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