Developing High-Potential Talent With Virtual Leadership Training

Crowley Maritime
CLIENT:Crowley Maritime Corp.
LOCATION:Offices in North America, Puerto Rico, Caribbean Islands, and Central America; provides services worldwide
SIZE:6,000+ employees

Client Profile & Challenge

Privately held Crowley Maritime is focused on logistics and shipping, energy, and other competitive sectors. The company has thousands of employees who maintain a fleet of more than 200 vessels and operate terminals, warehouses, tank farms, office buildings, trucks, cranes, and other specialized vehicles.

Crowley runs a leadership development program for high-potential mid-level leaders who are new to managing others, aren’t in formal leadership roles but are managing project teams, or who are preparing for the next step in their careers. The program includes assessment, a leadership learning program, a group meeting in El Salvador, and developing solutions to address real company challenges.

It is competitive, with 120 applicants from all Crowley business units and locations vying for 24 spots.

“With such a diverse group from multiple time zones and different countries, we wanted to steer away from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to leadership development,” says Gloriana Garro, Director of People Development & Learning at Crowley. The firm wanted to tailor the program to individual needs, help participants strengthen their soft skills, and develop the foundational competencies required to lead others. The company also wanted to improve collaboration and networking between participants.

And the experience needed to work for participants from multiple time zones and different countries.

Solution & Results

We suggested Crowley add our Frontline Leader Impact virtual experience to its leadership development initiative. Frontline Leader Impact content and flexibility allow it to be shaped for the needs of the organization using it. Because it’s 100% digital, it’s ideal for a cohort spread across the hemisphere.

The course provides 18 hours of learning over 6 weeks focused on key leadership competencies: self-awareness, learning agility, communication, political savvy, influencing outcomes, and motivating others. It also includes weekly team discussions to help participants absorb the content, collaborate, and support each other as they tackle issues.

“The virtual experience was the best solution for our needs. The group made it fun, allowed them to interact more often, support each other, and develop key leadership competencies,” Garro says.

Because the platform is digital and asynchronous, participants who weren’t as confident in their English fluency could take extra time to respond. The program also uses an incentive — Impact Points — that measures how often people comment, contribute, or otherwise engage in the virtual course environment. The points allow us to assess how engaged participants are; we found that for some especially competitive participants, they also provided motivation.

A CCL course moderator coordinates the program, providing teams and individuals additional support. The leadership experience also included 2 elements to amplify the power of Frontline Leader Impact.

  • A Leadership Growth Plan. Participants, with guidance from the course moderator, build a leadership development plan to help them continue growing even after the course is over; and
  • A Key Leadership Challenge. Participants identify a real leadership challenge they’re facing and develop a plan to solve it while integrating what they’re learning about key leadership competencies. For Crowley, the leadership challenges included building bench strength and making strategic hires, developing a strategy for rolling out a new system, and empowering a team to perform higher-order tasks independently.

In the end, the company gained a new cohort of leaders grounded in leadership fundamentals, equipped with a strong cross-company network, and prepared to deliver results that matter for Crowley.


  • Out of the box doesn’t equal “check the box”: Online solutions can be tailored to individual needs to be made highly effective and, as a result, deliver more value;
  • Less is more — be the choice architect for your learners: Provide a curated set of lessons over a limited period of time with intentional cadence. This delivers results and designs an efficient path for a leader to grow; and
  • Leverage human expertise wisely: The program leverages videos of recorded experts teaching content, with a CCL guide helping each learner apply the lessons to their work. The guide doesn’t have to repeat the same information over and over, but rather focuses individuals to grow, solve leadership challenges, and deliver results for their business.


From the initial group of 24 participants, 13 have been promoted and 3 have been transferred within the organization.

Participants Say

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We’re here to help you prepare your leaders to excel in challenging times and grow your organization into the future. Give your frontline leaders the tools they need to succeed with the Frontline Leader Impact online leadership development program. 

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