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Where to Find Leadership Training Opportunities

This list of resources provides an overview of online and in-person leadership training programs available to home improvement retailers. This overview is not comprehensive, but is a starting point to help you understand the options available, both inside and outside of the industry, for grooming high-potential employees for greater leadership responsibilities.

The home improvement distributors that provided information about their leadership training programs are included in this list.

When you look into leadership training for yourself or your employees, you should not overlook the classes and seminars available through your local colleges and universities. In addition, contact local chambers of commerce and economic development organizations to find out if there are affordable learning opportunities available that are specific to your community or state.

For recommendations on how to get the most of your training budget, click here.

Industry Resources

North American Retail Hardware Association Retail Management Certification Program
The college-level classes allow students to network with peers in the industry to aid them in their professional futures. Program participants develop projects they can immediately apply to their businesses and assess how they need to develop professionally so the course can be customized to their individual needs. A business improvement project is the culmination of students’ program work, and the students get coaching from a university professor and business operator, as well as feedback from NRHA educators and peers. Tuition costs $12,500, but scholarships are available. Additional costs include travel and lodging for three trips to Indianapolis.

Co-Ops and Distributors

Ace Hardware’s “Leadership Lessons With John Venhuizen”
Ace launched the leadership training series in July 2015 through the co-operative’s online learning portal. The series teaches what leaders should know and do within their organizations for top performance. Each of the six lessons includes strategies and try-it-out activities to help learners level up their leadership skills by applying what they learned. In-person training comes at a cost, but the online version is free for Ace retailers.

Do it Best Corp. Leadership Development Institute
Do it Best Corp. recruits next-generation business leaders for a weeklong class, which is designed to equip future manager and store owners with a greater understanding of how to effectively grow themselves, their teams and their businesses. Each participant leaves with an action plan they can immediately begin implementing in their store. Retailers pay a fee to attend, plus their travel and lodging expenses.

Home Hardware’s “Get Managing” Training
The Home Hardware training is available to dealers and store managers through an online learning portal, which they can use free of cost. Kevin Graff, president of training program developer Graff Retail, is the instructor in the videos for the online training modules. Training topics include hiring, motivating and selling.

Resources From Outside the Industry

Dale Carnegie Training
The organization offers live online and in-person training on corporate leadership development and leadership training for managers. Trainees are taught lessons on effectively coaching employees, problem solving and decision making, communicating change, listening skills, acknowledging employee success with enthusiasm, building credibility and learning to delegate. Dale Carnegie Training is available through webinars, virtual classrooms with live instructors and on-site sessions at stores or other businesses, led by Dale Carnegie consultants.

Disney Institute Leadership Excellence Training
The course includes in-class training with a facilitator who discusses topics such as personal and organizational values for attendees’ companies, developing legacies as leaders and team building. The training also includes guided field experiences at the theme park resorts and networking opportunities. A one-day course at the Disney World or Disneyland resorts costs around $1,300. Multiday courses start around $4,600.

The company, which is owned by online networking tool LinkedIn, offers subscriptions to an online library of instructional videos for professional development.

The organization can be hired to conduct customized on-site training. Businesses can also send employees to SkillPath seminars, workshops and conferences across the U.S. and Canada. Topics include leadership styles and best practices, team leadership and effective coaching. SkillPath also offers live and on-demand webinars and audio conferences, which allow multiple employees to participate for a fee.

About Kate Klein

Kate is profiles editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and industry events and writes about retailers' unique contributions to the independent home improvement sector. She graduated from Cedarville University in her home state of Ohio, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and minored in creative writing. She loves being an aunt, teaching writing to kids, running, reading, farm living and, as Walt Whitman says, traveling the open road, “healthy, free, the world before me.”

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