Top 10 Hall of Fame Outstanding Training Initiatives (May/June 2019)

Each year Training magazine requires all Training Top 10 Hall of Famers to submit an Outstanding Training Initiative that is shared with our readers in a print issue. Here are the details of the Fit for Excellence (FFE) Curriculum at Capital BlueCross, Farmers Insurance Group’s Advanced Leadership Development Program, and Jiffy Lube International’s Leading at Jiffy Lube.

Capital BlueCross: Fit for Excellence (FFE) Curriculum

In 2017, continuing to face tremendous marketplace demands, competition, and disruption, Capital BlueCross leadership recognized the need to change its culture to ensure continued company success. The CEO challenged his Executive Team to further drive organizational performance by engaging the entire workforce in a cultural shift called Fit for Excellence where all employees reflect a passion for excellence in everything they do in order to positively impact their members’ experience. In the Fit for Excellence (FFE) culture, Capital BlueCross creates and sustains a culture that drives innovation and organizational performance, delivers a best-in-class customer experience, and provides a competitive advantage.

HR was tasked with identifying the skills and capabilities at all levels necessary to drive a Fit for Excellence culture, including: developing a coaching culture, facilitating decisions, encouraging and driving innovation, consistently managing large-scale change, and effectively leading meeting outcomes. Capital BlueCross leadership attributes also were modified to reflect the behaviors expected of leaders to be successful in the organization’s culture. The remainder of this article highlights work in one specific capability: developing and sustaining a coaching culture.

Program Details

The criteria for selecting a coaching approach were simplicity, ease of use, and cultural alignment. In the final analysis, Capital BlueCross identified InsideOut Development as the right partner. The GROW Model (Goal, Reality, Options, Way Forward) matched its needs. Capital BlueCross partnered with InsideOut Development to create a customized training experience. The programs developed and facilitated to date include:

  • Train-the-Trainer Certification (three days)
  • InsideOut Coaching for Executive Leadership Team facilitated by Alan Fine, co-creator of the GROW model (one day)
  • InsideOut Coaching for Sales embedded with the Consultative Coaching Dialogue course (one day)
  • InsideOut Coaching for Management (one day)

The Executive Leadership Team (ELT) completed two working sessions, one with co-creator Alan Fine, to build their own skills and another to define a rollout strategy aligning the curriculum with the Fit for Excellence Culture. This visible sign of sponsorship resulted in the ELT becoming champions of the curriculum rollout. The ELT kicked off each training session and ensured their direct reports were prepared to model the coaching skills and lead the cascade of coaching to their intact teams.

Certified Capital BlueCross coaches facilitated 100-person manager “immersions” training sessions to upskill all management quickly and efficiently. Department teams were kept intact, but cross-functional collaboration was provided within each training session to increase alignment. Training reinforcement included:

  • Follow-up Coaching Sessions: Reinforcement of concepts to help managers apply coaching in their everyday jobs.
  • Coaching Routine: Using InsideOut Coaching tools, create a coaching calendar for day-to-day coaching opportunities.
  • Online Coaching Tools: Easy-to-use tools as handy guidelines for holding coaching conversations. Managers also have access to an online coaching community where they can interact with and ask questions of other InsideOut coaches worldwide
  • Integration with Leadership Development Programs: Enhance current curricula using the GROW model.
  • Performance Management: Leadership Attributes have been strengthened to reflect the InsideOut Coaching behaviors.


All 275 members of Executive Leadership, Management, and critical teams across the organization attended the training. Post-evaluation results show a significant increase in positive ratings for increased confidence to handle coaching for alignment and breakthrough discussions with their direct reports.

One hundred percent of Management participants stated they will be able to use the tools and InsideOut Coaching model on the job to:

  • Prepare and facilitate more focused communications
  • Strengthen performance management conversations
  • Have candid conversations with their employees based on strengths and areas of development to finalize collaborative development action plans for the year
  • Create alignment of personal goals to the Corporate Priorities In late 2019, Capital BlueCross plans to introduce a companion program to InsideOut Coaching entitled “Breakthroughs: High Performance from the InsideOut”; it is designed for individual contributor-level employees.

Farmers Insurance Group: Advanced Leadership Development Program

Farmers Insurance Group redesigned its Farmers Advanced Leadership Development Program in 2017 to address two key challenges:

1. The firm needed to reimagine its products and business models to create new markets, especially within key segments (such as Millennials on track to become the next generation of Confident Planners).

