Kate Keene is no stranger to corporate leadership training. As VP of Human Resources for the Fluid Management, Material Handling, Power Tools (FMT) Division at Ingersoll Rand, she’s seen her share of dry Powerpoint slides or cartoonish lessons trying to appeal to the masses. So when Ingersoll decided to dive into No Barriers’ new online corporate leadership program, No Barriers Leadership, she was not expecting all that much, to say the least. “I was the queen of skeptical,” she says. But that was at the beginning.
Now that Kate’s teams have been through a combination of online coursework and in-person trainings with No Barriers, she is seeing a powerful bottom-line impact as well as big cultural shifts. Keene’s senior leadership team attended an in-person base camp prior to her division going through the online course. The team left there with a bond forged from the vulnerability of going through that experience together. She says the SLT was better aligned and supportive of each other after the base camp, and she wondered if that would extend to the online experience for the larger group.
“What is so valuable and relevant is the piece about incorporating the whole self… It’s important to address the whole self because it asks who are you, what do you care about.”
Kate Keene, VP, Human Resources
She is pleasantly surprised that it has. In particular, the chat and sharing functions lend themselves to employees being able to open up at a level where they feel comfortable. “I like hearing personal stories and relating them back to the workplace as well as the personal,” she says. “I’m thrilled with team sharing — the chatter that it has raised in the hallway, and we reference it in different meetings. The online setting still created a community and a sense of support for each which is hard to get at even in person — let alone online.”
While those functions delve into the more personal side of the course, Keene also appreciates the way the live kickoff event and ambassador videos create excitement and energy and then the worksheets make the lessons real by breaking down the information into specific questions that lead participants through the process.
As the FMT course comes to a close, Keene reports seeing success already. “I think what I already see and hope to continue, is not only the relationships and trust but just the ability to form a clear vision and lay it out,” she says. “All the components are so relatable to what we do every day. We can break down big complex business problems into workable challenges immediately. And a big change is the sense of hopefulness. We will succeed, and how we frame is the power of yet — this resonated with this team specifically. This team has gone through challenges, so hopefulness and the power of yet is huge for us.”
The group came together again at the end of the course for the Live Wrap-Up Event, and those outcomes were apparent there too. Participants Yolanda Smith and Mark Koski were standouts in the course, and both felt their professional life was profoundly affected by taking the online course. “The course really just broke down into a recipe of how we apply to be successful,” Koski says. Successful in life, in personal achievement, in business achievement, family life, all of the above. How do we go through life and how do we go through work? Well, here’s the instruction book for it.”
Smith broke it down even further into her four key takeaways: Defining the difference between Vision and goals; facing challenges with the characteristics of a pioneer; learning to appreciate the journey and celebrating the milestones; and creating your own path with your own story. By recognizing and acknowledging a clear and shared Vision, she thinks the course will “keep people motivated by embracing learning opportunities in all situations,” she says.”
Of course all that touchy feely stuff is great, but when it comes down to it, leadership development has to pay off for the business to make it worth the time and money. On that front, No Barriers Leadership has delivered as well. “We have seen business results as an outcome of this, from how we look at challenges to the way we run staff meetings. Now I feel confident that people know our initiatives and how they relate to them,” Keene says. “I would reiterate that this has been transformational.”
“We have seen business results as an outcome of this, from how we look at challenges to the way we run staff meetings. Now I feel confident that people know our initiatives and how they relate to them… this has been transformational.”