Growth is second nature to us at BDP. Our history has evolved from stories of typewriters to launching voice-activated tracking technology. Leadership is critical to steering the ship in the right direction to navigate changes.
Just like a high-performance vehicle needs high octane gasoline, leaders - and future leaders - need lots of fuel. If you want employees to achieve peak performance, you need to invest in new resources and challenges to grow their leadership skills. An investment in leadership always pays dividends, because leadership is contagious.
Leaders impact their teams, their peers, their managers - they don’t settle for the easy answer; they ask ‘Why’ and take the extra step to solve fundamental issues that benefit the customer and the organization.
As we have grown larger and more global, the need for a global leadership program has grown too. So, in 2017, BDP launched the BDP Aspire Leadership Development Program (LDP). Employees from various levels across the organization were encouraged to apply. The program, which has just concluded this year, had over 250 total participants from the coordinator level up to senior-level executives.
We were fortunate to have such a diverse group of ambitious, driven, and innovative leaders participate in our inaugural program; my team and I were excited to have the opportunity design a program to enrich our leaders’ professional experience to tackle future challenges!
We tailored each level of the program to the employee’s leadership level within the organization. Each level had customized projects designed to challenge each employee to leave their comfort zone and help them develop and sustain their leadership mindset. We provided them with opportunities for practical application of new skills, including, delegation, motivation, and communication. Through tailored exercises, they were able to explore better ways to achieve productivity and efficiency. We also put a strong focus on social responsibility as a critical element of our leadership mindset, which led to dozens of charity events and the formation of a global Women’s Leadership Group (WLG) which is still gaining momentum!
By customizing each level, we were able to help them develop professional skills and career planning in the most impactful way for them, and thus the organization as a whole. It was interesting to see the response of the participants at each level, particularly the EDP group of individual contributors. We found that our developing leaders had a sense of their skills but wanted the freedom to use the right tool for the right outcome. We challenged them to complete an ‘Opportunity for Improvement’ (OFI) project. Personally, I thought this was one of the most impressive outcomes of the program. As I watched their presentations, I could not help but feel inspired – and all the more eager to help foster an environment where future leaders can share their ideas to shape the future of BDP!
The LDP also was a great catalyst to reenergize mentoring at BDP and transform it from a solely informal, local initiative to something more formalized and global. We are a company built on experience and relationships, so mentoring has always been part of our DNA. Participants had the opportunity to expand their network, learn from each other, and discover opportunities outside of their current role. The eagerness of our mentors to share their experiences was truly inspiring, but not surprising; I think that passion is the hallmark of our culture and competitive advantage at BDP.
“Our employees are the most important part of our past, current, and future success," our CHRO, Marcia Lyssy notes in BDP’s Strategic Plan, “Growing Better, Growing Stronger’.
“We are committed to helping our people build successful careers by providing enhanced job skills training, leadership development, and opportunities to contribute to organizational innovation.”
The BDP Aspire LDP program is a key component of our strategic plan, as the LDP participants are tomorrow’s leaders, who will carry the torch to the future as we write a new chapter for the organization.