Jordan Lindstrom was drawn to Leadership and Organizational Development because of his background in human resources and training and development.
We had the opportunity to ask him several questions regarding his experience at Holy Family College's Master of Science in Leadership and Organizational Development.
When did you graduate from the LOD program at Holy Family College?
I graduated in May 2018.
Tell me a little bit about yourself. What’s your name, age, and hometown?
Jordan Lindstrom, 26, originally from Brookfield, WI. I currently live in Sheboygan, WI. I have worked at Acuity for 3.5 years in Human Resources, specifically in organizational development functions.
What drew you to Leadership and Organizational Development specifically?
I wanted a program that aligned with my career progression in HR and training and development. I knew I wanted my career to continue towards training and development, so this program would improve my own credibility in my organization.
I also hoped I could work on projects that directly related to my job, although I wasn’t sure if that would be the case. However, all the coursework I reviewed prior met my goals as I was given an opportunity to take over Acuity’s training and development program for managers.
Want to know more about why a graduate degree in Leadership and Organizational Development could change your career? Check out our recent blog post for a deep dive into how this program fits the needs of Wisconsin’s economy!
How closely have you worked with Jim Begotka, assistant professor of business and the director of the LOD program and other faculty? Was there a faculty member who made a significant impact in your education and why?
Very closely. Jim is one of the reasons I stayed in the program. He has an incredible passion for the content and his students. I still stay in touch with Jim and we meet regularly even after graduation. I am now a member of the LOD advisory board, which meets several times per year. I have considered teaching and developing curriculum if Jim sees that as fitting the program needs.
What kind of practical skills did you learn while studying LOD at Holy Family College?
- Big Picture Thinking. I have always enjoyed looking at a project from a big picture perspective. This program showed me if you don’t do that, your training often won’t be impactful as training outcomes can become unimportant or not relevant to the goals.
- Transfer of Learning. One of the more important aspects I have taken with me is transfer of learning. While I can deliver content, if it isn’t changing behavior, then I haven’t done my job. This also brings up key questions for evaluating training: did I train in a way that I can measure the impact? My key takeaways: training must provide application/practice within the session, or I must be present after trainees go back to their jobs to ensure they are held accountable to the content.
- Understand the audience. I’ve also learned the importance of understanding my audience. In my organization, this is especially important as I am training managers who have been in their profession and are experts in their field. I am not an expert in their field but have to build rapport and trust so they use me as a resource in areas they may not be an expert (HR, law, performance management, etc).
- Design Thinking. Design thinking is essential. Customers/trainees needs and insights must be incorporated into training and outcomes.
More generally, I was able to see ways to impact my organization because of the program.
Whether it was hearing how another organization was struggling through a peer’s insights in the program and determining how I could address that problem in my organization, or being able to identify ways my organization could improve, learning best practices in the field changed how I think about my opportunities for impact.
Was there any specific class or topic that has stood out to you, was your favorite, or challenged you the most?
I was most challenged by the levels of learning in Bloom’s Taxonomy. I think as I am more engulfed in training and doing it for longer periods, I will see the learners meet greater complexity and specificity in learning objectives and Bloom’s will become clearer.
The LOD program claims to be student centric, or focused on adding value to students, which means putting students’ needs first. What is an example of how the faculty of LOD went “the extra mile” to help you in your studies and career goals?
Jim was willing to customize nearly all of my content, while staying true to the program learning objectives. I can’t imagine that happening anywhere else. He picked up the phone several times (since I was out of the area) and walked through adjustments to my program to meet my needs. It was incredible. In class, he made everyone feel welcomed, and when someone didn’t understand a project’s objective, he was willing to take time to walk through that content.
Did you work or have a job while attending classes? How did the 8-week rotating course schedule work for you and your schedule?
I did. I worked full time in Human Resources at Acuity Insurance. I liked the 8-week focused content. I don’t think I would have learned as much with overlapping classes. While it was a lot of content in a short period, it was focused.
What is your job title now? How did the LOD program prepare you for your current job?
I still operate as a Human Resources Specialist. The LOD program, in my opinion, should change your perspective on how you look at training and development and how you tackle problems within your organization. While in the program, I revamped interview training for my company. I was able to eliminate content that didn’t align with the training goals because of insights gained from this program. I continue to re-evaluate training to ensure it aligns with organizational goals.
It’s also given me more conviction about areas of training that had frustrated me before I went through the program. I felt I should be more involved after training was completed, to ensure transfer of learning occurred, and to provide valuable insights to management as they navigate personnel issues. I was missing Level 3 of Kirkpatrick’s model, and unfortunately not a part of assessing behaviors. With my LOD experience at HFC, I now speak more confidently on the importance of transfer of learning and how it will influence our company.
In general, I am better at solving problems and providing insights to keep my team on track from a “goals” perspective.
What advice would you give to an individual thinking about Holy Family College’s LOD program?
Find ways to integrate your learning into your work. I believe I retained a lot more of the program because I would go to class/write a paper and then go apply that content the next day. I think you naturally take more from the program if you have real world experience.