Geoff Colvin      

Senior Editor-at-Large, Fortune Magazine, and Author, "Talent is Overrated," "Humans Are Underrated"

Geoff Colvin is an award-winning thinker, author, broadcaster, and speaker on the most significant trends and issues impacting business and the economy. As Fortune magazine’s Senior Editor-at-Large, Geoff has an insider’s perspective fueled by long-standing relationships with the world’s top leaders in business and government. He knows what they’re seeing, thinking, and planning and reveals how they’re leading, making choices, and responding to today’s challenges in ways that others can learn from.

In his fourth decade at Fortune, Geoff Colvin’s breadth of experience is impressive. He is one of journalism’s sharpest and most respected commentators on leadership, management, globalization, regulation, corporate governance, competition, the economy, the infotech revolution, human performance and related issues. Geoff’s regular column and frequent cover stories in Fortune have earned him millions of loyal readers. His “On Leadership” series, which appears online on Money.CNN.com, provides a compelling look at what top leaders are doing to navigate uncertain times.

Geoff is also one of America’s preeminent business broadcasters. He is heard every day on the CBS Radio Network, where he has made over 10,000 broadcasts and reaches seven million listeners each week. He has appeared on Today, The O’Reilly Factor, Good Morning America, Squawk Box, CBS This Morning, ABC’s World News Tonight, CNN, PBS’s Nightly Business Report, and dozens of other programs. He served as anchor of Wall $treet Week with Fortune on PBS, he spoke each week to the largest audience reached by any business television program in America.

As a keynote speaker, Geoff has a knack for bringing clarity to the most important and complex issues impacting business and the economy. He has spoken for scores of corporate and association conferences on six continents including dozens of high level Fortune conferences. His speeches pull together timely insights and strategies and are tailored to deliver relevant insights that help leaders understand what the future holds.

In addition to speaking Geoff is also a brilliant panel moderator, emcee and interviewer whose subjects have included Jack Welch, Henry Kissinger, Richard Branson, the Prince of Wales, Bill Gates, Alan Greenspan, Steve Case, Tony Blair, Michael Dell, Ted Turner, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke and many others.

Geoff is a respected author whose groundbreaking international bestseller, Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, has been published in a dozen languages. The Upside of the Downturn: Management Strategies for Difficult Times was named “Best Management Book of the Year” by Strategy + Business magazine. Geoff’s latest book (August, 2015) is called Humans are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will. It’s based on the idea in his wildly popular article in the 2014 Fortune 500 issue – “In The Future Will There Be Any Work Left for People to Do?” It looks at the trend of technology displacing more jobs than it creates and the ways people will create value for their organizations and their careers in the changing economy. The ideas have profound implications.

A native of Vermillion, South Dakota, Geoff Colvin is an honors graduate of Harvard with a degree in economics and has an M.B.A. from New York University.

Speech Topics


Leading Ahead of What's Next

The whole world of business is changing in deep ways -- competition, technology, government's role, and the balance of global economic power. Colvin helps leaders meet the challenges of change based on his long-standing relationships with the world's top leaders in business and government. This presentation is as fresh as the day's headlines and rich with specific, profound lessons: what's important, what isn't, and what's next.

The Political Circus, a Complex Economy and the Future of Your Business

Washington has become the center of action for business and the economy. Taxes, spending, deficits, health care, inflation, interest rates, regulation, energy, and education affect your organization in deep and lasting ways. Colvin brings you the benefit of his insider access explaining how policy from the White House, Congress, and the Fed will matter most in business and in life.

What the World's Best Companies Are Doing Right Now

Geoff Colvin, backed by the resource of Fortune, has an unmatched vantage point for seeing inside the world's most successful companies: identifying them; reporting on them; knowing their leaders. Colvin identifies the specific strategies that great companies use right now to succeed in today's turbulent business.

Talent Is Overrated - Real Truths of Great Performance

Geoff Colvin explains how most organizations value the wrong things, and how passion, honesty, and learning are more valuable than hours, IQ, or "native ability." In an engaging, entertaining way, he demonstrates that excellence comes from behaviors that organizations must adopt to meet the standards in today's global economy.

In a World of Trouble, How the Best Business Leaders Keep Winning

Geoffs work takes him around the world, where he meets with economic players across the spectrum -- from leaders of the largest global corporations and governments to dairy farmers in rural Spain and shop owners in Indias teeming cities. Hell explain how theyre responding to todays challenging environment and how their responses are shaping our future. The pain isnt being distributed evenly it never is but the good news is that business leaders have greater control over their destiny than they may realize. Based on his on-the-ground experience, Geoff will give his outlook for the next 18 months and report how the best business leaders are finding profitable growth even now.

