Land O’Lakes values its relationships with local cooperatives and believes in helping them develop the leadership skills of their most valuable resources—people. As cooperatives prepare the next generation of leaders for increased responsibilities and future demands, they must help them gain a broader, more strategic perspective to help them see business as a whole. They have to see beyond specific functions, divisions and departments.
The Land O’Lakes Executive Agribusiness Program, commonly known as LEAP, is an invitation-only management and leadership development program designed to help participants strategically frame their thinking, grow their knowledge and use new tools, then apply what they learn in the context of their own cooperatives.
LEAP is customized specifically to the needs of cooperatives. This 13-month, non-degree program builds capabilities to enhance performance in both current and future leadership positions.
Plan of Study
LEAP’s core content includes business strategy and planning, financial management, strategic marketing, organizational development, and leadership. Participants explore these content areas during seven educational sessions—three distance-delivered, three domestic in-classroom residencies and one in South America.
LEAP is taught in five formats:
Core courses, including instruction and presentation from Purdue faculty, Land O’Lakes executives, industry guest speakers, and subject matter experts.
Field visits, including farm operations, agribusinesses, and non-ag companies.
Advanced case study analysis, including the extensive use of CAPSIM – a business acumen building simulation, discussions, recommendations, and debriefing.
Special-issue sessions, complementing coursework and addressing current industry and economic challenges. Such as the global impact of the decline in overall commodity prices to row crop producers and the livestock producers?
Pinnacle Team Project, which entails completion of an intense, self-selected project of high priority for the cooperative that allows participants to apply what they have learned in LEAP.
Personalized Feedback and Coaching
Participants will work through the “360-Degree Feedback and Personal Coaching” process—a research-based and scientifically validated assessment of an individual’s competencies. It helps individuals understand their strengths and weaknesses, identify developmental needs and enhance self-awareness. Leadership assessments will provide participants information to help them understand, develop and enhance their leadership effectiveness. These assessments measure interests, experience, personality and problem-solving skills. An integrated report will be generated and each participant will have an extensive one-on-one feedback session with a psychologist.
Benefits to Participants
Managers who participate in LEAP will:
- Enhance business management competencies to levels necessary for success in senior leadership and CEO positions at member cooperatives.
- Diversify thought and decision-making, enabling more effective handling of management challenges.
- Experience a forum for learning and exchange of new ideas across a unique group of individuals, improving professional networks.
- Demonstrate management and leadership ability to top management through projects, presentations, real-world situations, and analysis.
- Expand knowledge of the total food and agribusiness system and the general business environment preparing them to strategically lead your cooperative into the future.
CEOs of cooperative firms and senior leaders at Land O’ Lakes, Inc. have committed time to coach and mentor project teams, interact with participants, follow-up with activities for each residency, serve as guest speakers, and serve as “living case studies” demonstrating the concepts of LEAP’s curriculum in action with real-life business challenges.
Benefits to Cooperatives
Sending an employee through LEAP is a big decision. We’ve prepared this list of benefits to make the choice easier for you.
Investment: Supporting a participant through LEAP is a powerful investment in your company’s future and a cost-effective way to reward, retain and educate a high-potential agribusiness manager in your cooperative. Why not invest in your employees—the people who already know your company—by helping them develop their leadership skills? This commitment is tangible evidence of your support of your employees and dedication to their careers.
Immediate application to the workplace: LEAP’s focus on cooperatives lets your employees explore leadership concepts in a context specific to your company’s needs. Pinnacle Projects cap off classroom learning by charging participants with tackling practical challenges facing your organization.
Access to Experts: LEAP offers access to thought leaders from Land O’ Lakes, Purdue University, agricultural firms and non-agricultural businesses. Because of the program’s small size (each class is limited to 35 participants), students get direct access to these experts. The network means world-renowned experts are no more than a phone call or email away.
Minimal disruption of ongoing job responsibilities: During the course of the 13-month program, participants complete three of the seven residencies online.
Global thinking: The program includes a one-week residency abroad that will expose your employee to the international business climate and promote global thinking.
Exceptional networking opportunities: LEAP offers unparalleled access to professionals in the cooperative system. Participants can call professors and fellow classmates with their business questions. These relationship last well beyond program graduation.
Expectations of Participants
Many people within the Land O’Lakes, Inc. cooperative system bring a high level of commitment and dedication to make LEAP an exceptional program and to ensure that each participant is successful.
LEAP requires a serious and significant personal commitment from each participant, as well. Participants will need to allocate time for the distance sessions and preparation of assignments (approximately 20 hours per month), as well as the face-to-face residency sessions.
The commitment made for LEAP is in addition to the demands of personal and day-to-day business responsibilities. Participants must:
- Attend all LEAP residency sessions (If an emergency requires that a participant miss a residency, make up work will be assigned).
- Participate in high-intensity, interactive sessions and devote the time necessary outside the classroom.
- Complete session assignments and team project work.
LEAP requires completion of a capstone Pinnacle Project. The project is designed to help participants apply their classroom learning in practical, company-specific ways. Participants select projects in collaboration with their organizations’ CEOs and provide the cooperative consulting-level engagement. Past project topics have included succession planning, consolidation of agronomy services centers, and determining profitability of a new feed mill and grain storage facility.