Leaders engaging leaders

by: Michelle Schafer

“Leadership is not a solo sport”, says Patricia van der Laan, Practice Director with Pivotree, specialists in e-commerce and master data management. And looking at the way Pivotree approaches leadership development, it would appear the company agrees with her.

In 2018, Pivotree acquired Thinkwrap, prompting a need to develop leaders at various levels of the organization.  As a growing company, Pivotree knows it is important for leaders to support each other, and be both consistent and authentic when interacting with team members and peers.  Cue Stratford Managers’ Leadership for Success program

Leadership for Success is an 8-month comprehensive leadership development program which provides participants with foundational learning opportunities to help them become stronger leaders and achieve business results.  The program combines highly interactive and experiential workshops with group coaching circles designed to explore solutions and share successes. These elements are complemented by curated micro-learning topics that encourage continued learning and participation.

Pivotree nominated three employees to participate in the program cohort that kicked off in April – all are on a different trajectory in their careers and have varied backgrounds and experience.  After the program kicked off, these participants met and decided how they would support each other during the program as well how they could share their learning and accelerate the development of the broader Pivotree team. Their decision was to meet as a small team after each workshop and coaching circle, incorporate the relevant input and best practices learned into their day-to-day leadership, allowing them to flag learning opportunities for their peers in “real time”.

One way the group provides a unified approach to leadership development is their decision to adopt learnings as a group.  Following a workshop about Succeeding in a Multi-Generational Workplace: “We talked about the concept of “reverse mentoring” and encouraged each other to meet more regularly with people both on our individual teams and on other teams to build relationships throughout our division and the company”, says Patricia.  This approach helped to increase accessibility to leaders and provided participants with the opportunity to obtain feedback and ideas.

Joanne Desforges, COO – Professional Services, believes wholeheartedly in engaging her leaders and supporting their development.  At the program’s start, she reviewed development goals with each participant, and discusses progress and actions during frequent 1:1 touchpoint conversations.  Patricia regularly shares articles from Stratford’s micro-learning platform that connect to areas she wants to focus on.  Both Patricia and Joanne then discuss their takeaways from the micro-learning and how Patricia can leverage additional learnings from the program’s workshops to be able to incorporate specific actions into her work.

Patricia has learned strategies in the workshops and the group coaching circles that have allowed her to build stronger relationships with remote teams – the inclusion of an office in Valencia, Spain in her regular circle of colleagues has led to increased distance collaboration and communication.  “This type of support has been invaluable in my own leadership development”, she says.

Pivotree has the winning recipe for leadership development:  participants engage with each other, supported by their executive leader through every step in the program.

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