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Leadership 2.0 Day 2: Investing In Your Best Assets – Employees

All this week, we are bringing you exclusive blog posts from a range of aftermarket executives participating in this week’s program Leadership 2.0 program, hosted by the University of the Aftermarket at Northwood University. Today, we hear from Cindy Ford, key account sales manager at Standard Motor Products.


Leadership 2.0 is a post-graduate style leadership and business skills education program designed to promote the development of the next generation of aftermarket leaders. In addition to the two week-long classroom segments – which feature lectures, roundtable discussions, networking sessions and team research and problem-solving activities – participants work off-site to develop and present team research projects covering key industry challenges. Featured presenters include leading aftermarket executives and faculty from Northwood University’s DeVos Graduate School of Management.

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This year’s Leadership 2.0 class, which began last August, continues this week at Northwood University’s campus in Midland, Michigan. The second session continues through March 16. All this week, we are bringing you exclusive blog posts from a range of aftermarket executives participating in this week’s program.

Today, we hear from Cindy Ford, key account sales manager at Standard Motor Products.

Monday morning of Leadership 2.0 feels a bit different compared to our previous session in the fall.

This time, there is a sense of friendship and comfort that has derived from teams working together on their projects over the winter months. That “awkwardness” is gone and it seems that relationships have grown stronger. As a class, we re-introduced ourselves, which served as a personal and professional refresher.

We began with Dr. John Passante engaging us in a discussion about business relationships and where loyalty comes in to play. According to Dr. Passante, loyalty is the rock that holds business relationships together.


We tossed around the question of whether technology has decreased our ability to build relationships. I think, possibly, if used with the human touch, technology can actually enhance our ability to grow relationships, but nothing can replace face-to-face interaction.

Next, we explored the prospect of mentoring. Could mentoring potentially help generate loyalty? The definition of mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser, and since trust is the foundation of loyalty, we came to the conclusion that mentoring does, in fact, generate loyalty. So, if you want to invest in your best asset – your employees – invest time in mentoring, both internally and externally from your organization.

After lunch, we had discussion about the dynamics of groups, or teams, with Dr. Frank Morgan. We did an exercise to see the impact that a team can have on decision-making versus individual decisions. We were given a survival scenario and asked to rank some items that we were to use to survive.  First, we ranked them individually, then discussed and re-ranked them as a team. It was fun to listen to the logic process of our teammates, which most of the time was different from our own.

Then, Dr. Morgan revealed the “expert’s” ranking and their logic, which again brought some different logic to the table. We did some scoring, and came to the conclusion that we were a lot closer to the expert’s ranking when we discussed in a group. We could see that complex problems could be solved better and faster with a proper team approach.


Day two has enlightened us, and we all have more tools for our leadership toolbox. We are all so fortunate to be able to participate in such an awesome program, and I think I speak for the entire group when I say we are looking forward to day three!

Click here to read Blog 1 from Tenneco’s Debra Kennedy.

Click here for more info on Leadership 2.0.





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