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Organizational Transformation – Practical lessons learned from the trenches

I’ve lived through, led, and been a part of more organizational transformation efforts in the past 20 years than I would have ever imagined coming out of graduate school naively thinking I had a firm handle on methodologies for leading transformation and the psychology of the workplace. Some of these transformations have been successful; others have been so painfully unsuccessful that group therapy might have been nice. In this series, I speak about real transformation stories with real people, practical realities, and strange, unpredictable, and sometimes just down right ridiculous situations that arise in every transformation effort that must be addressed in navigating the sometimes long, arduous, difficult and often messy business of organizational transformation work.

Just because people followed me didn’t make me a good leader – Lessons in leadership learned the hard way from having been a young, and kind of immature VP

There’s an expression that is used frequently in the corporate world when the topic of leadership comes up: “Do you know how you can tell if you are a good leader?  Look behind you and see if anyone is there.” Whereas this is very true in terms of addressing the common misnomer that just because someone has a high level leadership title that they inevitably have people who will follow them. But what if you looked behind you and there were actually lots of people following you but you didn’t have the experience or sense to know that you might be taking them down the wrong road? Many young leaders have natural attraction and draw others to follow them but this doesn’t necessarily make them good leaders. I was one of these so called leaders and had to learn many important leadership lessons the hard way. In this series, I speak about these lessons with humorous but real stories I’ve experienced navigating the gauntlet of jumping to higher levels of leadership quickly.

Defining your leadership brand – Why having one is critical in building followership

Who are you? What is your authentic voice? What differentiates you? These questions may seem soft and more like something you’d be thinking about in the meditation module of a self-help retreat than in the hard driving, bottom line corporate world. But more and more, being an authentic leader who has a clearly definable and authentic human voice is the difference between being a leader who people follow until they get to the wall and being a leader who people follow through the wall. In this series, I speak about how to create your leadership brand and then live it every day through your behaviors at work.

Influencing people in the corporate world without having any positional authority whatsoever

When I worked in management and leadership roles inside of organizations, if I couldn’t influence someone to do something at work, I certainly felt bad but still took home a paycheck (unless, of course, I couldn’t ever influence anyone to do anything at any time, in which case I should have been re-evaluating my career choice). Sometimes, when all else failed I used my title or role power to just make it happen. Sometimes, you just need to use the hammer. Things are different now. I’m a consultant leading a small boutique practice. I have no role power. I have no authority whatsoever. I have no hammer. But If I can’t influence my clients, I won’t have any clients. That’s a pretty big problem. So I’ve gotten pretty darn good at influencing with nothing to use but my personality traits and a strategic sense for how to navigate often cumbersome and difficult roads towards making change or driving decisions. Real stories. Real experiences. Real situations. What’s worked and what hasn’t…and why.

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