Milgard Manufacturing: Nationwide Expansion

The largest custom window and door manufacturer in the western United States, with 4,000 employees in 22 plant locations, Milgard Manufacturing had a strategic plan calling for nation-wide expansion. The chief obstacle to their success was having enough leaders who knew how to lead “the Milgard Way.”

The Plan: Milgard’s Leader-Led Leadership Development℠ program was developed to capture the knowledge and experience of the senior leaders . . . those responsible for the success of the company and put it in a form so that it could be taught to others. Quest’s learning materials were facilitated by senior leaders, who used their insights and personal experience to address questions raised during the programs. Starting with fundamental knowledge about their company and what makes it successful, the participants learned to plan, budget, and lead operations, service and quality improvement efforts. The programs, in a university-type structure, were implemented in phases, one program of 24-32 hours per year for all managers in the company. With senior leaders teaching, first level supervisors, managers, and Directors were all engaged in learning to optimize their business.

These senior leaders didn’t just “send” their staff to take a course…they went with them! They helped design and facilitate the program, and committed to developing their people and coaching them on the job. They identified specific – real – issues and taught their leaders how to apply the company’s preferred methods to deal with them. Best of all, Milgard’s senior leaders were there to reinforce the learning, as their managers learned to make difficult decisions in complex situations.

The Results showed on the bottom line! With the implementation of the learning program, the company went on to achieve its best results in over 40 years! “The entire organization improved as the result of these programs,” one of the veteran senior executives remarked. All the senior leaders are confident that the leaders of the future are well versed in running the company “the Milgard Way.”