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More Than Milk Building Leaders at Borden Dairy

Borden is one of the largest and most recognized brands in the highly competitive dairy industry. Along with intense market pressures, Borden itself is experiencing significant change.  As Borden continues to execute their strategy and compete in the marketplace it is critical that great leaders are developed who can lead in a way that drives differentiated service and continuous improvement for customers and employees. 


Realizing the importance of making an investment in developing strong and aligned leaders, Borden partnered with CMP to execute an enterprise-wide program to develop key leadership skills. 


Borden has a strong culture of high retention and promoting from within, which is an asset for maintaining intellectual capital.  However, Borden found that many placed in positions of leading others were not properly trained on the basic leadership skills required to manage people, even though they were experts in their functional areas.


The leader development areas and training design were identified through a review of exit interviews, discovery sessions with key stakeholders, and a pilot session with key operations leaders. 


The result was a four hour onsite and virtual interactive workshop that drew upon CMP content and was customized for Borden's specific needs.  All Borden leaders experienced the workshop over a three-month roll-out.  Key areas of workshop focus include:

  • Effective Communications- recognizing the impact of active listening and a thoughtful approach to communicating with various audiences and cross functionally.
  • Instituting a Coaching Culture- finding common ground, inspiring growth and accountability, managing through influence and practicing the importance of collaboration.
  • Crucial Conversations- identify and learn how to guide dialogue even when the message is difficult and the stakes are high.

The development and design of the leadership training included the following learning elements to ensure full engagement and absorption of the material:


  • Learn – presentation of key managerial skills and strategies. Emphasis is on experiential learning - stories / experiences / examples and problem solving to drive internalization


  • Practice – focus on “rehearsing” and skill practice
  • Apply – utilization of these skills in work settings, including individual action items to enable application of learning on the job

Light but meaningful reminders and reinforcement was instituted post-session to ensure the leader skills were used on-the-job.

Amanda Connelly, CMP VP, leading session with Borden Leaders. 

Initial measures of success are very promising.  Session evaluations were high (average rating of 4.8 out of 5), and the "buzz" across the organization is very positive.  Many leaders shared that the training was an appreciated investment, and has had a tangible impact on their leadership and relationships inside and outside their role within Borden. 

Borden Human Resources has found that many of the leaders have changed their communication styles from directive to situation-based coaching. This has resulted in greater accountability and supported their transition to a culture of ownership.

Continuing the Momentum


CMP and Borden are currently in the process of evaluating ongoing interactive lessons as well as implementing creative training reinforcement solutions.  Upcoming topics were requested by those in attendance and local HR leaders who have played a key sponsorship role.