- Getting Out of Your Comfort ZoneIn 23 years' split between Microsoft’s executive suites and the crammed schoolrooms of the developing world, John has come to understand the perils of the comfort zone and the empowerment that comes with leaving it behind. “We get soft. We get complacent. And that’s the death knell for soon-to-be-great organizations.” John speaks from experience – in swapping the boardroom for the schoolroom, he stepped further out of his bubble than he’d ever thought possible. Today, after helping educate nearly 8 million children in 10 developing countries, John is living proof that opportunity awaits those with the audacity to venture beyond familiar boundaries. Companies, like people, can be drawn to the habitual and the routine. But in his talks to audiences around the world, John dares his listeners to look beyond business as usual, and argues that while good organizations find strong solutions to old problems, the great ones find exciting new problems to solve as well. He draws on his experiences to fire up the crowd with examples of what’s possible when “safe thinking” is left behind.At the conclusion of the talk, John leads audience members through a short exercise with a big impact. He asks everyone in the attendance to pull out pen and paper and write down “three things you vow to do to get outside your comfort zone – one thing today, one this month, and one this year.” By then sharing their pledges with a trusted co-worker – an “anti-comfort zone ally” – they turn an otherwise-abstract pledge into a concrete responsibility. Hundreds leave the room with a commitment to breaking old logjams, innovating, and taking risks in a way that will drive progress in their teams, their divisions, and their company.
- Re-Imagining Leadership
John teaches managerial courage in classrooms and business conferences around the globe. Speaking to MBA students and executives alike, he inspires audiences to think differently and more boldly about what they can accomplish as leaders. He insists that audacious goals attract audacious people, and that when they work together in an organization that inspires and recognizes innovation, there are no problems they can’t solve. John contends that leaders must be continually disruptive – finding better ways to do business and challenging not only their organizations, but themselves in a quest for continual improvement. His brand of leadership balances an uncompromising commitment to the bottom line with deep organizational humility – a willingness to acknowledge problems and consider solutions no matter the source. At Microsoft, that might have been a junior employee’s fix for an inefficient supply chain. At Room to Read, it could be a volunteer’s plan for a farmer’s market to wean rural libraries off foreign aid. In both cases – and in all cases – the best idea must win the day. In this presentation, John talks candidly about his evolution as a leader and some of the lessons he’s learned along the way.
- Setting Great Expectations and finding Great People to meet them
- Absolute Accountability
- Reaching out to the World
- Scaling Success Lessons on Growth, Scalability and Continuous Improvement
John shares his model for massively scalable growth with business, university and non-profit audiences around the world. His experience has made him an authority on overcoming the obstacles of culture, language, geography and technology to grow a truly global organization, and his insights on the promises and pitfalls of rapid expansion – gleaned through experience, intuition and trial and error – are sought by leaders everywhere.
Key insights in this talk include:
- Bold Goals attract Bold People
- The War on Talent
- Doing More with Less