A group of Baton Rouge-area business leaders were recently implemented a series of facility enhancements at Front Yard Bikes, a community bike shop that focuses on teaching participants of all ages how to fix and maintain bikes.
The project was part of our Management Incubator, a development program for talented individual contributors who are emerging as leaders within their organizations. The Management Incubator offers rising leaders insight into their leadership styles and potential challenges, strengths and weaknesses.
The four-week program features competency-based leadership assessments, experiential learning, individual coaching and development planning — capped off by a community-based project.
For this round of our series, we partnered with Front Yard Bikes, a growing nonprofit that has made a mark in Baton Rouge teaching underserved children the mechanics and how to maintaining a bike, cycling road safety and other valuable skills such as financial and academic accountability while giving them a safe place to form a community.
Resources and Professionalism
Front Yard Bikes founder Dustin LaFont says he was impressed by both the resources that were made available through our series process, as well as the professionalism of the teams that helped plan and implement the facility upgrades. “There are even more people (outside of the teams) helping us out because they heard about us from Success Labs,” he says.
Lafont says they are regularly approached by companies and organizations who want to help in some way — and those interactions pan out to varying degrees of success. He says the Success Labs partnership has been a positive because it was collaborative and provided valuable resources from start to finish.
“It’s a whole process with thought and vision. It’s theory and practice coming together for us,” he says. “It’s not just someone giving us a bunch of ideas and it’s not somebody just giving us dollars where we have to figure out where it goes to work. They’re doing it all, and that’s surprising because you don’t really get that from every organization.”
Gardens and Tools
For the community project, the Management Incubator participants split into two teams — Team Highland and Team Perkins. Each group was given a seed money from Success Labs and tasked with working with the Front Yard Bikes leaders and students to determine which areas of the campus could be upgraded.
Team Highland members — Krassimira Antonova, Chris Bishop, Natalie Ingles and Sidney Williams — handled upgrades to the outdoor space at the Front Yard Bikes facility, which includes a bicycle track and community garden where the students grow vegetables and herbs.
The outdoor upgrades included new signs for the bicycle “test track” that runs through the garden area, a chalkboard to help keep track of what’s planted and harvested in the gardens, signage for the on-site greenhouses, and umbrellas for picnic tables. The test track upgrades, which include a crosswalk, yield sign, stop and one-way signs, will help the students simulate real-world conditions before heading out onto actual city streets.
Team Member Chris Bishop says it was satisfying to come together as a team and implement their ideas for the outdoor space so quickly. “To actually have a collective good idea and then have it come to fruition is really cool,” he says.
Team Perkins members — Scott Miller, Delia Richardson, Lindsey St. Pierre and Kayla Tamplain — focused on the busy indoor space of the bike shop: the tool room, where students build and repair dozens of bikes daily. The team restructured the space to make it more efficient, installing a pegboard for tools, brightly color coded tool boxes on shelves and a process for maintaining the process and organization. “I’ve loved every minute of it,” Tamplain says. “It’s been a great experience for us.”
LaFont, who spends every day in the shop working with the kids, says the upgraded tool organization was among his favorite additions from the project “A more organized toolroom can help our students get comfortable in a more professional space and at the same time help them stay accountable for how to keep up with tools and materials,” LaFont says. “It’s going to improve their day-to-day, and anything that helps improve our students’ day-to-day environment is phenomenal for us.”
Both teams truly embraced the spirit of the Management Incubator program and the community impact project, offering considerable amounts of creativity and dedication throughout the process. It has been a pleasure to work with Front Yard Bikes as its important community mission continues to grow and make a lasting impact on our city and the people who call it home.
Do you know of organization who may like to be our next project partner? We’re opening our project partnership up to all nonprofits with a brief application. Award winners will be the recipients of the hands-on space enhancement and strategic initiative project associated with our Leadership Coaching Series. The award recipient will also receive a monetary donation of $1,000. To learn more visit mysuccesslab.com/community-impact.
Management Incubator participants leave with an understanding of the competencies they’ll need as they take the next steps in their careers and action plans to help develop those competencies. The ideal candidate is a successful individual contributor who was recently promoted or is being considered for promotion to a supervision or management position. Contact us to learn more.