Leading:

Fostering inspired, courageous and caring execution

Speaking Topics

Click on each topic for an in depth description.

Instructional Methodology

Cultivating Courage

In my research I have found that courage is not just an individual psychological trait, but one that can be actively cultivated in others. This is crucially important because, as managers, we need our employees to not just call our attention to things that are amiss (as in the case of whistleblowers), but because customers and clients have increasingly high expectations that must be met. Instilling courage means that top managers must not only demonstrate this quality themselves, but also foster it among others. As market turbulence around us continues unabated, courage can be the new currency for organizational success.

Giving people the mere permission to make decisions isn’t enough, because most people still need to feel a sense of direction. This means that you have to cultivate in them the courage to make the right decisions on their own — and not just on a day-to-day basis, because you will never have the specific information, at any given moment, that they have. An organizational courage quotient that builds in a capacity for risk-taking and the tolerance for failures allows the company as a whole to learn and try again.

In this interactive lecture we will use a series of historical and contemporary cases to explore how learning to act with courage entails developing a purposeful and powerful self-narrative, or “narrative identity” as psychologists call it. Each of us has embedded within us a story of ourselves, based on our past experiences, that shapes our behavior. My research shows that leaders can trigger courage when they help others to reframe their self-narratives in specific ways. Some of these re-framings include: “Am I playing a heroic part in a virtuous quest? Do I feel that I have my teammate’s back, and that she has mine? If I’m facing a daunting task, does my manager support rather than punish me? Am I achieving mastery in my job? Am I trusted to act under my own power?” By helping followers answer these questions in the affirmative for themselves, leaders can encourage them to become courageous leaders in their own rights. We will use in-class exercises how each of us can be a catalyst for courageous action not only within ourselves but also in those around us.

Resilient Leadership

As business leaders face increasingly uncertain markets they have to sometimes face unprecedented adversity and setbacks that may sometimes even look insurmountable. Facing up to such circumstances requires resilient leadership. This interactive lecture will provide a comprehensive model for how to develop and guide resilient leadership within organizations. It will also provide a detailed assessment of the actions of resilient leaders and some thoughts on how to develop such a leadership pipeline within your organization. Resilient leaders have to grapple with tremendous market uncertainty with no easy answers while at once projecting confidence to motivate their teams. What are the secrets to balancing determination to succeed with the flexibility to adapt to changing conditions. It will conclude with a personal leadership roadmap for those seeking to develop those skills in themselves.

Leading the Top Team

Leaders of a top management teams have to balance showing direction with including their team members in shaping the direction of their organizations. This interactive lecture will provide a comprehensive model for how to build, leverage, and guide successful top management teams. We will explore how leaders leverage their teams to shape and then mobilize impactful change within organizations. It will also provide a detailed assessment of the actions of successful leaders and some thoughts on how to develop such a leadership pipeline within your organization. It will conclude with a personal leadership roadmap for those seeking to develop those skills in themselves. Some of the topics discussed will include:

  • Leadership as dynamic relationship between managing vertically and horizontally
  • Mobilizing and driving change to adapt to turbulent market conditions
  • Embracing a mindset of playing to win
  • Skills and behaviors of a real change leader
Leading from Within

This lecture will focus on the inner journey of leadership. We will examine how leaders not only manage others around them but also themselves. Using illustrative cases and recent research we will discuss how outstanding leaders are equally adept at managing others as they are themselves. We will start with a discussion of how adept leaders understand their capabilities and their goals. But they also dig beneath them to uncover their underlying drivers, values and purpose. We will then explore how leaders who comprehend all these facets of themselves become authentic and impactful leaders within their organizations.

Leading Meaningful Behavioral Change

One way in which behavior is perpetuated is through our “hidden commitments” that are manifest at the organizational level through the culture, team level through local cultural beliefs, and also at the individual level through our own individual beliefs. Research suggests that an awareness of such beliefs can mitigate their limiting features. In this exercise we will uncover some of the productive and counter-productive hidden commitments we face at the organization-level, our business-unit level, and within ourselves. We will explore how we can reshape the counter-productive commitments while accentuating the productive commitments as we embark forward as a leader.

