April 21, 2021

Team Leader Development Program Opens Eyes to New Ideas


"At Trane Technologies – and after completing the TDLP – I feel like the opportunities are endless and I know how I can continuously improve. Anything is possible!" says TLDP participant Dustin Benzing.

Dustin Benzing says Trane Technologies’ Team Leader Development Program (TLDP) did more than impart new skills to use in his role as Team Leader in our La Crosse, Wisconsin, manufacturing facility. 

“It opened my eyes and my mind to new possibilities and new ways to do work,” he said. “There is more than one way to do things, and I’ve learned that in order to succeed I might need to try different things and fail at first. The question I ask myself now is, ‘How fast can I fail in order to succeed?’” 

Training program empowers front-line leaders

Trane Technologies’ 8-week Team Leader Development Program engages, teaches and empowers front-line leaders to make sound business decisions through a blend of tactical knowledge, coaching, and the development of leadership and problem-solving skills. With 25% of the cohort’s time spent in the classroom and 75% applying new skills on-the-job, they quickly build depth and capability around teamwork, collaboration, influencing others and applying lean tools to make improvements in cycle time and overall processes in our plants.

In this interview, Dustin shares how his TLDP experience impacts his work and life. 

Q: Tell us about your role as Team Leader in the La Crosse facility’s Flame Cut area and how the TLDP helped solve some of the challenges you faced.

Dustin: I managed a team of eight people responsible for cutting parts out of sheet metal. Those parts are used in other areas of the facility to build Trane commercial HVAC units. 

After completing the TLDP, my supervisor gave me the freedom to put into place what I’d learned in the program. The lean tools made the biggest impact for me in the Flame Cut area. We implemented Managing for Daily Improvement (MDI) and leveraged 9-step problem solving to improve processes to address quality issues and get the right parts to the assembly line at the right time – we even managed to get ahead. The tools helped me get more organized and prioritize the teams’ work with a color-coded system so we’re not flooding the floor with too much of any one part and not enough of another. This saves the business time and money and helps the team stay on track in the long term – the area runs much more smoothly now. 

Q: How has the TLDP made an impact on your work life? 

Dustin: It opened my eyes and my mind to new possibilities. Trane Technologies leaders are open to new ideas, and it’s refreshing to have my leaders pushing me for those new ideas. In other companies, I’ve been told exactly what to do and how to do it, and I’ve been forced to plateau in those positions. But at Trane Technologies – and after completing the TDLP – I feel like the opportunities are endless and I know how I can continuously improve. Anything is possible!

Q: What is your biggest takeaway from the program? 

Dustin: I learned that I can question the norm and decide to try a different way of doing things. We’ve been given the opportunity to make mistakes, and through the TLDP I realized that we learn from everything we do – whether we fail or succeed. The program also opened the door for networking and sharing improvements with other areas of the plant.

Q: You’ve since been promoted to Production Planner (congratulations!). How will you continue to develop and use what you’ve learned in the TLDP? 

Dustin: Thank you. I’ve always enjoyed the student role. I’ve gone back to school several times over the years – I have my Bachelor’s degree, and later went back to school for my teaching certificate. And I got my start at Trane as a welder and have since moved up from there. So I constantly want to learn and improve, and I take critiques as learning opportunities. 

I’ll continue to develop by allowing my core team to pick apart my Managing for Daily Improvement boards – they are great at pointing out gaps and areas for improvement. I’ll continue to use the tools I learned in the TLDP and have a continuous improvement mindset. It’s the success I’m striving for – the sense of accomplishment is huge. So I’ll bring that mindset and apply the tools in every role I take on.


In 2020, our Team Leader Development Program won the prestigious Business Transformation and Operational Excellence Industry Award for Best Achievement in Cultural Transformation & Sustainability to deliver a high-performing Enterprise Excellence culture. By the end of 2020, we had 30 certified facilitators who have taught a total of 1,1000 Trane Technologies participants in 43 locations globally since the program’s inception in 2014. In 2020, we graduated 134 TLDP participants. Learn more about our Learning and Development opportunities in the 2021 ESG report.

Interested in joining our team? Find our current job opportunities and apply on our careers page. 

Watch our video to learn more about career development at Trane Technologies.

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