How this retail group uses sports to coach up a new batch of leaders

The four single-day sessions — one per month for the in-town group, two back-to-back for those from elsewhere — include confidence-building and team-building exercises, and field trips to the training facilities of area teams such as the Las Vegas Knights or University of Nevada-Las Vegas, where the class interacts with team coaches, players or management.

There are assignments as well, which make the participants work closely together, and others where they are forced to react quickly to win. In between sessions, the participants receive individual coaching from Allen or his staff, with participants asked to give a “Hall of Fame” induction speech at the culmination of the program.

“What you begin to understand is that life is a team sport,” says Allen. “Families, the military, business — these are teams. The same traits that make up great teams in sports make up great teams in business and in life.”

For Findlay, the team-building training and coaching has generated results that he and other leaders at Findlay Automotive Group can see.

Not everyone successfully graduates, but Findlay said he’s been using the participants’ performance in class in helping to make personnel decisions, none of which he’s come to regret.

It also allows Findlay employees from different stores to meet each other and learn to work together, instead of just focusing on their own store-level performance.

“All of our recent openings at the general manager or management level have come from graduates of these classes,” said Findlay. “I’ve seen them take the learnings and implement them in their work life and in their personal life. We’ve seen them grow. And right now, our turnover is at an all-time low. We have more stability across our group than we’ve ever had, and I think this is why.”

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