifting manufacturing among sites, leading to plant closings and changes in product lines. The organization realized that the plant supervisors and managers were the essential link between strategy and execution since they were the closest to the issues.

Most of the plant supervisors and managers had no formal leadership training. The challenge was creating a comprehensive leadership program that would equip the supervisors and managers with the skills and confidence required to lead their teams, particularly during this turbulent time. The need for global implementation added to the complexity of the challenge.


To address this challenge, the company sought out the help of a consultative, global business partner capable of implementing this large and complex initiative in multiple languages. To ensure the program would be relevant and meaningful, Wilson Learning began with a needs assessment with input from sponsors, executives, and field interviews to identify topics. Relying on Wilson Learning’s powerful programs Building Relationship Versatility, Leading for Performance™, and Leading in Challenging Times™, content for the program was selected. This learning initiative was named the Global Supervisory Development (GSD) program and was a series of six workshops spread over six months, delivered globally. This curriculum sought to better define the characteristics of effective leadership and consisted of the following topics: understanding communication style differences and the need for versatility; purposeful communication; team dynamics and development; managing employee performance; delegating with confidence; coaching and motivating others; and managing change.

To ensure participants use their new skills on the job, Wilson Learning applied our proven approach that went beyond just a “training event,” including:

  • Preparation—pre-work followed by a pre-class meeting with their manager
  • Classroom learning—highly-interactive, instructor-led sessions
  • Application—post-class assignments, debrief meetings with their manager and/or peers, and on-the job assignments often involving their direct reports
  • Sustain—follow-up application exercises that leveraged an automated reinforcement messaging system for both learner and manager, with an online portal providing on-demand learning

Over 600 supervisors and managers from plants in Australia, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the United States participated.


Because of the successful implementation of the Global Supervisory Development (GSD) program, leaders and teams became more effective by:

  • Enhancing their leadership versatility skills
  • Communicating effectively
  • Proactively managing change and helping their direct reports be more resilient to change
  • Sharing an understanding of leadership and using a common language
  • Building a foundation for high performance with high engagement
  • Creating conditions for maximum motivation and involvement
  • Managing performance with clear expectations, coaching, and reviews
To ensure participants use their new skills on the job, Wilson Learning applied our proven approach that went beyond just a ‘training event.’

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