Leading In A Matrix Organization

This interactive lecture will provide a comprehensive model for how to develop and guide successful leadership within matrix organizations. It will also provide a detailed assessment of the actions of successful leaders and some thoughts on how to develop such a leadership pipeline within your organization. Such leaders struggle to grapple with tremendous organizational uncertainty with no easy answers while at once projecting confidence to motivate their teams. What are the secrets to balancing determination to succeed with the flexibility to adapt to changing conditions in a matrix organizations. It will conclude with a personal leadership roadmap for those seeking to develop those skills in themselves. Some of the topics discussed will include:

  • Leadership as dynamic relationship between managing vertically and horizontally in a global organization
  • Mobilizing and driving change to adapt to turbulent market conditions in such conditions
  • Embracing a mindset of playing to win
  • Skills and behaviors of a real change leader in matrix organizations
Playing to Win

Sports coaches frequently refer to the notion of “playing to win” versus “playing not to lose.” Business executives have embraced this distinction as a way to comprehend a common pathology in many large organizations. Using this sports metaphor, we will discuss how the most effective business people shift their mindset from playing not to lose towards playing to win. We will not only define these two extremes but then discuss strategies that winning coaches use to get their teams to become winning teams. Lessons that emerge from this with broader application will be discussed. We will elaborate on this distinction to uncover what it means for you as a leader personally, but also for how you might lead your organizations going forward.  Some of the topics discussed will include:

  • What is playing to win?
  • What is playing not to lose? Why do many individuals and organizations fall under the spell of playing not to lose?
  • How do large and successful organizations overcome the spell of playing not to lose and shift towards playing to win?
  • What are some leadership imperatives for making this shift?
Global Leadership in Turbulent Times

This interactive lecture will provide a comprehensive model for how to develop and guide successful global leadership within organizations. It will also provide a detailed assessment of the actions of successful leaders and some thoughts on how to develop such a leadership pipeline within your organization. Such leaders struggle to grapple with tremendous market uncertainty with no easy answers while at once projecting confidence to motivate their teams. What are the secrets to balancing determination to succeed with the flexibility to adapt to changing conditions. It will conclude with a personal leadership roadmap for those seeking to develop those skills in themselves. Some of the topics discussed will include:

  • Leadership as dynamic relationship between managing vertically and horizontally in a global organization
  • Mobilizing and driving change to adapt to turbulent market conditions in varying global contexts
  • Embracing a mindset of playing to win in an uncertain global context
  • Skills and behaviors of a real change leader who adapt to changing global conditions
Transformational leadership for turbulent times: pathways for driving deep change

What are some successful pathways to driving deep change within your organizations? This interactive lecture will provide a comprehensive model for how to develop and guide successful change within organizations. It will also provide a detailed assessment of the actions of successful leaders and some thoughts on how to develop such a leadership pipeline within your organization. The focus is not just on senior leadership but also on those in the middle. It will provide a personal leadership roadmap for those seeking to develop those skills in themselves. Some of the topics discussed will include:

  • Leadership as dynamic relationship between managing vertically and horizontally
  • Mobilizing and driving change to adapt to turbulent market conditions
  • Embracing a mindset of playing to win
  • Skills and behaviors of a real change leader
  • How to operate as a leader without much formal power
  • Mobilizing and driving change from the middle
Leading and Managing Organizational Change

The vast majority of both major and minor change initiatives in enterprises fail. In this session we examine some of the typical pitfalls that firms face when they embark on change initiatives. We look at new models of successful change and consider both the role of leaders and also of followers in initiating and managing the successful transformation inside organizations. Some of the topics discussed will include:

  • How to define a change strategy inside your organization
  • A roadmap for executing a change strategy that works
  • Balancing top-down with bottom-up initiatives
  • Key pitfalls in leading change efforts inside your organization