To achieve this goal, the College (using an inclusive process that involved managers, faculty, staff and students) developed a comprehensive plan for enhancing its leadership capacity. The task groups and staff who developed the leadership implementation plan conducted surveys and focus groups and investigated "best practices" in the field of leadership development. The resulting multi-faceted and comprehensive leadership development program was designed using the evidence-based models of the Center for Creative Leadership and the work of Puccio, Murdock and Mance and Michael Mumford. The basic assumptions of the models that are incorporated into the design of Buffalo State's Leadership Initiative are:
- Leadership is teachable - the key capacities needed for effective leadership - self-awareness, systemic thinking and creativity - can be developed;
- Leadership development processes that integrate various experiences and embed them in the organizational context are more likely to be effective;
- Leadership development happens most effectively in situations where the individual is challenged to develop new skills and behaviors, is assessed on how well those skills are being utilized, and in an environment that supports and encourages trying new skills;
- Effective leadership behavior depends on a leader's ability to solve the kinds of complex, social problems that arise in organizations;
- Leadership performance can be enhanced by improving creative problem solving skills, social judgement skills, and domain knowledge
 Center for Creative Leadership Handbook of Leadership Development, McCauley, Moxley, VanVelsor, Ed., Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 1998
Mumford, M.D., et.al., (2000). Leadership Skills for a Changing World: Solving Complex Social Problems. Leadership Quarterly, 11 (1). 11-35. Puccio, G.J., Murdock, M.C., and Mance, M. (2007). Creative Leadership: Skills that drive change. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.