Eight AZP managers met over the summer and combined their skills and experience to build the AZP Leaders Program. Launched Fall 2019, the program (also facilitated by AZP managers) includes four 1-day modules that cover skills such as building effective work relationships, setting SMART goals, budgeting, situational leadership, and performance management.
AZP Leaders Program modules are hosted off-site at Isothermal Community College in their brand-new Engineering Technology and Workforce Development Building. Yes, there’s food, there’s yoga, and there’s journaling and reflection during the modules…but there is also homework. In addition to the modules, Leaders Program participants must choose a “Work Application Task” or “WAT” project. The purpose of the WAT project is twofold: First, it challenges leaders to practice the skills learned in the modules. Second, each project aims to improve a process or area at AZP, but leaders must work with others to achieve the goal. With roughly 50 AZP leaders who attended the Fall 2019 program, that’s 50 WAT projects that will improve AZP!
“Our success as a company depends on the ability of our leaders to communicate safety, goals, and directives. They need to support, coach, and continually develop our front lines.” -Simon Joy, Operations Manager
At AZP, each department relies on the others for success. Another goal of the Leaders Program is to build positive working relationships across the plant. Participants work in different areas with job titles such as Lab Lead, Maintenance Supe rvisor, Operations Lead, General Foreman, Railmaster, and Logistics Manager. As part of the program, cross-functional Leadership Groups meet bi-weekly to review skills learned in the modules, discuss how they are using the skills in their areas, and mentor each other when challenges arise.
When the last module is complete, the AZP Leaders Program will continue with monthly cross-functional group meetings and potentially future modules. There will be another AZP Leaders Program session in Winter 2020 to include newly hired leaders and those who could not attend the first round of modules.
It’s important to understand that the AZP Leaders Program isn’t a one-time event—It’s an ongoing program and once you’re in it, you’re always in it.