During one of the first days of Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger Advanced Leadership Development Program, a prompt asked “What would success with this program look like? What would success in a year look like to you?”
Kaitlyn Whiton, a project manager at Discern Health in Mount Vernon, Va., answered “Getting promoted.”
ALDP is designed for midlevel managers who have high potential and aspire to contribute more to their company and grow their career. Several weeks after finishing the program Whiton got promoted to senior project manager.
“That’s what it is all about!” said Scott Moores, Loyola University Maryland’s executive education director said during a conference call after Whiton broke the news of her promotion.
While Whiton knew being a senior project manager meant managing timelines and projects, she notes ALDP showed her the importance of leadership skills.
“I am not (just) managing a timeline and a budget,” she said. “Those are important but you are managing people and those relationships are important and how do you build better relationships with your team and organization.”
Moores notes industries see many people get promoted because of their acumen in a particular area such as the employee with the largest sales becomes the sales manager.
“Just because you are good in your functional area doesn’t mean you are cut out to be or prepared to be a supervisor,” he said. “Once and awhile you are fortunate, you might promote somebody that is good at what they do and they’ve got these people skills but in most cases, they really need to be learned and practiced and that is what we do in our classrooms. We try to minimize lecture and maximize the case discussions and the interactive exchange of the participants so they can really live it and bring their own experiences into the classroom.”
Executive education and training may be utilized by a wide scope of employees such as those that are showing management potential early in their careers to individuals who are seasoned and wish to expand their skills.
Michael Friia, Vice President/Senior Client Manager of PSA Insurance and Financial Services, was one of four of the firm’s employees to recently complete ALDP. He plans to use the knowledge and tools he gained through the experience as a company retention tool to identify traits they see to recognize potential future leaders and offer them executive education opportunities.
Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business offers a number of executive education options focusing on middle management in areas such as health care, leadership, management and business communication. They also offer customizable options as well.
“The challenges that we face in the workplace are evolving,” said Chris Meyers, assistant professor and faculty director for executive education. “They are complicated, complex and we need ongoing support and advice and opportunity to really step back and try to figure out ‘How do I make the best of myself and the best of the situations that I am in in my organization?’ and so I think that applies quite broadly and we see a broad group of people who come into our programs and get a lot of value out of them.”
Meyers notes these programs are not just for degree students. They are for “everybody at that mid-management level who knows that the skills that got them to their current role are not going to be the same skills that will take them to that next roll or that next step and they want to seek out an opportunity to advance their own development,” he said.
Pam Williams, JHU assistant dean for executive education, believes companies are looking to develop their talent.
“They feel like there is a talent crisis out there so companies are looking to further develop and retain their talent and develop their workforce,” she said. “The market is changing. We are in a constant changing marketplace with technology disrupting a lot of the trends so people need to (increase their skills.) … It costs a lot to recruit and hire employees so companies are now looking at plans to retain and develop their workforce. They are looking to partner with educational institutions to develop management and leadership and specific skills.”