April 21, 2018
Peter Bailey

Nine Day Stretch Three Prouty L3 Participants Share Their Experience

The Prouty Project Leadership Development team created our own brand of L3 — Leading Self; Leading Others; and Leading the Business — and inspired an alchemy of awakening. These are the stories of three participants from our first two Prouty L3 cohorts.

Mike Colby, Prouty L3/Cohort 1

Mike Colby, Head of Logistics Automation at SICK, Inc., which manufactures sensors for industrial automation, joined our first cohort of 13 participants in 2016/2017. Mike’s CEO asked if he’d consider trying out Prouty L3 before SICK invested in the program for all of its managers. Mike was eager to do something new and interested in what he could bring back to the company. “I thought I’d pick up some tidbits on leadership,” said Mike. “What I didn’t realize is that this experience would be transformational. It would be life changing. In a word, it would be an awakening.”

Participants describe our Prouty L3 program as an intense combination of gifted speakers, engaging presentations, outdoor adventures, team exercises, constant discovery, problem solving, culinary feasts, personal sharing, self- awareness, movie watching, offsite reading, morning stretching, and fireplace chats, all with a healthy mix of Aha! moments and even some Oh No! moments — after which they’re proud to say, “I did that!”

For Mike, gaining a deeper understanding of how he interacts with others has been profound. “I work with engineers who are incredibly precise and fact based, but I come from a sales and marketing background, which is all about connecting with people,” he said. “Now I’ve learned to approach others with logic and still keep my enthusiastic attitude along the way. “Apparently, it’s working. Mike’s colleagues are asking the CEO, “What’s going on with Mike? He’s a different person.”

That difference drives Mike to be a stronger leader. “I’m so much more aware of using my emotional intelligence to think through my responses and express myself more effectively,” said Mike. “I’ve achieved a new level of authenticity because the Prouty L3 program stretched me to a deeper understanding of who I am, how I relate to others and how I help lead the business.”

Mike applied his Prouty L3 learnings to some recent business opportunities, resulting in some impressive gains for SICK in a highly competitive environment. “We changed our market position 180 degrees and went from zero wins to significant wins with one of the world’s largest online retainers. That result came from a combination of new L3 leadership skills and Blue Ocean thinking,” said Mike. “Prouty L3 helped us learn how to truly lead the business.”

“Knowing what I know now, I’d write the check personality for Prouty L3,” said Mike. “In 25 years of professional development, I’ve never participated in anything even close to this experience. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. And now I’m hungry for the next level of leadership development for myself.”

Lindsey & Sommer Falk, Prouty L3/Cohort 2

Husband and wife team Lindsey and Sommer Falk participated in our second cohort for 20 participants in 2017/2018. They both work for L.R. Falk Construction, which specializes in custom crushing of limestone products for construction and agriculture applications.

As the third generation President of L.R. Falk Construction, Lindsey Falk knows quite a bit about organizational leadership and strategic planning. He’s also known Jeff Prouty for more than a couple decades and he’s worked with The Prouty Project through the years. So, when our Prouty L3 program was launched, Lindsey and his wife, Sommer who handles payroll, marketing and employee relations, were two of the early participants.

“We’ve gained so much from working with The Prouty Project on strategic planning that we just knew the L3 opportunity would be a great experience, and it was,” said Sommer. “It was so beneficial for us, both at work with our employees and at home with our family. It was above and beyond all my expectations.”

Lindsey agrees. “The actual experience far exceeded my expectations,” said Lindsey,. “It was the most impactful leadership training we’ve ever done. We continue to use what we learned every day.”

Sommer added, “There are such unique challenges when you work with your spouse. We’re also more aware of others and now we better understand how to adjust to their communication styles and preferences.”

Every Prouty L3 cohort will be unique. Yet each group will experience its own path of enlightenment. Lindsey seemed to arrive at a significant moment of realization during the transition from Leading Self to Leading Others. “I’d been trying to impact company performance by changing others,” said Lindsey. “Then through L3, I discovered I needed to change myself first. The key is self-understanding. Ultimately, the result is a changed culture, a more high-performance culture.”

At The Prouty Project, we continue to build a reputation that exclaims: experience! In keeping with that tradition, L3 participants work hard and play hard. Without giving too much away, there are plenty of extracurricular activities that capture the imagination. Humor is welcome. Fun is required. Surprise is guaranteed. There’s movement and music and also a movie. There’s outdoor adventure and indoor relaxation – deep breathing is always encouraged. “This is not just sitting in a classroom,” said Sommer. “it’s incredibly engaged. There are big challenges and there’s always a twist. And of course, a moral to every story.”

Both Sommer and Lindsey agree that Prouty L3 proves to be a worthy investment. “The experience changes and stretches you in the most positive ways possible,” said Lindsey. “It’s real leadership training you can use.” Sommer added, “I was surprised at how quickly 20 people came together and even now stay connected. That’s truly special. It was a wonderful balance of head and heart. An amazing experience I won’t forget.”