Leadership development

David Westgate

Chairman, CEO & president

Jason Inc.

Milwaukee

Jason Inc., a Milwaukee-based parent company of leaders in the finishing, seating, components and automotive acoustics markets, experienced 30-percent revenue growth last year. The company is poised to continue this trend in 2011, due to organic growth, as well as acquisitions. Jason chairman, CEO and president David Westgate says leadership development plays a fundamental role in ensuring the company effectively manages each stage of its expansion. This week, he shares how insiders who have an outsider’s perspective are setting the stage for success.

“Upon developing our strategic growth plan for Jason, it became apparent that an increasing number of leadership positions would become available. We evaluated the succession program in place and determined that a broader vision was necessary to meet our changing needs. Our goal was to cultivate leaders from inside our organization – given their familiarity with the Jason structure and culture, our corporate values and best practices – while ensuring they have an outside perspective to bolster Jason’s competitiveness. Thus, a plan was developed to better manage and groom high-potential employees.

“The program we implemented includes rigorous talent review meetings that bring together leaders of all Jason companies, as well as executive leadership, to discuss exceptional employees and their appropriate growth track. These potential leaders are given high-visibility opportunities, such as a placement in one of our corporate councils, which work across all Jason businesses and are dedicated to identifying and implementing best practices and standards/procedures in various focus areas. In this role, employees can demonstrate leadership outside of their day-to-day roles. They’re also given the opportunity to learn other Jason businesses, while evaluating trends in the market at-large.

“With the implementation of a more robust program for employee development, we’re making sure the right people are prepared to take on greater responsibility and help Jason reach its business goals. And employees appreciate that leadership is monitoring opportunities for them throughout our organization. It’s a win-win proposition that, despite its early state, is already showing great promise.”

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