Curtiss-Wright Flow Control: Developing Leaders at All Levels

“Our leadership development program was intended to be more than a program to train our leaders — but a strategic initiative to change the culture. We have stayed with IA because they have exceeded my expectations on what they originally promised to deliver, and as our needs have grown they continue to be able to deliver.”  ~Donna Tanenbaum, former VP, Human Resources, CWFC

Situation

Curtiss-Wright Flow Control’s (CWFC) senior leadership team established several strategic objectives as part of the company’s plan to create a sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace. One of these objectives was to hire and retain the best talent in the industry: to be accomplished, in part, by developing the managers and leaders of the entire organization. Key goals were to create a shared cultural understanding and alignment, and to give the leaders tools and skills to execute in congruence with CWFC cultural values.

How Interaction Associates Helped

Interaction Associates created a spiral Leadership Curriculum that revisited core concepts and models at each level of leadership and expanded on these concepts, as appropriate, given the particular challenges of each level of leaders. The initiative began with development programs for first-level supervisors and managers, then mid-level managers and leaders. These successful efforts were followed by highly customized learning experiences for the next two levels of leadership, the Strategic Leaders and General Managers of each of the 26 business units. The Strategic Leaders (direct reports of General Managers), and the General Managers (GMs) completed customized applied and action learning programs to support the key objectives of the business.

Participants examined their businesses based on a variation of a “balanced scorecard,” which typically views the business from financial, customer, operations, and organizational perspectives.

Senior functional and line executives participated in teaching, and were coached to use relevant collaboration skills in the context of each presentation. Strategic context was explored through both a PESTE analysis (political, economic, social, technological, and environmental), and a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats relative to competition).

Return on Involvement

Participants reported better implementation, strategic decision making, collaboration techniques, and application of skills to effect change management. Many participants appreciated the ability to use a common language when coaching and leading. Many also pointed to experiencing an increased capability in coaching and managing employees. One GM reported: “I believe the Curtiss-Wright Flow Control leadership development program has made a noticeable difference in my thought process on how to handle the tougher decisions in the business, and how I’ve been more methodical in the interaction and coaching of my staff and employees. The program has also raised my awareness in how I’ve executed the business plan successfully in these extremely tough economic times.”

Another program participant volunteered: “The major impact has been in the access to additional easy-to-implement tools and techniques to help me in the continual struggle with leading/coaching vs. managing/doing. I have seen an improvement in my leadership ‘efficiency’.” Another GM said: “Also the change management models have been useful in planning for changes.” Finally, one participant noted: “Facilitative Leadership® and Adaptive Strategic Leadership have prepared me to effectively collaborate with my team on a daily basis improving my ability to coach, build teams, conduct efficient meetings, and build agreement.” In addition to a variety of positive reports of the impact the leadership development programs had on the participants, several cross-business unit opportunities were identified and implemented as a result of leaders across the organization attending the programs together.

IA Services Provided

  • Leadership Development.
  • Spiral Curriculum Learning Process.
  • Action Learning.
  • Collaboration Skills.

Project at a Glance

An innovative engineering company that provides highly engineered, critical-function products, systems and services in the areas of flow control, motion control and metal treatment to the defense, energy and commercial/industrial markets

8,600 employees worldwide

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