How to Build a High-Impact Leadership Development Program

A Case Study in Empowering Middle Management

In the dynamic landscape of organizational leadership, the role of middle managers is increasingly crucial. Recognizing this, Keith Varner, MA, SPHR, manager of leader development at Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores, embarked on a transformative journey to empower emerging leaders through a meticulously designed leadership program. 

How did he do it? Varner identified and nurtured power users and champions across divisions, providing them with early access to tailored training. These pioneers not only served as catalysts for organizational change but also emerged as subject matter experts within their respective divisions, facilitating seamless integration when the program was rolled out to a wider group. 

Let’s dive into the details together. Discover how Love’s Travel Stops was able to cultivate a culture of leadership excellence within the mid-level manager space by: 

  • Transcending conventional boundaries and incorporating training elements such as Skillsoft modules, TED Talks, SWOT analysis, 360-degree reviews, leader conferences, and more 
  • Evolving year after year, guided by regular meetings between Varner and the network of champions and power users he’s built 
  • Discovering the measurable impacts of learning initiatives, including enhanced employee advancement and engagement, and leaning in to enhance its learning and development strategies