I liked the fact that he worked with the audience instead of spoke at us.

-participant, GSA Expo

Great content to open minds & thinking. GREAT stage presence!

-participant, SHRM Annual Conference

Keynote Speaking

Outstanding. Good, tough questions to think about…excellent choice for speaker!

-participant, MRA CEO Summit

Stimulating, provocative, energizing, engaging – best session

-participant, HR People & Strategy Global Conference

Futurists, Overconfidence and Uncertainty


We love to hear experts tell us what they think will happen in the future. But expert insight is far more as one facet of our own mapping of possible industry futures. In this session, Dr. Austin examines the risks of overconfidence, confirmation bias, and conventional wisdom, then introduces a technique to prioritize and connect industry uncertainties. Participants immediately work together to map key industry uncertainties. This topic is well suited for an opening session (to inform conversations at the conference) or as a closing session (to bring together provocative points made throughout the conference). For a unique meeting experience: Prior to the meeting consider creating a set of future scenarios customized for your profession, industry, or market. These “snapshots of the future” will trigger unconventional conversations throughout the meeting and offer participants a template for strategic conversations after the meeting.




Inspiring Action: Leading Change and Changing the World


When confronted with a daunting challenge, the easiest course is inaction. Yet, action inspires. I challenge participants to navigate a change process in a way that builds momentum, reduces change resistance and minimizes unanticipated barriers. Building from an interactive case of a significant change initiative (the signing of Jackie Robinson by the Brooklyn Dodgers), participants work through five keys to leading successful changes. This session is inspiring, yet practical. Participants leave the session with a shortlist of questions and actions to drive a change forward. This session is grounded in my OD Practitioner article, "Initiating Controversial Strategic Change in Organizations."




Aspirational Inquiry: Transforming Mindsets Through Questions


Frame-breaking insight and personal aspiration is triggered by the question asked, not the answer given. Exposing individuals to resonant aspirational questions will trigger deeper reflection and growth than will exposing individuals to inspirational “lessons learned” statements. Building from the transformational One Question Project, this session presents a positive, research-based approach to the question of how we can inspire others. Participants will come out of the session with a new understanding of how they can ask questions that trigger fundamental mindset shifts in others.




Strategic Thinking: Breaking Out of Industry and Organizational Conventional Mindsets


Strategic thinking is a core skill of adaptive leaders who enable your business to thrive amidst constant uncertainty. This session identifies the key barriers to strategic thinking and how successful leaders overcome these challenges. Building from the work outlined in Unquestioned Brilliance, participants in this session will consider the key practical actions that they can use to keep specific strategic initiatives moving and to help make their organizations, and their own careers, more resilient in the face of strategic shifts. The session will include application of several techniques designed to embed strategic thinking into day-to-day work.




The Manager as Change Leader: Understanding, Acting, Sustaining


Rapid and regular organizational change is the new normal in many industries today. Simply put, managing change is a core skill needed across the globe in the present and the future. Today’s managers are not only asked to help drive change initiatives within their organizations, but also increasingly expected to demonstrate personal acumen in change management. This session is designed to provide skills for the manager while offering guidance for developing the change capabilities of their work team. This session is highly interactive and focuses on making change leadership relevant to each participant’s own organizational and career needs. Participants in this session will consider the key practical actions that they can use to keep specific change initiatives moving and to also help make their organizations more resilient in the face of change. This session will be modified to address the core management needs of the audience. See the SHRM Foundation Leading Change Guidelines for Practice Report for more information on Dr. Austin's approach to change.




Innovation is Action: Creating an Adaptable Culture


Innovation requires insight, translation of insight to action, and successful replication of the action. This session begins with the stories of inspirational people and organizations that have managed to navigate the innovation process from insight to sustained action. It continues with practical techniques to jump-start this process and apply it to their work. Participants are challenged to look for sources of insight, push beyond inertia, and act. Dr. Austin's Journal of Organization Design article outlines the key translations needed to enable sustainable innovation and change.




Leading High Performing Teams


We rely on teams more than ever to meet increasingly challenging goals. The gap for many team leaders is not the one between ignorance and knowing, it is the gap between knowing and doing – we see the dysfunction but do not have time or energy to fix it. In this session participants experiment with several practical techniques for creating and sustaining high-performing teams and removing barriers to collaboration and explore the four areas of common team leadership dysfunction: creating, motivating, coordinating, and deciding.





Dr. Austin has provided keynotes for the following professional associations:

American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)

American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA)

ASIS International

Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP)

Association of Investment Management Sales Executives (AIMSE)

ATD Eastern Pennsylvania

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards

Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO)

Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)

GSA Training & Expo

HR People & Strategy, (HRPS)

Institute for Defense & Government Advancement (IDGA)

International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association (ICCFA)

Marketing Research Association (MRA)

National Association of State Chief Administrators (NASCA)

Organization Development Network

Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA)

PMI Central Iowa

Society for Human Research Management (SHRM): global conference speaker, global leadership conference, regional chapter conferences

Society of Actuaries

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© 2020 John Austin, PhD