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Custom Keynotes

Are you looking for an internationally recognized expert with an authoritative and authentic presence to reinforce, provoke, instruct, and inspire? Would you like a proven speaker or workshop leader to provide a highly energizing and practical keynote or workshop tailored to your team, event, or organization’s key theme, values, or objectives?

For over 30 years, Jim Clemmer’s practical leadership approaches have built stronger people and stronger organizations. He’s an “edutaining” keynote and workshop leader with the right balance of rich content, appropriate humor, inspiring insights, and practical how-to implementation steps. Jim’s 2,000+ presentations and seminars/retreats, seven international bestselling books, columns, blog, and newsletters are helping hundreds of thousands of people worldwide because they are inspiring, instructive, and refreshingly fun. And most of all – because they work.

Keynote Topic Areas

Mix, Match, and Customize

The following topic areas can be short topics in a longer presentation or they can be mixed, matched and further customized for in depth management team retreats or highly interactive workshops.

Lead, Follow, or Wallow: Inspiring Personal Leadership

In today’s fast-moving world many people are overwhelmed by rapid changes and difficult problems. It’s not what happens to us but what we do about it — how we respond — that makes a world of difference. It’s all about perspective or how we frame difficult situations. These mindsets and approaches are contagious. They determine the quality of our personal and professional lives and workplace health. A central theme of this session is that leadership is an action not a position.

We all need to be leaders regardless of our formal title or role. This starts with inner self leadership and moves outward to influence, guide, support, and lead others. Leadership ultimately shows itself in what we do “out there,” but it starts “in here.”

Audience: Frontline, Management, or Mixed

Core Messages (to be further tailored to the audience/event)

  • Leadership is an action, not a position – it’s our behavior and not our role that determines leadership
  • The PERMA Formula – applying the new research and actions from the rapidly emerging field of Positive Psychology
  • Don’t P Yourself – Avoiding the Three Ps that slide into wallowing and negativity
  • Choosing our Perspective – applying powerful new research on optimism and pessimism
  • Which Glasses Are We Wearing – how to recognize when we’re leading, following, or wallowing
  • From Groaning to Growing – how to keep ourselves acting like leaders — and helping others lead through adversity and change

Alternate Customizable Titles/Themes

  • Everybody Must Lead: Leadership is an Action, Not a Position
  • If It Is to Be, It’s Up to Me
  • Personal Accountability
  • Bouncing Back: Building Resilience and Flexibility

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Leading @ the Speed of Change

Many “change fatigued” frontline performers and leaders struggle with how to strengthen personal effectiveness and leadership. Most leaders can sail their teams or organizations through smooth waters. It’s much tougher when clouds gather and the winds of change turn into a full blown gale. We can’t direct the winds of change but we can adjust our sails. How we lead ourselves and others through change forms the base of energized or enervated cultures.

When dealing with challenging changes we can choose to navigate, just survive, or be a victim. These critical choices then ripple out to how we help or hinder others dealing with constantly shifting conditions.

Audience: Frontline, Management, or Mixed

Core Messages (to be further tailored to the audience/event)

  • Shift Happens – living in a world of accelerated and constant change
  • Change or be Changed – If the rate of external change exceeds our rate of internal change, we’re going to be changed
  • Which Lens on Our Camera – three critical choices that frame change as threats or opportunities
  • Explanatory Style – how we explain good and bad events creates our reality — and results
  • Leading Change – how to lead others toward positive growth and change
  • Culture Anchors – grounding our team/organization culture in positivity and strengths
  • Strengths and Shifts – what strengths can we leverage and what shifts must we make to move toward our vision
  • Everyone a Leader – building “leaderful” teams and organizations to foster change adaptive cultures

Alternate Customizable Titles/Themes

  • Leading in Turbulent Times
  • Thriving in Turbulent Times
  • Changes, Challenges, and Choices

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The High-Performance Balance: Management and Leadership

Employee engagement, customer satisfaction, safety, quality, and financial performance are slipping in many organizations. That’s often because organizations are over managed and under led. “People are our most important resource” has become a worn out cliché with a high “snicker factor.” Research shows that high performing teams and organizations balance the “hard” discipline of systems, processes, and technology management on a “soft” base of effective people leadership. Leading with the heart inspires higher energy and commitment to meaningful change toward more successful outcomes for everyone.

