Tom Kolditz is Professor in the Practice of Leadership and Management and Director of the Leadership Development Program at the Yale School of Management. His experience as a leader development expert spans four decades in the public, private, and social sectors. A retired Brigadier General and titled Professor Emeritus by the US Military Academy, Tom led the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at West Point for 12 years. In that role, he was responsible for teaching, research, and outreach activities in Management, Leader Development Science, Psychology, and Sociology. A highly experienced global leader, General Kolditz has more than 26 years in leader roles on four continents. His career has focused on either leading organizations himself, or studying leadership and leadership policy across sectors. He served for two years as a leadership and human resources policy analyst in the Pentagon, and a year as a concept developer in the Center for Army Leadership, and was the founding director of the West Point Leadership Center. He was instrumental in the design and formation of the Thayer Leader Development Group, and is the managing member of Saxon Castle LLC, a leader development consultancy.
General Kolditz is an internationally recognized expert on crisis leadership and leadership in extreme contexts, and in the development of programs to inculcate leadership and leader development in everything from project teams to large organizations. He has published extensively across a diverse array of academic and leadership trade journals, and serves on the editorial and advisory boards of several academic journals. He is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association and is a member of the Academy of Management. He is a founding member of the Board of Advisors for the Department of Psychology at the University of Missouri, on the Council of Senior Advisors for the Future of Executive Development Forum, and is an Academic in Residence for the Global Leadership Strategy Network. His consultancies include Google and GE.
A skydiving instructor since 1980, Kolditz served as the senior instructor for the West Point Sport Parachute Team. He weaves his personal experiences and abilities as a soldier, skydiver, and scholar into the first-hand study, analysis, and practice of leadership in dangerous circumstances—in extremis leadership—and how such leadership can inform the practice of leading in more ordinary settings. His most recent book, titled In Extremis Leadership: Leading as if Your Life Depended on It, was based on more than 175 interviews taken on the ground in Iraq during combat operations. He has been named as a leadership Thought Leader by the Leader to Leader Institute and as a Top Leader Development Professional by Leadership Excellence.
General Kolditz has presented leadership content to more than 150 governmental, corporate, and social sector audiences worldwide. As a professor, he has led academic seminars or given lectures to students from Babson, Wellesley, and Olin Colleges, the University of Missouri, Columbia University, Duke University, Yale University, the Military Psychology Center of the Israel Defense Forces, Peking University, the Beijing International MBA program, Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, seven national and international service academies and more than ten major metropolitan law enforcement, firefighting, and public service academies and assemblies. Kolditz has appeared on ABC World News, ABC 20-20, Al Jazeera, MSNBC, CBS, NPR, Calgary Today, Morning Ireland, and interviews with reporters from the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Associated Press, Time, Discovery, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Washington Post, La Razon, and more than a dozen national and international news agencies.
To book leadership and crisis management speaker Tom Kolditz call Executive Speakers Bureau at 901-754-9404.
In Extremis Leadership, Leading As If Your Life Depended On It:
Cut through faddish, flavor-of-the-month leadership approaches and get in extremis. Gen. Tom Kolditz shows how extreme life-and-death situations can offer profound lessons for leaders in any setting. Gen. Kolditz’s research reveals that the leadership skills and principles evident in dangerous settings also apply to leading in business and everyday life, making this program applicable to both personal and professional success.
Dodging Bullets: How to Avoid Crisis:
Few people want to be put into a position of being crisis managers, so how can leaders prepare organizations to avoid crises before they occur? Gen. Kolditz will take the audience through specific processes and techniques to help leaders anticipate and prevent crises and have a more effective, more empowered work force every day.
Lessons from Sky Diving and High Risk Activities:
Gen. Kolditz has lead thousands of civilian sky diving jumps and leads West Point’s elite Black Knights. Through heart-stopping real-life stories of leaders in these extreme situations, Dr. Kolditz insists that leaders at all levels can improve their effectiveness. In this program he shares his knowledge about leading with influence, and communicating with purpose. He also has a variety of additional high-risk situations he shares that are ideal settings to seek and find great leaders, assess how they might be different, and gleans valuable insights for extraordinary leadership in everyday lives.
Bring Innovation Leadership to a Legacy Organization:
Learn best practices, tools and processes for effective organization design, Identify key steps for mobilizing your desired organizational structure. . Learn how to lead change in organizations, especially those that are tradition-bound and extraordinarily resistant to change. Tom Kolditz draws on first hand experience and multiple cases of innovation and change in organizations using a unique indirect strategy that was successful when more common change management strategies had failed.
Leading Through Tragedy:
Tragedy eventually overcomes all organizations in the form of the death or serious injury of one or more members. Learn what to do to prevent tragedy from disrupting organizational effectiveness, harmony and leadership effectiveness. Lessons include concepts about succession planning, and proven leadership behavior during times of chaos.
Leaders Developing Others:
One of a leader's most powerful legacies is to develop those who work with them and for them. Leadership development programs in business have too often been relegated solely to talent managers and HR directors. Tom Kolditz illustrates how, in an evidence based way, each leader can personally and directly develop their people, increasing the performance and retention of employees and building a solid foundation for the future. Tapping leadership development principles introduced, refined and currently in use at West Point, the Yale School of Management, and other high-performing organizations, Tom's presentation creates a clear path and practical framework for leaders to have greater impact and influence over their people while simultaneously helping them achieve their potential.
The Conference Board
"You were outstanding, really made us think and your presentation sparked much conversation in the remaining time we had together. Thank you again for inspiring us to think more systemically about leadership development and how we might improve."
Office of Leadership Development, FBI David Academy
"Colonel Kolditz is a visionary in the field of leadership training and development."
“In terms of what they thought of your presentation, we asked participants to rank the speakers 1-5 and you received all 5’s (with one 4). A very strong performance. Great job. Thank you!”
“Colonel Kolditz spoke at my leadership class at Crotonville and was by far one of the singular most impactful speakers I've heard on Leadership.” “It was absolutely terrific, and folks are still talking about it… AMAZING… Truly. Inspirational.”
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