NJPA | Case Study

Location: Staples, MN

100 Employees

Industry: Gov, Edu, & Non-Profit

Article on GiANT’s work with NJPA and Their Clients

Developing Leadership GiANTs in Central Minnesota

If nobody pays attention to organizational culture it will just happen, and the end result may not be the workplace you desire. We have selected and leverage GiANT to provide tools, training, and methodologies that will help us build and sustain a workplace culture to attract and retain great employees. This choice has proven to be critical as we continue to grow very rapidly.

– Chad Coauette, Director of NJPA


NJPA is a contracting agency for government and education agencies based in the US and Canada with over $2 billion in revenues.


NJPA (National Joint Powers Alliance) is a State of Minnesota chartered contract purchasing agency providing pre-bid for-profit company contract solutions for 50,000 education, government and non-profit organizations in the United States and Canada. This year NJPA will process $2 billion in sales while projecting continued rapid growth into the years ahead. NJPA’s nimble entrepreneurial culture breaks the stereotype of government intransigence and offers a working model for effective partnership between private and public sectors.

This accelerated expansion has resulting in staffing increases of 30% per year and every new employee entering the NJPA culture faces one of two challenges: recruits from other public sector agencies are often stunned by the “free-market” mindset of this government entity and have no frame of reference for adjusting to their results- driven mindset. Employees coming from business however are often baffled by the passion of the NJPA culture generated outside any profit incentive. Each side struggles to assimilate the uniquely ingenious NJPA culture.


GiANT Worldwide first partnered with NJPA three years ago to create a common organizational culture “bridge” spanning the chasm between existing and incoming employees. GiANT has accomplished this objective with three initiatives:

  1. Language creates culture; therefore, GiANT taught simple, scalable and sustainable leadership principles in a “sticky” visual-tool language accessible to all NJPA employees. GiANT then helped NJPA apply these principles into daily, real time challenges through cross-functional groups of seven individuals. We call these CORE Groups.
  2. GiANT developed an intentional “apprenticeship” training process where new employees or emerging leaders could pull competencies of NJPA’s legacy leaders who relay, 1) the unique narrative of the organization, 2) the values that drive decisions, 3) the specific skills required to bridge the public and private sectors, 4) the relational network of trusted relationships that comprise NJPA’s circles of influence.
  3. GiANT guided NJPA leaders as they contextualized the visual leadership language into NJPA’s own organizational “constitution” – vision, values, structure and strategy. The deliverable here is their own NJPA Leadership Toolkit.”

As our Senior Leadership Team focuses on a balanced approach regarding organizational culture, business strategy, and continuous improvement, GiANT solutions have proven themselves as a key component of our organizational culture work. The GiANT consultants, the simple-to-use toolkit, and the apprenticeship system have allowed our team to make this OUR system. The corresponding results have made true impact on our organization.

– Chad Coauette, Director of NJPA


GiANT’s partnership with NJPA has generated remarkable and measurable results:

  • NJPA has used GiANT-inspired communication rules of engagement to successfully navigate political challenges surrounding their initiative to complete a physical plant expansion doubling its usable square footage and significantly extending its technological capacity.
  • GiANT’s apprenticeship process guided NJPA through a challenging three-year executive succession: Their highly effective business development director just retired after apprenticing his replacement.
  • This year NJPA is “paying forward” their own success in leadership development by helping create a nationwide “leadership academy” for public school superintendents.
  • On February 22, 2017 Chad Coauette, Executive Director of NJPA stood before his staff and introduced the culmination of his organization’s partnership with GiANT – the NJPA Leadership Toolkit, incorporating the NJPA mission and values with GiANT’s visually depicted communication rules of engagement. Chad announced that NJPA would now “take up the baton” of leadership development, and he invited GiANT into a mutually beneficial commitment to expand liberating leadership across the nation. In GiANT’s metric of success, there is no higher accomplishment.

Our organization has been growing quickly and experienced many levels of change in a short time period. By adopting the GiANT Leadership language, toolkit, and core group process, we’ve been able to address and tackle challenges that otherwise could have derailed our positive progress. No matter the challenge your organization is facing, the GiANT Leadership system will effectively walk alongside you in creating and maintaining the culture you desire.

– Paul Drange, Director of Regional Programs