Audience: Management (Supervisors, Managers or Executives)

Core Messages (to be further tailored to the audience/event)

  • Managing Things and Leading People – understanding the differences between management and leadership and how to integrate them for greater success
  • Soft Skills, Hard Results – emotional intelligence, engagement, perceptions, and energy are powerful catalysts propelling teams and organizations to peak performance
  • Powerful Combinations – balancing Management Competencies like Business Acumen, Drive for Results, and Problem Solving with Leadership Competencies such as Communications, Teamwork/Collaboration, and Developing People
  • Information versus Communication – management speaks to the head with information technologies and written communication. Leadership engages the heart with courageous conversations and verbal communications
  • How’s our Balance – understanding the critical differences and intertwined relationship of technical, management, and leadership and assessing differences between “as is” and “should be”

Alternate Customizable Titles/Themes

  • Managing Things and Leading People
  • Transforming Managers into Leaders
  • “Soft Skills” and Hard Results
  • Management versus Leadership: Both Wings Are Needed to Soar

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Five Vital Steps to Building a Peak Performance Culture

Many organizations have a high “snicker factor” on their vision, values, or mission statements, declining employee engagement, rising absenteeism, difficulty attracting or retaining top talent, waning customer satisfaction, resistance to change, weak trust and teamwork, lower service/quality levels, and good but not great health and safety. These are signs of a weak organizational culture. They’re getting worse with the growth of financial pressures, rapidly changing market conditions, globalization, shifting workforce demographics and attitudes, new technologies, and ever more demanding customers.

Audience: Senior Operating, Human Resources, Organization Development, or Learning Executives

Core Messages (to be further tailored to the audience/event)

  • Is Your Culture by Default or Design – defining what strong leadership skills and a peak performance culture looks like and how it’s built
  • Bolt-On versus Built-In – keys to moving change and improvement from partial and piecemeal programs to integrated processes
  • Leadership and Culture Development – how leadership behaviors intertwine with cultural attributes and qualities
  • Steps to our Desired Culture – assess our efforts against a proven step-by-step process that moves culture development from aspiration to implementation
  • Lip Service to Leadership – using the Commitment Continuum to move from rhetoric to reality
  • Transformation Pathways – six key compass points mapping the best route to substantive and sustained culture change
  • Integrate and Align – coordinating change initiative and improvement programs

Alternate Customizable Titles/Themes

  • Leading a Peak Performance Culture
  • Building Strong and Resilient Cultures
  • How to Foster an Energizing Environment That Inspires Peak Performance

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Building a Customer-Centered Culture: The Service/Quality System for Exceptional Results

While some customer improvement programs may change a few short-term performance indicators, many initiatives fail to change the very character and fabric of the team or organization. Training programs like “smile training,” teaching frontline staff how to handle dissatisfied customers, or urging people to be more courteous, can make cosmetic changes. But they’re often putting lip stick on a pig. These efforts aren’t integrated with a systematic and strategic approach to customer service/quality.

Customer satisfaction continues to decline in lock step with employee engagement, despite investments in call centers, web sites, social media, and the like.

Audience: Senior Operating, Human Resources, Organization Development, Learning, and Customer Service Executives

Core Messages (to be further tailored to the audience/event)

  • The Foundation of Service/Quality Improvement – integrating customer focus, employee engagement, and system/process improvement
  • The Chain of Service/Quality – drawing lines of sight from external customers to internal partnerships
  • Three Concentric Rings of Service/Quality – building from the central requirements/standards of core services, to satisfying service support expectations, to delighting customers with enhanced service levels
  • Serving the Servers – disgruntled and disengaged frontline servers don’t produce satisfied customers. Real improvements in customer service start with providing stellar service and support to the employees themselves
  • Inspiring Discretionary Effort – high service levels only happen through volunteerism or a “culture of commitment” — frontline servers, supported by internal support teams, who all enthusiastically go beyond what’s merely required
  • From the Inside Out – an organization’s external customer service is only as strong as the organization’s internal leadership, and the culture of commitment this leadership creates
  • Fatal Failure Factors – assessing your team/organization against the most common factors that lower service/quality performance
  • Attributes of Cynical and High Service/Quality Cultures – vital signs on whether a team or organization is moving toward or away from higher service
  • Pathways to Higher Service/Quality – a proven assessment and planning framework bringing together three key management best practices with three key leadership approaches

Alternate Customizable Titles/Themes

  • Customer Satisfaction is An Inside Job
  • Firing on all Cylinders

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Six Steps to Extraordinary Coaching Skills

Coaching skills have an especially huge impact on the discretionary effort that goes well above and beyond basic job requirements. Enthusiastic extra effort is at the heart of delivering outstanding customer service and the highest levels of teamwork, service, or quality. Extraordinary coaches have 8 times higher levels of employee engagement and commitment, over 3 times more willingness to “go the extra mile” for the team or organization, 2.5 times higher levels of “satisfaction with my involvement in decisions that affect my work,” more than double the number of employees who were inspired to “put forth a great deal of effort every day,” and dramatically higher levels of customer service and satisfaction.

