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Wednesday, 16 May 2012 22:33

GVSU project to help managers get needed training

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GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Valley State University's latest venture seeks to grow management talent in the region.

The university this spring formed the Center for Leadership & Innovation as part of the Seidman College of Business to provide training for middle managers at businesses across West Michigan.

The center seeks to fill what the university sees as a void in the market for training mid- to upper-level managers and people with high potential, founding Manager Paul Heroman said. The center's objective is to "help managers develop in-field decision making capability and practical tools to handle the ever-increasing challenges of today's business environment," Heroman said.

Much of the leadership training available today is focused on executives and senior managers, Heroman said. Training options are somewhat limited for people in management positions just below them, such as department heads, who want to develop their skills, he said.

"We'll look for emerging leaders and help them be successful in the future," Heroman said.

The typical enrollee is probably a manager whose position has them in charge of three or four employees, he said.

In his several years of running businesses and not-for-profit organizations, as well as his own leadership consulting firm, Heroman has witnessed numerous occasions where a person was elevated to management without proper training, he said.

"They were put in a position of authority and they had no idea of how to lead people," Heroman said. "It's a real need out there in the marketplace."
Heroman expects the Center for Leadership & Innovation to host its first three-day class of up to 15 people this fall. He's already been in contact with five companies in the Grand Rapids area that are "very interested" in sending staff to the center.

Fees for the training sessions are undetermined.

Training topics and curriculum are still under development, although he hopes each class can focus on a particular area of management such as conflict resolution, strategic planning, team dynamics, dealing with financial issues and dealing with innovation.

In planning training programs, Heroman wants to avoid covering generalities and focus on specific management talents.

"We don't want a scatter-gun approach. We don't want to have something you could read in a book and say, 'Oh, I read a book on it,'" he said. "We have to bring value to the marketplace."

Heroman envisions the center potentially hosting one training session per quarter for the first 18 months and then expanding programming based on the resources available from within and outside of the university.

As he seeks to engage the business community and form partnerships, Heroman sees the marketplace as helping to define the center's programming.

"What a better way to do it?" he said. "If the market says, 'Hey, look it, we need to have this,' and it starts a conversation, pretty cool. That's where the value is."

Heroman has more than 30 years of experience in management positions in a variety of industries, including life sciences, printing and packaging. He earned an executive MBA in 2011 from the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business and is the owner of Heroman Leadership in Grand Rapids.

Read 1507 times Last modified on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 14:15

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