A Versatile Moderator/Host/Discussion Leader

In addition to delivering compelling and topical speeches, Geoff Colvin is brilliant at being the glue that keeps the program together. He’s played that role for years at FORTUNE magazine's most important senior executive conferences all over the globe. He’s interviewed everyone from Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani and Jack Welch to panels of high profile executives on the most challenging and sensitive of topics. Colvin’s gift is putting the focus of your program squarely where it belongs – on the person(s) he is talking to and building an understanding of the issues being discussed. He gets the most out of the participants by asking the right questions, keeping the discussion relevant and the energy high. His work is so successful that many top firms couldn’t imagine doing an important program without calling on his talents. As an attendee at a recent conference told the event organizer, “Geoff Colvin literally made this conference.”

In addition to delivering compelling and topical speeches, Geoff Colvin is brilliant at being the glue that keeps the program together. He’s played that role for years at FORTUNE magazine's most important senior executive conferences all over the globe. He’s interviewed everyone from Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani and Jack Welch to panels of high profile executives on the most challenging and sensitive of topics. Colvin’s gift is putting the focus of your program squarely where it belongs – on the person(s) he is talking to and building an understanding of the issues being discussed. He gets the most out of the participants by asking the right questions, keeping the discussion relevant and the energy high. His work is so successful that many top firms couldn’t imagine doing an important program without calling on his talents. As an attendee at a recent conference told the event organizer, “Geoff Colvin literally made this conference.”

The Economic Outlook

It’s what everybody wants to know. Today’s economic environment is more volatile and uncertain than at any time in memory: The BRICs are slowing, America’s growing, Europe’s a question mark; technology is upending whole industries; surging demographic changes are creating new challenges and opportunities; governments are playing a larger role than they have in decades. And it all changes by the day. Colvin uses his relationships with top leaders to get ahead of official statistics and explain the latest trends and what they mean. Engaging, energetic, and topical, he helps his audience put it all together to make better decisions.

The Power of One: Aligning Your Organization’s Incredible Strengths

It’s one of the most striking trends in business today: companies feeling frustrated that the tremendous abilities inside their organizations—the knowledge, creativity, and innovation— aren’t being combined as one to deliver knockout products and services that leave competitors wondering what hit them. For most businesses it’s a huge missed opportunity. Yet a growing number of companies, as varied as Ford, Apple, Lego, Amazon, and Hershey, have cracked the code and are achieving extraordinary success as a result. Colvin explains how they do it and how your organization can too—before your competitors beat you to it.

Becoming Radically Customer-Centric: The New Opportunity

All companies like to claim they’re customer-centric, but few truly are. Most don’t deeply understand the varied wants and needs of their different customers, or craft different customer value propositions to meet those customers’ wants and needs—nor do they know how much money they actually make (or lose) with each customer or customer segment. Such companies are guaranteed to be wasting resources and losing customers to savvier competitors. There’s no excuse for that to happen. Big Data and powerful new analytic tools are changing the game, but they’re of no use unless companies know how to use them. Colvin, co-author of the groundbreaking book Angel Customers and Demon Customers, explains how smart companies are taking customer-centricity to undreamed-of heights—and how doing so turbocharges profits.

What Makes You Better Than a Computer

Every day, technology is doing something else better than humans, and the trend is picking up speed. For the first time in 200 years, mainstream economists are seriously considering whether technology is pushing unemployment up and wages down. Where does that leave growing numbers of NEWLY insecure workers, from taxi drivers to lawyers? What will be the high-value skills that will raise living standards for us and our children? Answers are becoming clear, and they involve elements of our deepest humanity –empathy, emotion, narrative, creativity. For the individuals, companies, and whole economies that can master them, these will be the counter intuitive keys to competitive advantage.

PANEL MODERATOR, DIS CUSSION LEADER, EMCE E/HOST

Geoff Colvin’s unique gift is his ability to brilliantly moderate panels, lead onstage interviews and host/emcee. He’s played these roles for more than two decades at Fortune magazine’s most prestigious conferences worldwide. Top corporations and associations regularly utilize Geoff because he has a gift for getting the most out of participants; asking the right questions, listening intently to what’s being said on stage and responding to that --keeping the discussion relevant and the energy high. He is so skilled that any top firms can’t imagine doing an important program without him. As an attendee at a recent conference told the event organizer, “Geoff Colvin literally made this conference.”

HUMANS ARE UNDERRATED – WHAT HIGH ACHIEVERS KNOW THAT BRILLIANT MACHINES NEVER WILL

For centuries, technological innovation mostly complemented human labor by creating new and better jobs, facilitating higher living standards and better wages. But technology is now capable of doing jobs that we once thought could only be performed only by humans – driving cars, unpacking boxes, writing articles, detecting emotions, even analyzing legal documents – the list is growing every year. In world of robots and smart machines, what is the future of work? Where will humans add value? How will companies compete? Interestingly – the answer lies in people acting more like . . . people – and not like machines. This isn’t just theory. Ask employers what skills they’ll need most in the next 5-10 years like the Oxford Economics research firm did and the answers that come back are those that focus on social interaction: empathy above all, collaboration, storytelling, social sensitivity, brainstorming, creating and innovating with others and leading. While technology will undoubtedly continue to advance into areas and skills that we cannot yet imagine, these leaders know that these skills can create a tremendous competitive advantage – increased customer loyalty, innovation and cultures of engagement.