2. The firm needed to identify emerging talent and strengthen its succession pipeline below the N-2 and N-5 levels. To address these challenges, Farmers partnered with university USC to revamp its Advanced Leadership Development Program. Learning objectives include:

1. Accelerate strategic innovation and organic, sustainable growth

2. Build entrepreneurial leadership capabilities

3. Develop and apply new business models and tools to develop new products/services

Program Details

Program content was developed from a blend of USC research and assessments, business case studies, proven IDEO design thinking methodology, and formal USC learning content (lectures, books/ articles on business models, product development considerations, assessing and capturing addressable market opportunities, etc.).

The program features a purposeful 70-20-10 blend of 70 percent informal learning (e.g., asynchronous Facebook discussion groups, learning by doing through stretch assignments/action research projects), 20 percent coaching and mentoring (from ALDP alumni coaches, faculty check-in calls, and New Ventures Team mentors) and framed up within a 10 percent formal learning construct (classroom sessions, case studies, and books/articles on business models, product development, etc.).

At the center of the nine-month program is an action learning project that allows participants to apply customer-centered design techniques to uncover unmet needs in the marketplace, then iterate and develop new product prototypes that serve as a feeder into the company’s New Ventures Team. Participants present the insights, concept prototype, and market recommendations derived from data, consumer field research, and cross-functional collaboration to the executive team in an event called “Demo Day.”

Representatives from the New Ventures Team mentor the action research teams to capture synergies and help them channel real-time learning and market insights. In turn, action research team product outputs are aligned to the business objectives set forth for the New Ventures Team’s solution set—which means they stand a better chance of going to market. The informal mentoring component helps to build participant confidence, extend their collegial networks, and provide needed labor for the resource-constrained New Ventures Team.

Interval reinforcement occurs via continued work on iterative product design, test pilots, and pre-/post-launch refinements; active discussion on discussion threads on Workplace (Facebook), and an alumni approach that follows the “Leaders as Teachers” model in which program graduates become mentors for forthcoming cohorts.


The program has resulted in:

  • 91.5 percent retention of high-potential employees (over a five-year lifespan)
  • 27 percent boost in performance ratings (as compared to nonparticipants at the same level)
  • 21 percent expanded remit or promotion rate (compared to non-participants over a five-year lifespan)
  • 100 percent uptake in the four 2018 new product concepts into the product development pipeline for consideration in 2020

Jiffy Lube International: Leading at Jiffy Lube

Working in collaboration with its franchisee network, Jiffy Lube International, Inc., redesigned its leadership development program to develop a more fit-for-purpose, relevant course for Jiffy Lube service center employees. The business challenge was to create a training program within Jiffy Lube University designed to develop store managers who lead a Jiffy Lube store or multiple stores in the current context of the business: excellence in operations, delivering an outstanding customer experience, and leading a team. In redesigning the leadership development program, Jiffy Lube opted to pivot in terms of the content, as well as the way in which the course was designed.

To accelerate course development, the Training team worked closely with subject matter experts across the business, as well as the Jiffy Lube franchisees to identify the proof points of what makes a leader at Jiffy Lube. Additionally, the Jiffy Lube University training team worked with an outside vendor to accelerate the course design, allowing ample time to pilot the course in the fourth quarter of 2018 to ensure the final output achieved business objectives while resonating with learners.

Program Details

Learners spend two days in a facilitator-led class participating in a mix of learning approaches, such as role-play and group and individual work to learn the four leadership attributes critical to successfully leading at Jiffy Lube. Participants build their own fictional automotive business in the class and apply the leadership capabilities to their own business.

With the redevelopment of the leadership training, this course is one session of the new leadership program rather than a standalone class, providing a path for leadership within Jiffy Lube. Leadership content is designed for individual contributors, store managers, multi-store managers, and operations teams to create a culture of leadership at all levels rather than just the store manager level.

Learners spend the second day of training in a Jiffy Lube Challenge—a robust experience of role-play, interaction, peer feedback, and more. Throughout the day, leaders also create an action plan leveraging a proprietary Jiffy Lube action planning tool. Following the session, learners are prompted to revisit their action plan at various touchpoints including 30, 60, 90, and 120 days to keep the skills they learned top of mind.


Annually, the Leading at Jiffy Lube program trains approximately 1,000, but the program is applicable to the entire 20,000 service center employees. Store managers are now in training for two days instead of three. The Leading at Jiffy Lube program is estimated to deliver more than $250,000 annual savings to the Jiffy Lube network due to a more efficient training experience, less cost in materials, classroom time, and time away from the store.


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