Shape Corp’s Global Leadership Development Program

The automotive and industrial component manufacturer launched the program in an effort to bring ready-now successors and high-potential candidates to a new level of competence.

In early 2013, when automotive and industrial component manufacturer Shape Corp’s executive group analyzed and discussed retirements, it was revealed that more than 60 percent of executives were planning to retire within the next three to five years and their ready-now successor required further training. During this exodus, more than 200 years of experience at the company will exit. In an effort to bring the ready-now successors and high-potential candidates to a new level of competence, Shape Corp launched the Global Leadership Development Program (GLDP).

Program Details

This training occurred on each of the four continents the company occupies and took one year to complete. This training consisted of four one-week modules that each covered two areas:

Session 1: Leadership and Finance in Shanghai in May 2014

Session 2: Strategy and Innovation in Prague in August 2014

Session 3: Logistics and Operations in Mexico in early 2015

Session 4: Marketing and Economics in Chicago during summer 2015

While working to bring personnel to a higher level in finance, it was discovered that there was a lack of basic understanding from key personnel in sales positions. When working through the balance sheet of other companies and determining which companies are suitable takeover opportunities, a gap emerged among 80 percent of the group. As all personnel were brought to the same level over the next six months through a series of trainings on finance and financial acumen, they began to notice areas in their own balance sheet where they could optimize sales through leveraging existing capital to reduce quote costs to the customer.


As a result of financial acumen training, sales have increased significantly. In addition, during the innovation session of this training, a team of high potentials created a new business unit inside Shape Corp that is exploring new business opportunities.

This training has the long-term strategic goal of “Create bench strength through succession planning,” but in the short term, it has shown to link to the strategic goal of “Develop best-in-class strategic sales processes and personnel” by redefining the sales quoting process to ensure financial understanding and success. This has served as a paradigm shift for sales—instead of looking at revenue, they now undergo financial analysis and feasibility reviews to ensure profitability.

Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.