Nov 19, 2013
Milk Products, one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of high-quality animal milk replacers and supplemental products, has used Fox Valley Technical College’s resources for quite some time.
"We often visited their facilities for meetings coordinated with the Wisconsin Manufacturers Extension Partnership,” says company president David Kuehnel. “When the college invited us to a seminar on strategic planning and executive coaching featuring work done for the Green Bay Packers, we were intrigued."
Through this workshop, Kuehnel realized the problems his company faced were not so different from those of the ‘Green and Gold.’ “We both run businesses, need new customers, and have budget limitations,” he says. “The training made us realize that we needed to identify what we do well, what we can do better, and what makes us different from anyone else.”
FVTC recently worked with the Chilton-based company through a state-funded Workforce Advancement Training (WAT) grant to develop a customized training program, which included a 360-degree evaluation. “The initial evaluation gave us an in-depth look at how we see ourselves and how others see us,” Kuehnel says. “It also gave us insight into how we operate as a team. Our industry is going through change and we need to be ready for it.”
Strategic planning requires a great deal of patience. Kuehnel expects the process to take 3-5 years; however, the FVTC-designed program has already delivered results. “We’re much more effective in the way we prepare for meetings and manage outcomes,” says Sharon Hoerth, Milk Products vice-president and controller. “We’re also better at making sure that we all are using the same language and common terms to describe processes and behaviors.”
Hoerth believes that the process has built a higher level of trust. “Our employees now have developed leadership courage,” she says. “People are more honest and open. We’re more aware of how we are relating to one another, and this awareness is an important step.”
Learn more: www.fvtc.edu/bis
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