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Packaging Distributors of America (PDA) is a membership organization that provides a platform for packaging distributors in North America to share resources, best practices, and ideas. As part of its educational initiatives, PDA recently offered a two-day Leadership Training Program for members to enhance their leadership skills, improve their communication abilities, and learn more about themselves.
Crownhill Packaging, a leading provider of custom packaging solutions, has long been a proud member of PDA and a proponent of its educational plans. Rodney Taylor, one of our vice presidents and our member representative on the PDA Supplier Council, attended the inaugural session and is enthusiastic about the program and its results.
The program is aimed at helping organization leaders learn more about themselves and their leadership style, develop a common language for relating and bonding with team members, and to get to know other program attendees and PDA members better. The training provided a personalized approach to leadership development, focusing on each participant’s specific needs and goals, and ultimately furthering their effectiveness as leaders.
Packaging Distributors of America had long discussed providing a development program focused on executive leaders, with the intention of eventually opening the program up to PDA members’ leadership teams.
Jim Dawson, PDA Board Member and Executive VP of Sales and Marketing at Morrisette, highly recommended the development of a PDA leadership program. Finding tremendous value in growing as an executive “first,” and then focusing on his team’s development, Jim offered the following testimonial:
“As leaders, our number one responsibility is to develop our people. To do this we need to develop ourselves first. When we are successful leaders, our companies will prosper, and bottom lines will improve.”
Held at the Atlanta Airport Marriott from March 30th-31st, the program hosted 17 attendees, consisting of PDA leadership, senior executives, and business owners. Both days were led by Lisa Williams, Director of Training at Morrisette, and Ally Johnson, trainer at Morrisette, both skilled facilitators who have used this curriculum themselves and are well-versed in the development tools included in the program.
The program featured several topics and outcomes, including enhancing leadership skills and styles, strengthening listening skills to understand how to diffuse anger and objections, learning patterns within oneself and others, and how to communicate effectively with other types. These are crucial skills for any leader to be successful in their role.
All attendees completed a personality assessment test about two weeks before the program and received their results in-person through a detailed and insightful 30-page personalized report. It details the type of leader each person is and what their usual habits and tactics are. Taylor found his results were an enlightening mix of both expected and unexpected traits, reinforcing and illuminating quite a lot about himself.
One of Taylor’s favorite activities during the program was interacting with the Leadership Challenge Values Cards. Based on the Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner book, The Leadership Challenge, participants work through a stack of cards listing values that may be important to them. That list can include trust, innovation, diversity, hope, and many more.
Once Taylor identified the values most important to him, he was challenged to go through multiple rounds of reducing the number of values in his stack. Eventually, he was left with three values that are meant to summarize who he is, what he values, and how he handles himself as a leader and professional.
“I found the training program to be informative, eye-opening, and thoroughly enjoyable,” says Taylor. “I feel even better equipped to guide the Crownhill leadership team, and I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned as we move into the future.”
A key feature of the training was having attendees work together in small groups. It made interactions feel safer and more intimate, and everyone found it easier to be outgoing and relate to one another.
At the conclusion of the program, attendees were encouraged to seek out the book, Developing the Leader Within You 2.0, by John C. Maxwell.
Attendees of past PDA educational programs have praised the topic choices and knowledge shared with fellow members. Having such a wide array of businesses and professionals within the PDA ensures everyone benefits from effective and insightful training and education.
Leadership training programs are valuable for organizations of all sizes and types—and the packaging industry is no exception. As the world becomes more interconnected, leaders need to possess the necessary skills to navigate complex challenges and opportunities, including:
Effective communication: A critical skill that enables leaders to convey ideas and information clearly and persuasively. Leaders who communicate effectively can motivate teams, build trust, and foster collaboration. They can also resolve conflicts and difficult situations with ease.
Problem-solving: An essential skill that ensures leaders can analyze situations, think critically, and use creative reasoning. Leaders who can identify problems, analyze data, and develop solutions can make informed decisions that benefit their organization and its team members.
Decision-making: A key skills that requires leaders to weigh options, assess risks, and evaluate consequences. Leaders who can make informed decisions based on sound judgment and evidence-based analysis can steer their organization towards success.
Strategic thinking: A valuable skill that ensures leaders can think long-term and develop a vision for their organization. Leaders who can align business goals with their vision can create a roadmap for success and properly guide their teams towards achieving their objectives.
The inaugural PDA Leadership Training Program proved itself to be an excellent addition to the PDA’s educational offerings. It’s clear that attendees enhanced their leadership skills, improved their communication abilities, and learned even more about themselves.
Vice President Rodney Taylor’s participation in the program highlights Crownhill Packaging and our commitment to investing in its leadership and its dedication to delivering high-quality services to its customers. We’re grateful for Taylor’s leadership and we look forward to learning from him.