the Collaborative


Frontline leaders are critical to the success of every organization. That fact cannot be overstated. Leaders are in a position to influence the majority of the people within the organization. With increasing customer orders and tighter labor markets, development is no longer an option, it’s a necessity.

The Collaborative is designed to support internal development efforts by offering relevant content around Best Practice deployment (process development, training, metrics/visual display boards, coaching, problem solving, and celebration), team development, and personal growth. (check out the current plan).  However, the Collaborative adjusts as needed to address current needs of the members.

Leaders meet monthly then return to work with commitments to experiment with what they’ve learned. At the next session, participants are asked about their progress. The intent is to encourage and celebrate growth, and support leaders in their ownership of the investment and rewards for their team and its purpose.

Here’s a double-win: leaders are developed methodically while the benefits of their growth are realized in the organization.


The Collaborative is focused on frontline leaders: plant managers, production managers, supervisors, and team leaders. Your leaders collaborate with leaders from other companies who also want to improve their leadership and process skills.

The foundation of the Collaborative is the manufacturing industry. Members represent Operations, Quality, Purchasing, and the like. We welcome members from other industries; outside eyes are a great asset in collaboration.

For simplicity, members should be able to speak English. Sessions are planned around North American time zones.


The Collaborative is a group of like-minded individuals who want to improve their leadership. Content is selected within the scope of operations leadership.  The current content list is posted here.

Learning is applied through action items and follow up, sharing with other leaders, and visiting facilities. Leaders are assigned Collaboration Partners to give each other additional encouragement and support between sessions.

Virtual collaboration continues outside the monthly sessions via online forums and resource storage systems. The specific platforms used will be prototyped and integrated as technology evolves.


The monthly cycle of two-hour sessions typically looks like this:

  • Gatherings end with new content[1] and  leaders challenge themselves with action items.
  • Between sessions, leaders connect with their Collaboration Partners for support and experiment with new concepts in their work.
  • Ongoing sessions resume with a review of what worked and celebrate successes. When challenges are encountered, leaders coach each other to consider alternatives and share their best practices.

Depending on the needs of the group, some sessions may focus on one leader’s challenge (a hot seat). Other times, the group may ask a member to share their best practice in a specific area.

In addition to coach-led development, the Collaborative creates an environment for member collaboration beyond the monthly meetings. Leaders are encouraged to visit each other’s facilities, share commonly available tools, and discuss topics in a forum setting.


The Collaborative is offered via video conference technology at leaders’ workstations[2]. The Zoom software can display many video feeds simultaneously in a gallery view. This venue minimizes travel time and costs while expanding the potential reach of members far beyond the local region.


The Collaborative meets monthly for approximately two hours, depending on the number of people attending and the need for breaks. The Collaborative consists of several small groups that meet at various times. Leaders are placed in groups that meet their scheduling constraints. If scheduling becomes an issue, every effort will be made to place the leader in a different group.

Additional activities outside the monthly sessions are scheduled based on the availability of host companies and member guests.

Continuous Improvement

In effort to walk the talk of Best Practices, the Collaborative purposes to practice the basic tenets. This includes setting goals, evaluating progress, and continuously looking for improvements. Sponsors (leaders who purchase the collaborative for their organization) are invited to quarterly sessions to reflect on progress and learn about upcoming topics.


Collaborative membership belongs to an organization. Membership includes up to four specified leaders within the company; additional leaders may participate for an incremental fee. The specified leaders may send delegates to sessions in their absence. However, only the specified leaders will be given access credentials to online resources.

The Collaborative groups are capped at twelve members. Typical participation is ten leaders. When the membership grows too large for effective development, the group is divided into smaller groups. New groups may be based on special-interests, level of responsibility, or scheduling preferences. Member’s input is always considered.

Continuity among members is preferred, however circumstances sometimes require transfer of membership within the organization.


Organizational Membership in the Collaborative is $2,000 per year, due annually. This includes up to four specified members, additional leaders may be specified for $500 per year. Specified leaders receive a 10% discount on coaching and workshops provided by the coach-facilitator.



[1] The monthly content is recorded (outside of sessions to avoid capturing company or leader-confidential conversations) for those who miss sessions.

[2] A quiet space is needed. This may be in a small room with a door. Technology Requirements for PC or MAC: web camera, microphone, and speakers, preferably in a headset. Tablets and smart phones are also capable of connecting via Zoom. Generic headsets like those included with smart phones work well, USB versions can be purchased for ~$20. The coach will work with IT support as required to make sure all participants have easy access. There is also a test session with each participant to ensure they’re comfortable with the technology.