Leadership school

April 13, 2018 -  By

Cagwin & Dorward’s eight-week class provides leadership training for foremen and field leaders. Photos: Cagwin & Dorward

How Cagwin & Dorward builds future leaders.

At Cagwin & Dorward, a full-service landscape provider specializing in maintenance for primarily commercial clients, there has always been a strong focus on providing leadership training and development for managers. But a little over a year ago, Steve Glennon, president, CEO and COO of the Novato, Calif.-based firm, says the company also began focusing on more training for field leaders. Company leaders realized that foremen and field superintendents were not provided any leadership training—but that they could benefit from it. In fact, Glennon says the company’s future could depend on it.

“The future growth and success of our organization is highly dependent upon field leaders and their ability to continue moving up within our organization,” Glennon says. “We want these individuals to continue to position themselves for advancement. We realized we needed to start exposing them to the leadership training they needed.”

The company implemented an eight-week class that runs once a week for six and a half hours. The elective class is a big commitment on behalf of employees who choose to take it, and it’s also a major undertaking for the company. Employees are paid for their time during the class and excused from the work day, Glennon says.

Cagwin & Dorward’s eight-week class provides leadership training for foremen and field leaders. Photos: Cagwin & Dorward

The classes were developed internally with the assistance of an out side consultant. Topics are primarily focused on business literacy, such as understanding monthly profit and loss statements. They also include comprehending the company’s strategic planning process and even learning time management skills.

Glennon himself plays a role in the classes, which typically contain 12 to 14 students, always kicking off the initial class with a talk and speaking at the last class, as well.

“One of the things I always bring up at the last class is the importance of identifying what each individual must do in order to be able to move up in the company,” Glennon says. “That can be different for each person, but it might be developing better English skills, better technical skills or better horticultural skills.”

Glennon says he encourages participants to take the personal initiative needed to get promoted.

“Just showing up and working hard every day is not going to guarantee advancement,” he says. “I also show them our long-range revenue projections and the management positions that will need to be filled. I ask them if they would like to fill one of those positions.”

The classes also have incorporated talks from “guest speakers”—company team members who have already moved up the ladder.

Many of them are Hispanic and entered the company as entry-level field laborers, Glennon says, noting it’s inspiring for class participants to see how these folks were able to advance their careers.

“I want the people who work for our company to realize they have a career opportunity here,” Glennon says. “It’s not just about showing up and putting in your eight hours. If you’re willing, there is greater opportunity for you here. We have employees that have been with the company for 25 or 30 years. Some even longer. And I want to see more of that. We are really focused on being able to have more internal promotions, and we believe leadership training is one way to achieve that.”

“We always prefer to promote from within the company—we are more successful when we promote from within,” Glennon adds. “And investing in our people helps make it possible.”

Photos: Cagwin & Dorward

This article is tagged with , and posted in April 2018, Featured

About the Author:

Payton is a freelance writer with eight years of experience writing about the landscape industry.

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