Metals USA
What We Did
  • Script Writing
  • Story + Character Design
  • Video Production
  • Photography
Awards & Mentions
  • Brandon Hall Award
  • Best Use of Video for Learning

The Problem

As an industrial metal manufacturer, Metals USA was suffering a mass exodus of seasoned employees retiring. While younger workers with great work ethic were being promoted to first-level leadership positions to fill the gap, they lacked necessary skills to manage people. Great work ethic doesn’t translate to great leadership. It’s an entirely new skill.

Metals tried to close generational gap through training, but there was conflict between the two groups. Soon-to-be retirees felt the new leaders didn’t deserve the positions and younger managers felt they knew it all because of their past record. 

The Solution

Sage Media’s solution was to pepper video clips into the existing training. The clips were linked by a central narrative around Greg, a diligent production line worker who moves up the ranks to become a boss. While Greg is the exemplar assembler, he struggles to empower his team as a leader – often forcing his way to do the job himself (the “right” way) or using carrot-and-stick approaches that simply don’t work.

This storytelling approach got managers to immediately see the impact of their actions without feeling threatened. Greg wasn’t an exaggerated failure. He was a strong employee with great work ethic who simply lacked key resources. Metal USA’s learners identified with Greg and, through him, recognized their own shortcomings.

The Results

The impact was instant and measurable. Some trainees stepped out during breaks to call their team leaders to talk about what they learned. After a six-month evaluation, here are some of the other results from the training:


of managers actually used tools taught in Foundations of Leadership


of participants saw marked performance improvements within their teams


of viewers actively recommended the training to peers

Films That Change Behavior

Emotionally Intelligent Media That Engages Discussion