Exclusive Features

Stokes Electric: Refocusing Jobs Through Leadership Development

Stokes Electric: Refocusing Jobs Through Leadership Development

Since launching in January 2020, NAED’s Leadership Development Program (LDP) — a 12-month curriculum uniquely designed to develop leaders in the electrical distribution industry – has successfully prepared nearly 60 distributor and manufacturing individuals for greater levels of responsibility and success.  Offering everything from personal leadership assessments to instruction in best leadership practices, training in communication styles, one-on-one coaching, networking opportunities, and more, the LDP also features another signature element – a several month-long “Capstone Project” enabling participants to tackle a specific issue, process, or program that can benefit their company.

Over the past three years, LDP participants’ Capstone Projects have focused on everything from finance, logistics, organizational, and marketing/sales-related initiatives and LDP graduates have raved about the unique opportunity to help lead and contribute to their company’s success.

In this first of a series of Exclusive Features, recent graduates of the NAED Leadership Development Program tell tED magazine how they benefitted personally from the program, and how their companies benefitted from their capstone projects.

Stokes Electric:  Focusing Employees on KPIs

Company Issue/Need:  The demands of keeping up with day-to-day business disconnected employees from some of the key performance targets they need to strive for

Scope of Capstone Project:  An initiative to meet with and refocus key employee personnel on company KPIs and strategies for achieving them

“With our business and employees always going so fast and furious, it’s easy to take your eye off the ball and forget about our goals and the resources that are out there to help achieve them, so my Capstone Project was about refocusing jobs,” shared LDP graduate Bob Stokes, executive vice president of Knoxville, TN-based Stokes Electric, which has four branches and nearly 70 employees.  “I identified six criteria of importance to our company — including maintaining good stock levels, ensuring appropriate inventory turns, collecting receivables, and leveraging technology — and then met with nearly a dozen of our key decision-makers to discuss how they could better support our key performance indicators (KPIs).”

Since completing his Capstone Project, “we’ve improved several things, including enhancing efficiency by installing GPS technology to help route our trucks,” Stokes said.  “But even more than that, I think that our employees appreciated the opportunity to sit down and talk with one of the company’s owners because it showed that we care about them and are interested in their jobs and performance.”

“I especially loved learning about strategies for communicating with different types of people,” Stokes said of the LDP experience, “and my Capstone Project was a great opportunity to get down to the grassroots level with our employees, who proved that they’re extremely dedicated and want to do a good job.  It was a project that had been started at our company but never finished, so the Capstone enabled me to do something for our company that we wouldn’t have been able to make time for on our own.”

Overall, Stokes concluded, “the LDP was a tremendous learning experience and I met so many people from all over the country.  It was great to be in such a positive environment where you can share ideas openly.”

For More Information

NAED’s next LDP cohort begins in January 2023 and enrollment is now open!  If you’re interested in attending or sending individuals from your company, please contact memberengagement@naed.org.  For more information about a customized program for your company, please contact Catherine Viglione at cviglione@naed.org or Kitty Lasinski at klasinski@naed.org.


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