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Mid-level managers train to address university business issues

OHR's Mastering Leadership Program
January 22, 2015

The Arizona State University Office of Human Resources (OHR) leadership training program helps ASU leaders solve critical university problems.

The LINAU: Mastering Leadership (ML) program is specifically for mid-level managers who already supervise classified and university staff members. The LINAU: ML program has graduated almost 80 leaders since 2010 and is one of two OHR training classes known as Leadership in the New American University (LINAU).

“The LINAU program goal is to foster leaders who can contribute to building the New American University,” said Cory Dillon, OHR’s director of leadership and workforce development. According to Dillon, more than 25 percent of the graduates have been either promoted at the university or taken a higher-level position outside the university.

Each year, the LINAU team works with executive leaders to identify three university business issues class participants can tackle. As proof of the program’s success, senior leadership has adopted several previous LINAU: ML projects, including the Sustainability Initiatives Revolving Fund (SIRF), an ASU bike share program and a mobile safety app concept for the ASU Police Department.

The 2014 LINAU: ML class addressed these three issues:

• tracking ASU’s more than 12,000 capital assets scattered throughout the world
• retention strategies to retain valuable staff members
• ways for program graduates to continue their leadership development while also giving back to this training program

“This year, we also added a module on talent management and succession planning to foster staff career growth and encourage leaders to take a 30,000 foot view of their bench strength and address concerns,” Dillon said.

During the intensive eight-month LINAU: ML program, participants devote hundreds of hours to assessments, business cases, blogs, presentations and reading. Class members work individually and as part of teams and form lasting bonds and professional networks. They also learn to use social learning, organizational knowledge and strategic thinking to create positive change.

To further the learning experience, each team includes people with differing personalities, communication preferences and work experiences. On seven of the eight program days, participants must do presentations, which help them physically understand the concepts of presence, leadership and the centered state. They also learn to manage touchy situations with a mix of objectivity and curiosity.

The 16 most recent graduates were honored at a Dec. 4 celebration that featured presentations on their three business projects, a celebratory luncheon and certificates of completion. The 2014 class included 16 participants from across the university:

10 participants from Business and Finance units:

• Financial Services
• Office of Human Resources
• Office of Planning and Budget
• University Business Services
• University Technology Office

Six participants from:

• College of Liberal Arts and Sciences School of Mathematics and Statistical Sciences and School of Social Transformation
• Ira A. Fulton School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment
• Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development
• Provost’s Office of Academic Partnerships

Following the Dec. 4 presentations, OHR committed to applying many of the recommended retention strategies. Morgan Olsen, executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer at ASU, immediately committed to support the initiative to encourage program graduates to give back to the program. The third project, tracking capital assets, will be continued this year to add depth and develop specific, workable solutions.

The ASU Office of Business and Finance, and its units that nominate program participants, fund the training program. LINAU: ML is currently accepting nominations and applications until Feb. 1 for its 2015 program, which begins March 24.