Success Story: Elevating Wny’s Favorite Bubble Hockey Company

How Catapult assisted ICE with their leadership development efforts

Innovative Concepts in Entertainment (ICE) has been a manufacturer of leading amusement and arcade games since 1982. ICE is a developer of high-quality, coin-operated amusement and redemption games. They have emerged as an industry-leading producer of sports games for the home, arcade and office. The Clarence-based company sells their products in over 70 different countries around the globe.

Most know ICE as the inventor of Super Chexx bubble hockey, a game that has been beloved since its introduction in the 1980s. Whether at the arcade or in the basement, ICE adds an entirely new dimension to family game night. Family and fun are the essence of its culture and values.

When ICE partnered with Catapult in 2019, they were in the midst of having their most successful year in history. Although ICE prided itself on culture and people, the owners realized they would not be able to sustain their growth and success without an investment in developing key leaders.

In December 2018, ICE founder Ralph Coppola passed away. While the company was extremely successful, Ralph’s son and new CEO, Joe Coppola, knew that the company needed to look to its next generation of leaders to continue to thrive.

We asked Coppola why he decided to work with Catapult and what he and his team learned from the experience. The ICE CEO was hoping his team would be able to figure out what type of leaders they were, and with that understanding, begin to develop their emotional intelligence skills. That’s what Catapult worked to facilitate.

Why did you choose to work with Catapult?

Joe Coppola: As a 39-year-old company that prides itself on our culture and our people, we recognized we have so much room for growth internally right within our own organization. After one meeting with Catapult, we knew we had found the right partner to help lead an organizational development plan for some of our key operational leaders.

Catapult’s experience in private industry and the style and approach to working with our team was immediately effective in bringing out full engagement from our people. The Catapult team created an environment where our leaders – each with very different personalities and skill sets – felt comfortable opening up and embracing the Catapult process and development plan.

What were some highlights of the Catapult leadership program?

Joe Coppola: Catapult started by clarifying the roles and expectations of the participants and executives for the program to succeed. Participants were part of the design and fully engaged and interested throughout the process.

The program started with our associates getting to know themselves through assessments and 360-degree feedback. Our people really opened their eyes as they took the time to understand who they are and how they are perceived.

Plus, each participant created an Individual Development Plan. Our participants felt ownership of their development and were deeply appreciative of the support of their leaders in its creation.

On the team side, they worked on a relevant business challenge which ended up improving the projects and planning of our Sales & Operations team. Catapult also provided classroom instruction to assist the participants in understanding key elements of effective leadership and teams.

Our HR Leader is ensuring continuous learning is part of our culture by following up on the Individual Development Plans and by having monthly book clubs where different leaders facilitate the conversation.

What effect has Catapult had on your team?

Joe Coppola: Our culture has been reinvigorated with learning, communication, teamwork and a united focus on results.

We were so impressed with the outcome of our first experience with Catapult guiding our operations team that we have now engaged them on a second project working with our sales leaders. I expect Catapult will be a key partner of our company for many years to come as we continue to invest in our most important asset – our people.

What effect will Catapult have on ICE going forward?

Joe Coppola: Catapult helped our employees figure out what kind of leaders they really are. With that knowledge, they are able to create individual goals and monitor their progress toward reaching them. This is bringing positive change to both our people and our organization.

Find out more about ICE >


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