CV #17 Pegasus Logistics: How to Become a Culture of Learning
COMPANY AT A GLANCE
Founding Story: After working in the logistics industry for many years, Ken Beams founded Pegasus Logistics Group in 1994, with the belief that he could build a better business by treating employees and customers well.
Employees: 220 | Revenue: $120 million
Values: Fanatical & Passionate about Customer Satisfaction, Everybody Wins, Looking at Tomorrow Today, The Difference is Fun, It’s Not for Everyone, It’s Only For the Best
Community: Pegasus has a committee within their internal Culture Navigators Team that focuses solely on community service. Each of their locations chooses their own local charity to support. For example, Dallas is currently supporting a local organization called Grace, which serves women and children in transition. The company as a whole also supports one large organization: Sentinels of Freedom, which helps veterans wounded post 9/11. Pegasus community service ranges from volunteering to raising money, to participating in events and raising awareness.
LET THE TOUR BEGIN
Despite it being the busiest time of the quarter at Pegasus Logistics Group, Candice Gouge, VP of Talent & Engagement, and Lance Shipp, CFO, were kind enough to make the time to chat with me. This was my second time visiting Pegasus and we dove deep into how they became a culture of learning and development.
Pegasus wasn’t always a culture of learning and development. In fact, they didn’t begin to focus on learning and development until 3 years ago, as a result of a company reorganization and the desire to invest more into its employees. Recognizing the long-term importance of talent pipeline and internal promotion (both on employee engagement and bottom line success) they began their journey of becoming a culture of learning and development. As Candice stated, “A culture of learning starts with the leaders of the organization believing that learning is important and supporting it.”
Today, they have multiple robust programs including: Individual Development Plans (IDPs), 1-2-1 Check-Ins, Foundational Leadership Courses for everyone in the organization, a 10-month Next Level Leadership Course for supervisors with direct reports, a 42-Week Peer Development Plan, which is a rotation program for recent graduates, monthly lunch and learns, and an LMS system which keeps track of all the content. Throughout the day, I learned about these programs, observed a 1-2-1 between Candice and Lance (a huge part of their culture), and crossed an item off my bucket list--driving a pickup truck in Texas (but that’s another story). I could write a book about all of their material, but I’ll keep it to the most digestible and easy to implement. Here’s what I learned:
1. INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS
Individual Development Plans (IDPs) are part of the foundation of Pegasus culture of learning and development. Every team member fills out an IDP once a year in January and meets with their direct manager to check in about their progress on a weekly – bi-weekly basis. IDPs have had a tremendous success in team member retention and development In fact, IDPs, coupled with 1-2-1s (more on this later) have helped Pegasus to become among Lynda.com’s top enterprises for engagement and usage.
Essentially, an IDP helps individuals to set goals and create a track for success. An IDP is a career roadmap, a way to assess where a team member is right now, determine where they want to go, and how they can get there. It’s also a living document that is updated to reflect any changes in an individual’s work and life goals.
Here’s what it looks like:
Step 1: Assess “Where am I now?”
The first part of the IDP process is for the team member to understand their current skills, interests, values, and strengths. Questions include:
· What is my current role/ team?
· How satisfied am in my current role?
· What do I value?
· What makes me happy?
Step 2: Assess “Where have I been?”
This is meant as a reflection for the team member and the supervisor. It helps set the context for realistic goal setting and reminds team members of the progress they’ve made over time.
Step 3: Assess “Where do I want to be?”
To assess where team members want to be, the IDP inquires about both short term (1-2 years) and long term (3-5 year) goals. Questions include:
· Do I want to move up or to a new department?
· Enrich my present job?
· Develop new skills?
Step 4: Assess: “How will I get there?”
After deciding where the team member wants to be, the next step is to identify developmental areas. Team members should ask themselves and their managers, questions such as:
· What specific skills, knowledge, and competencies do I possess?
· What areas do I need to strengthen now to meet where I am?
· What areas do I need to strengthen for future assignments?
From there, managers help team members to break down their short term and long term goals by filling out the specific steps needed to achieve them.
After team members complete the “About Me” and “My Goals” sections, managers ask team members to self-evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. The manager then evaluates the team member’s strengths and weaknesses and then similar to Mojo Media Labs, come together to compare answers. Together, they decide on opportunities for growth.
