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Jim Kouzes    

Leadership Expert & Bestselling Co-Author of The Leadership Challenge

Jim Kouzes is the co-author with Barry Posner of the award-winning and bestselling book, The Leadership Challenge, with over 1.8 million copies sold. He's also the Dean’s Executive Professor of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University.

The fourth edition of The Leadership Challenge was released in August 2007 and is available in twenty-two languages. In 2009 The Leadership Challenge was selected as one of the 100 best business books of all time by 800-CEO-READ, an online bookseller. It was an Amazon Editor’s Pick for one of the Best Business Books of 2007, as well as the winner of the 1995-96 Critics' Choice Award and the 1989 James A. Hamilton Hospital Administrators' Book Award. Their book A Leader’s Legacy (2006) was selected by Soundview Executive Book Summaries as one of the top thirty books of the year and by the Globe and Mail (Canada) as one of the top ten books of 2006. Jim and Barry have coauthored over thirty other publications including Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It-chosen by Industry Week as one of the ten best management books of 1993-Encouraging the Heart (1999, 2003), The Leadership Challenge Workbook (1999, 2003), and A Leader’s Legacy (2006). Their newest book, The Truth About Leadership, was released in August 2010. Their books are extensively researched-based, and over 400 doctoral dissertations and academic studies have been based on their original work.

Not only is Jim a highly regarded leadership scholar, The Wall Street Journal cited Jim as one of the twelve best executive educators in the U.S. He is the 2010 recipient of the Thought Leadership Award from the Instructional Systems Association, and Leadership Excellence magazine ranked him as number sixteen on its list of the Top 100 Thought Leaders. In 2006 Jim was presented with the Golden Gavel, the highest honor awarded by Toastmasters International. Jim and Barry are the recipients of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) 2009 Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning and Performance Award, presented in recognition of their extensive body of work and the significant impact they have had on learning and performance in the workplace. The International Management Council (IMC) honored Jim and Barry as the 2001 recipients of the prestigious Wilbur M. McFeely Award for their outstanding contributions to management and leadership education. Prior recipients include: Peter Drucker, Lee Iacocca, Tom Peters, Ken Blanchard, Norman Vincent Peale, Francis Hesselbein, and Stephen Covey.

Jim is also an experienced executive. He served as president, then CEO and chairman of the Tom Peters Company from 1988-until 2000. Prior to his tenure at TPC he directed the Executive Development Center at Santa Clara University from 1981 through 1987. He also founded the Joint Center for Human Services Development at San Jose State University, which he directed from 1972 until 1980. Jim's lifelong career in education began in 1967-1969 when he served for two years in the Peace Corps. Jim believes it was on January 20, 1961 when he was first inspired to dedicate himself to leadership. That was the day he was one of only a dozen Eagle Scouts who served in John F. Kennedy's Honor Guard at the Presidential Inauguration.

Speech Topics

Leadership is Everyone's Business

Throughout our book, The Leadership Challenge (3rd ed.), we tell stories of ordinary people who've gotten extraordinary things done. We talk about men and women, young and old, from a variety of organizations, public and private, government and third sector, high-tech and low-tech, small and large, schools and professional services. Chances are you haven't heard of most of them. They're not famous people or mega-stars. They're people who might live next door or work in the next cubicle. They're people just like you. We focus on leaders like this because we firmly believe that leadership is about relationships, credibility, and what people do.

Leadership is a Relationship

Leadership is a relationship between those who aspire to lead and those who chose to follow. Sometimes the relationship is one-to-many. Sometimes it's one-to-one. But regardless of whether the number is one or one thousand, leadership is a relationship.

Leadership is Learned

It's nonsense to assume that leadership is genetic. There's no hard evidence to support that assumption, and worse, it dooms every one of us to accept our limitations as our destiny. The truth is that leadership is an observable set of skills and abilities that is useful whether one is in the executive suite or on the front line, on Wall Street or Main Street. And any skill can be strengthened, honed, and enhanced if we have the motivation and desire, the practice and feedback, the role models and coaching, and the support and recognition.

Leaders Make a Difference

In our classes and workshops we ask people to share a story about a Personal-Best Leadership Experience—a time when they set their own individual standard of excellence. From this exercise we hope they'll discover for themselves the practices of exemplary leadership. We have another objective as well—we want them to discover the power that lies within each one of us to make a difference.

The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership, Credibility Is the Foundation of Leadership, Leadership is a Relationship, Challenge Provides the Opportunity for Greatness, Leadership is Everyone's Business, The Legacy You Leave Is the Life You Lead, Caring Is at the Heart of Leadership

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