When working with Darden I was running Blanchard Solutions Group as far as all trainers, consultants and salespeople. I was responsible for the total company P&L and was paid on profit at that point in my career at Blanchard.
While I was a Category 4 from the business operations and Chief Administration Officer of the company, I was still being mentored and trained in different disciplines of organizational development.
At Darden, we did deep 360 assessments from the C-Suite all the way down to store managers, partnering with Novations on this project.
Darden was a large client for Blanchard in that we had a long-term leadership development contract. We went deep with each of the Darden brands on leadership development starting at the executive level with creating a vision and long-term direction. We then cascaded to the regional leadership level before training all front-line associates. We conducted deep 360 assessment for each leaders’ strengths and opportunities including their primary and secondary leadership style traits. The primary purpose was to determine if the leader was flexible in their leadership style as most leaders only have one style and are not flexible with their approach.
Importantly, we taught diagnostic skills so that leaders knew how to diagnose and provide the right leadership for the right situation. We create customized Leader Behavior Analysis instruments for the Olive Garden, Red Lobster and trained every leader down to assistant store managers with the same assessment and Situational Leadership customized approach.
After the initial cascade and development process, we then focused on training a small army of corporate trainers and performance coaches who could then carry on the leadership development and assessment process autonomously.
The Darden project utilized our layered learning process of reducing it down to what was most important.
Based on the significant success and the buzz that was created on the leadership turnaround at Darden, word spread at the National Restaurant Association meetings where we then acquired so many customers in the restaurant and hospitality segment, we couldn’t staff the projects.
From this project, we obtained customers including Ritz-Carlton, Lone Star Steakhouse, Chili’s, TGI Friday’s, Rock Bottom, Angus Barn, and many others.