Training Top 125 Best Practice: Holman Automotive Retail Leadership Development Program

Launched in January 2018 to support Holman Enterprises’ corporate goal of increasing leadership behavior within dealership operations, the program is offered to nearly 400 leaders in six locations across the country.

The Holman Automotive Retail Leadership Development Program is a blended learning program for all leaders working in retail operations at automotive services company Holman Enterprises. Launched in January 2018 to support the corporate goal of increasing leadership behavior within dealership operations, the program is being offered to 392 leaders in six locations across the country.

Program Details

The company assembled 20 cohorts that include multiple levels by position to represent a cross-section of leadership roles and responsibilities. Each cohort meets four times over 16 months, with each session having defined learning goals and expected performance behaviors to practice. A total of 79 instructor-led trainings are scheduled; 47 of those had been completed by fall 2018. 

Learning is supported with supplemental reading and video study via a dedicated intranet space that also provides a platform for sharing success stories and asking questions. Virtual instructor-led trainings (VILTs) are another component of the program. The VILTs provide a virtual experience and reinforce content in between instructor-led trainings.

The program is composed of four workshops:

Workshop 1: Foundations of Leadership

  • Identify the unique needs of the people you lead
  • Define engagement and its importance in your role as a leader
  • Strategize ways to build trust with your teams
  • Use more strategic questioning to gather information
  • Build relationships by listening actively
  • Identify a full range of benefits for any assignment, project, idea, or action
  • Articulate a communication strategy to structure important conversations

Workshop 2: Influencing Others; Handing Resistance; Giving Feedback

  • Strategize ways to increase your credibility
  • Structure strategic influencing conversations
  • Identify the most common sources of resistance
  • Leverage the Resistance Roundabout to handle situations strategically and collaboratively
  • Identify the factors that impact performance feedback’s effectiveness
  • Utilize the Performance Analysis Checklist
  • Structure strategic performance feedback conversations

Workshop 3: Leading Productive Teams; Leadership Style

  • Differentiate between a group and a team
  • Identify the characteristics of high-performing teams
  • Strategize ways to make one of your own teams more effective
  • Understand three prevalent leadership styles at play in the workplace 
  • Create an individual plan to lead more collaboratively

Workshop 4: Leading Organizational Transition

  • Describe the critical difference between managing change and facilitating transition
  • Identify where people are located in the three-phase transition process

Virtual Sessions

Delegation Essentials

Setting Goals

  • Define various types of goals
  • Write SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) goals that motivate your team
  • Structure strategic goal-setting conversations

Behavioral Interviewing

  • Interview preparation
  • Define and identify job competencies
  • Define and develop question style
  • Legal consideration—the do’s and don’ts

Writing and Delivering a Performance Appraisal

  • Write an effective performance review that includes SMART goals

Performance Management and Progressive Discipline


The key performance indicators for this program are employee satisfaction scores and business performance. Initial indications from survey feedback are positive. Leaders express the knowledge and practices they are learning can apply directly to everyday leadership situations. Employee satisfaction surveys were administered in January and again in August 2018. Within this timeframe, employee scores increased in three areas:

  • “Employees feel well-informed” changed from 71 to 74.
  • “Management shows appreciation for good work and extra effort” changed from 73 to 74.
  • “The communication I receive from leadership is clear and consistent” changed from 73 to 74. 

From a business perspective, Holman Automotive exceeded budget projections by 56 percent in August and 29 percent in July. 

While not all of this can be directly correlated to better leadership behaviors, the company believes the Holman Automotive Leadership Development program is on the right track.

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