What most notably stands out about your leadership style or what is an example of leadership success you can share with our readers?
I think one of the keys to leadership is adaptability. Technology is changing the marketplace so rapidly that if you aren’t able to adapt your leadership style — and, ultimately, your product — in accordance with what the market is demanding, failure is imminent. This is a core concept we teach at the ASU Leadership Institute — a program for up-and-coming and current leaders for professional and personal leadership development.
In addition, as I’ve evolved as a leader, I’ve become more willing to re-evaluate and regroup for new approaches to solving problems; I engage in more one-on-one conversations, away from group dynamics; and I am always more interested in the options of how to achieve something versus the arguments against something. I have a strong commitment to the logic of “yes, and.”
What impact has COVID-19 or the disruptions of the past 18 months had on you as a leader?
COVID-19 and the ensuing disruptions have completely reinforced the need for adaptability and reinforced our role as being of service to the community. ASU had to pivot to remote learning in a matter of days, and we marshalled all our resources to help fight COVID — from developing and deploying the first saliva-based test in the Southwest, to making and delivering PPE, to training K–12 teachers in best practices in digital learning.
The work of the ASU community during COVID-19 has never made me prouder and it has completely reinvigorated me as a leader as to what the possibilities are when we all come together to tackle problems.
What do you feel we can be doing as a business community to empower economic growth here?
Technology and innovation are vital to Arizona’s long-term economic outlook as the impact of a new economy reshapes our lives; industries; the workplace; and the education, training and skills people need to get and keep good-paying jobs.
Arizona’s business and education community need to work together to prepare and educate the workforce of tomorrow and to help businesses adapt to these changes. And we need to continue to encourage the state to strategically invest in areas that support the new economy. ASU Science and Technology Centers (Energy & Materials and Advanced Manufacturing) are designed to partner directly with businesses to help them innovate, discover and expand on the research, development and manufacturing front. Companies can test ideas at ASU to determine market-level scale. Further, ASU can work with the business community to help launch startups, make connections and identify new research opportunities, source seed funding, and work to help companies and their employees get trained or re-trained for the jobs needed by industry and in job opportunities attractive to people shifting careers.
What is new and notable for your company’s near future that will impact our economy?
ASU is focused on being a catalyst for the new economy. Our engineering school is home to more 25,000 students and we graduate thousands of engineers and technologists each year. These graduates provide a deep pool of talent that attracts major companies to the state, starts new companies and provides research and development skills that help companies that are here grow and prosper.
ASU has launched a new engineering school specifically focused on advanced manufacturing to support the national and local efforts to bring microchip manufacturing back to the U.S. and Arizona.
And, as engineering and technology touches nearly every facet of life, we’re harnessing the intellectual power of teams from nearly every discipline across the university to support the new economy. ASU is and will continue to provide the full extent of its resources to be an asset to the state, to cities and towns, to private sector business and public sector institutions as this competition evolves.
Name of Leader: Michael M. Crow
Position of Leader: President
University Name: Arizona State University
No. of Years with University: 20
Main Local Office Address: 1151 S. Forest Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281
Phone: (855) 278-5080
Number of campuses in Greater Phoenix: 4
Year Established Locally: 1885
City Nationally Headquartered: Tempe