Western Grower & Shipper 2018 03MarApr

ADOPTING THE ARBINGER APPROACH The idea to focus on creating a workplace environment that fosters creativity and goodwill began in 2002 when Tom Nassif took the helm of WG. “Any significant change within an organization has to start from the top,” said Timmins. “Through Tom’s leadership, we adopted the principles of Arbinger and integrated this program company-wide.” Every employee hired at WG goes through the program, learning about the principles that drive a constructive work environment and receiving the guidance needed to thrive in their personal careers. Timmins explains how the workshop has successfully taken people out of their comfort zones by forcing them to focus on changes needed within themselves. This has resulted in positive change throughout the organization and has given managers the tools needed to be more effective in understanding how to help their staff grow. Seeing the success of Arbinger within the association, WG made this training a member benefit in 2007. Throughout the years, WG has provided training to many members seeking to reform and recalibrate company culture, including Ocean Mist Farms, The Growers Company, Bolthouse Farms and Five Crowns Marketing. In fact, several member companies—JV Smith Companies, Reiter Affiliated Companies and Monterey Mushrooms–were so inspired after the workshop that they sent their own staff to the Arbinger Institute to be certified as trainers. “We were looking for a development program that would be sustainable through time and not just a flavor of the month,” said

Joaquin Garza Jr., operations manager at Monterey Mushrooms. “After Karen conducted a pilot with our executives and selected team members, we immediately knew that this was something we could use long term to change leadership.” The methodology was a completely different way of thinking—a change that the organization needed at that time. According to Garza, team leaders were no longer afraid of confrontation and were able to talk openly about challenges they faced with each other. They also began focusing on helping others achieve their goals prior to completing their own, as well as exploring different methodologies to drive impactful change at a higher level. “We saw a big difference in the team and eventually started to see change throughout the company,” said Garza. “This isn’t a training. It’s a journey, which makes it even more special.” Now, with Garza certified to conduct Arbinger, Monterey Mushrooms has provided training and development to nearly its entire management staff who oversee the company’s 6,000 employees. To better serve members, WG added a second resident trainer in 2017 and is now helping ag-related businesses enhance their employee performance review process. Through the 3A+ performance review method, Timmins said, the script is flipped and employees are now encouraged to take initiative and speak with their managers about their progress. Timmins heads back to Colorado later this month to help SWIIM implement this new review system. For more information about Western Growers’ training resources, contact Karen Timmins at (949) 885-2295.



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