2. CREATING ACCOUNTABILITY THROUGH 1-2-1s
During my visit, I had the opportunity to observe a 1-2-1 between Lance Shipp (CFO) and Candice Gouge (VP of Engagement and Talent). A 1-2-1 is a bi-weekly or weekly 30-60-minute check-in between a manager and a team member, where they review the team member’s action plan, provide feedback, and hold each other accountable to work objectives and IDPs. According to Lance and Candice, in addition to significantly increasing organizational accountability, 1-2-1s play a critical role in keeping the leaders connected with their team. Here’s a short breakdown on how the 1-2-1 works:
Part 1: Action Plan
The first part of the 1-2-1 is to review the team member’s action plan, which includes: key activities (main projects they are working on), priorities this week (top priorities based on key activities), and project list/task list (total list of tasks for projects). From there, the manager and team member set next week’s action plan together.
Part 2: Feedback
The next section is for managers/direct reports to provide feedback to one another. They answer, discuss, and reflect on the following questions: Team Member: What’s working on your team/ what’s not? Team Member: What successes and/or challenges have you had? Manager: How can I help you? Manager/Team Member: What am I doing well? Manager/Team Member: What do I need to improve?
Part 3: Accountability
The accountability section has two parts.
The first part is a strategic initiative check-in, which includes an update on the team member’s progress towards their annual strategic initiatives (set in January) as well as a 30-day focus, i.e. a project or task that can be completed within 30 days that works towards accomplishing the strategic initiatives.
The second part is an update on the team member’s IDP, learning goals, method they’re using to complete the learning goals (lynda.com, conference, in-person course etc.) and the due date.
In addition to bi-weekly/weekly 1-2-1s, managers also have quarterly reviews with team members. Managers simply revisit all the 1-2-1s over the quarter to evaluate and discuss the progress that’s been made.
Overall, 1-2-1s have significantly increased employee engagement, continuous/real-time feedback, accountability, and quarterly review cadence.
3. HOW LYNDA.COM INCREASED EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT & LEARNING
Three years ago, Pegasus asked their team members what they most wanted to learn about and found that Microsoft Excel was top of the list. They realized it didn’t make financial sense to continuously bring in trainers to teach Excel, so they explored the option of Lynda.com, an online learning-management platform hosted by LinkedIN Learning. Team members simply log in with their username and password and have access to thousands of online courses, which range from music production and language courses to business courses and Excel. In the last year of using Lynda.com, Pegasus team members have totaled over 981 hours, 15,000 videos, and 456 certifications (average of 2 certifications per person). Their usage is so high that LinkedIN asked them for their best practices, which includes (as you now know) using their IDPs as a driver for Lynda.com usage. Fun fact, Pegasus’s top three most viewed courses are Communication Fundamentals, Leadership Fundamentals, and unsurprisingly, Excel.
4. A LEARNING PHILOSOPHY FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT CURRICULUMS:
Pegasus has three very robust leadership development programs: 1) A 12-Week Training and Development Program for new leaders 2) A 10-month Next- Level Leadership Program for managers and 3) A 42-week Peer Development Program for recent college graduates.
While their curriculums vary in topics, they share a common learning philosophy, which begins with 1) understanding the self 2) understanding interpersonal relations and then 3) understanding the team/business environment.
By starting with the self, team members can increase their self-awareness and learn how their personal leadership styles and tendencies affect their interactions with others. For example, one tool that Pegasus uses is Strengthsfinder, which assesses an individual’s top 5 strengths.
Once team members understand their personal leadership styles, they can begin to understand how they interact and impact others. An example of how Pegasus teaches interpersonal development is by reading and reflecting on the book Crucial Conversations. This book teaches team members how to communicate with others and actively listen.
Finally, with a deeper understanding of the self and how one impacts others, team members can learn about the greater environment in which they’re operating, i.e. the business or department. For example, team members could learn about the business by rotating through various departments (like they do in the 42-week Peer Development Program), or by having department leads come in and teach about their department and how it impacts the greater business (like they do in the Next Level Leadership Program).
If Pegasus had to fill a high-level leadership position today, they would be much more prepared to do so. They have a very healthy talent pipeline and a clear understanding of where each person in their 220+ organization stands in their learning and development journey. Their success in becoming a culture of learning and development is both a combination of their individualized and cohort-based learning approaches. In short, they have successfully managed to normalize a culture of learning through helping team members to understand themselves, set personal and professional goals, and achieve them.