Audience: Management (Supervisors, Managers or Executives) and Internal HR/OD Coaches

Core Messages (to be further tailored to the audience/event)

  • Defining What Coaching Is and Isn’t – defining coaching versus training or mentoring in performance and career coaching
  • Showing the Huge Impact of Coaching – just how big an impact coaching skills have on engagement, intention to stay, extra effort, leadership satisfaction, and feeling valued
  • Using a Coaching Conversation Framework – common coaching traps, how improvement comes with structure, and a proven four-step FUEL model
  • Bringing Science and Other Best Practices to Coaching – 14 coaching skills/competencies and learning from other research and disciplines
  • Building Coaching Effectiveness Through Skill Development – unique challenges in coaching skill development and shifting from manager-employee dependence to employee empowerment
  • Strengthen Coaching Collaboration – empowering and encouraging “coachees,” focusing on the coachee’s agenda, and asking for feedback on coaching effectiveness
  • Elevating Feedback – what gets in the way of effective reinforcing and/or redirecting feedback, feedback pitfalls, and overcoming them

Alternate Customizable Titles/Themes

  • Powerful New Approaches to Building Coaching and Leadership Strengths

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Leveraging Leadership Strengths: Transforming Good Managers into Great Leaders

Most leadership development approaches don’t work. In a large scale global survey of CEOs and senior executives 76 percent cited leadership development as important yet only 7 percent thought their organization was doing it effectively. Research shows a key reason is the wide spread use of weakness-based approaches. As seen in a growing aversion to performance appraisals and traditional 360 assessments, focusing on performance gaps and weaknesses is 2 -3 times less effective and undermines motivation for change.

The rapidly emerging fields of Positive Psychology and Strengths-Based Leadership provide compelling evidence for these powerful and counterintuitive new approaches. What’s been missing are proven steps to guide leaders in finding their leadership sweet spot of their strengths, passion, and organizational need. Cross-training then provides a personalized and tailored map that leads to dramatically higher growth and development — and is a lot more fun.

Audience: Senior Operating, Human Resources, HR/Organization/Learning Development Executives

Core Messages (to be further tailored to the audience/event)

  • The Leadership Skills That Matter Most – the critical leadership skills that most clearly distinguish the very best and very worst leaders
  • The Good, The Bad, and the Extraordinary – the documented impact of leadership effectiveness on employee engagement, attracting and retaining top talent, productivity, customer service, safety, and profitability
  • Fatal Flaws – when and how leaders need to address a critical weakness that’s blocking their strengths
  • The Dramatic Impact of Towering Strengths – highly effective leaders aren’t superheroes excelling at a wide range of skills. Extraordinary leaders are defined by just 3 – 5 profound strengths
  • The Strengths-Based Revolution – compelling evidence on the huge shift over the past decade toward building strengths and its impact on elevating leadership skills, happiness, and personal flourishing
  • Why Many 360 Assessments are Destructive – most 360 assessments are negative and punishing because they hunt for weaknesses and gaps. Strengths-based 360s are built very differently with much more positive impact leading to 2 to 3 times greater improvement.
  • Finding the Leadership Sweet Spot – using the CPO model to find the intersection of competencies/strengths, passion, and organizational need or key skills for that leader’s role
  • Building Strengths Through Cross-Training – using an evidence-based map for developing strengths through companion competencies and non-traditional approaches

Alternate Customizable Titles/Themes

  • Strengths-Based Leadership Development: A Revolutionary Approach That Can Triple Effectiveness
  • A Blueprint for Building Leadership Strengths
  • End of the Weak: Building Strengths is Up to Three Times More Effective
  • The Strengths Building Revolution Dramatically Improves Leader Effectiveness
  • Building Leadership Strength: New Approach is 2 – 3 Times More Effective

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Moose-on-the-Table: Fostering Courageous Conversations to Address Communication Breakdowns

When two-way communications are stifled and difficult conversations avoided, the real discussions happen in the hallway after the meeting. Commitments aren’t kept and deadlines are missed, “blame storming” replaces problem solving, departmental silos grow, meetings waste time and drain energy, lobbying and politicking rises, critical problems are minimized, and touchy issues avoided. These “moose problems” (like elephant-in-the-room) means customers are lost, quality deteriorates, productivity falls, engagement declines, innovation is smothered, people get hurt or killed, and companies go bankrupt.

Dozens of organizations have used the moose approach to playfully open up tough conversations and deal with long-standing issues that had been avoided, ignored, or glossed over.