The transition to the newly valuable skills is happening faster than corporations, governments, education systems and most psyches can keep up with. That’s disorienting – and it will get more so. In this presentation, which is based on the ideas outlined in his latest book, Humans are Underrated, Geoff talks about what top organizations – the Cleveland Clinic, Facebook, the U.S. Army, Stanford Business School and others – are doing to build and train for the workforce of the future.

If all this sounds worrying, it shouldn’t. Colvin contends that people have spent centuries learning to work better than machines could. That era is ending. Machines do lots of work better than people do. Now there’s the opportunity to focus on what people do best – be human. There’s a real opportunity here. But it’s a fundamental shift and leaders, organizations and workers who are most prepared will fare best. The good news is that people already have what it takes – it’s up to us to make of it what we will.

The 21st Century Corporation - Winning in a Friction - Free World

Imagine an economy without friction – a new world in which labor, information, and money move easily, cheaply, and almost instantly. Psst – it’s here. Is your company ready?

The most successful companies today are forming starkly new, more fluid relationships with customers, workers, and owners. They’re rethinking the role of capital (as traditionally defined) and finding they can thrive while owning less and less of it. They are creating value in new ways as they reinvent R&D and marketing. And finally, they’re measuring their performance by new metrics because traditional gauges no longer capture what counts. These companies aren’t all glamorous Silicon Valley startups. They can be of any age and in any industry. Every company will have to become one, creating value in innovative ways, or lose out to competitors that do so. Geoff Colvin’s presentation is optimistic and energizing showing that opportunity is more widely available than ever – and how to seize it.

“POLITICAL CHAOS AND YOUR BUSINESS”

The political pros have been wrong about almost everything in the election cycle so far. How can business people even hope to make sense of it – or make plans for their businesses and themselves?

Geoff Colvin has answers, explaining what’s at stake in terms you won’t hear elsewhere. This election may profoundly alter the factors and forces that business people really care about. Economic growth, consumer demand, interest rates, taxes, employment costs – cable news doesn’t spend much time on those issues, but all of them could be affected by the election’s outcome, transforming the business environment in important ways.

That’s why business people must keep the most significant issues in mind, even if candidates don’t want to talk about them. In the era of the gig economy, the Uberization of everything, advancing technology, and a large-scale global labor market, Washington is still in the 20th century on business policy. In addition, business people need to remember that three giant, long-term issues – entitlement reform, comprehensive tax reform, and immigration reform – are the real keys to how Washington can turbocharge or hinder the overall U.S. economy in the years ahead. Those issues often get lost in the daily coverage of candidates’ latest tweets.

Geoff explains why partisanship won’t decrease, regardless of the election results. So one thing most business people want from government – policy stability – will remain a dream. Yet we can’t afford to be paralyzed, and Geoff shows how the most successful business people are competing and winning in this uncertain environment. Calling on his deep relationships in the worlds of Washington and corporate America, Geoff brings a message of optimism as we look past the rough and tumble of an election cycle unlike anything we’ve seen before.

POLITICAL CHAOS AND YOUR BUSINESS

The main theme of the Trump administration is unpredictability. President Trump has said that his unpredictability is a deliberate strategy. That makes the strategic planning a huge challenge for business leaders everywhere. Geoff Colvin helps unwind the impact of Washington in terms you won’t hear elsewhere. Economic growth, consumer demand, interest rates, taxes, employment costs – cable news doesn’t spend much time on those issues, but all of them are set to change, transforming the business environment in important ways. That’s why business people must keep the most significant issues in mind, even when the daily Washington chatter wanders away from them. Geoff explains why partisanship won’t decrease and policy stability will remain a dream. Yet business can’t afford to be paralyzed. Geoff shows how the most successful business people are competing and winning in this uncertain environment. He brings a message of optimism that too often gets lost in the political rough and tumble.

News


Tim Cook, Mario Draghi Lead Annual List of 'World's Greatest Leaders'

Tue, May 19, 2015, 10:28pm EDT - US Markets are closed ... Geoff Colvin, senior editor at Fortune and author of "Talent Is "Overrated," wrote that the list of 50 is ...

Geoff Colvin: Why Humans Will Triumph Over Machines - Forbes

I recently spoke to Geoff Colvin about the impact automation and robotics will have on the global workforce, the industries that are prone to automation, how ...

Related Speakers View all


More like Geoff