Audience: Management (Supervisors, Managers or Executives) and HR/Organization/Learning Development Executives

Core Messages (to be further tailored to the audience/event)

  • Killing Us Softly With…Silence – the high risks and costs of poor communications that cripple an organization’s ability to identify and act on internal/external threats and critical issues
  • Powerful Combinations – combining Ability to Execute and Positive Work Environment boosts the chances of being a top 10 percent team from 4% to 88%.
  • Moose Tracks – 12 key questions that determine the size and ferocity of a team or organization’s moose herd
  • Moose on the Loose – choosing to navigate (seeing moose issues as opportunities), survive, (waiting and hoping they will go away), or be victimized (helpless and overwhelmed by the moose mess)
  • Moose Hunting – practical tips, tools and techniques to identify, size up, prioritize, and address moose issues
  • Courageous Conversations – key skills, processes, or approaches to foster the tough conversations so vital to reduce the moose
  • Taming the E-Mail Beast – how electronic tools contribute to the moose problem and finding strategies to balance information management with verbal communications
  • Building Trust and Teamwork – keys to energize and strengthen teams to identify and reduce their communication barriers
  • Facing the Bull – critical choices in dealing with a bad, bully, or ineffective boss

Moose Hunting Alternative – a facilitated moose hunting workshop where participants feel safe naming and addressing moose issues or problems. The process may involve doing pre-workshop assessments through focus groups, interviews, surveys, or confidential e-mail input. Or the process may allow participants at the workshop to anonymously identify moose issues or problems, participate in ranking and weighting them, and then brainstorm ways to reduce the moose.

Alternate Customizable Titles/Themes

  • How to Have Courageous Conversations Addressing Barriers to Teamwork
  • Identifying and Dealing with Communication Barriers
  • Courageous Conversations to Foster Openness and Direct Communication
  • Keys to Fostering Open Communication and Courageous Conversations

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The Top Ten Factors of Innovation Leaders

In today’s fast moving world, innovation and creativity are critical. Leaders who don’t adapt risk being left behind. This session is based on research of over 52,000 leaders assessed by more than 500,000 managers, direct reports, peers, and others to find leaders rated at the 99th percentile. These exceptional innovation leaders were then interviewed along with their direct reports and examples collected of what these leaders did to foster an innovative culture. A self-assessment built around the ten innovation factors helps participants identify and build on their greatest innovation strengths and discover whether they might have a critical innovation leadership weakness or fatal flaw.

Audience: Management (Supervisors, Managers or Executives) and HR/Organization/Learning Development Executives

Core Messages (to be further tailored to the audience/event)

  • Strategic Vision – balancing management goals and leadership vision
  • Strong Customer Focus – building customer value from the outside in
  • Climate of Reciprocal Trust – vital steps to building trust
  • Doing What’s Right for the Organization and Customer – pushing back and tackling difficult issues
  • Culture Magnifying Upward Communication – removing organizational filters and encouraging ideas
  • High Recruiting Standards – finding and developing exceptionally talented people
  • Stretch Goals and Targets – breaking through incremental thinking
  • Emphasis on Speed – balancing good judgement/effective decisions and strategic clarity/vision
  • Candid Communication – keeping all informed and up to date combined with listening and an open environment for sharing
  • Motivation and Inspiration – keys to unlocking creative energy

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BOLD Leadership: How to Accelerate Performance and Results

Does your organization need leaders who challenge standard approaches, create an atmosphere of continual improvement, do everything possible to achieve goals, get others to go beyond what they originally thought possible, are energized to take on challenging goals, quickly recognize situations where change is needed, and have the courage to make needed changes? New research shows these are the characteristics of bold leaders.

“Doing more with less” is a major imperative for most organizations in these turbulent times. Average or timid leaders of the past need to step-up and become BOLD.

Audience: Management (Supervisors, Managers or Executives) and HR/Organization/Learning Development Executives

Core Messages (to be further tailored to the audience/event)

  • BOLD Leadership – the seven key elements of a BOLD leader
  • BOLD Results – the dramatic impact of BOLD leadership on employee engagement, retaining top talent, and discretionary effort
  • Powerful Combinations – BOLD leadership together with good judgement rockets leaders to the top 5%
  • Where are the BOLD Leaders – differences in BOLD leadership across countries, genders, and organizational functions
  • Timid versus BOLD Leadership – key differences between traditional and steady leaders versus BOLD leaders
  • BOLD Feedback – how leaders can get an accurate and valid assessment of whether they’re perceived to be timid or BOLD
  • How to Become More BOLD – 8 competency companions providing a non-traditional development map to increasing BOLD leadership
  • Building a BOLD Development Plan – keys to building strengths

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Client List and Feedback

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Contact us for more information on mixing, matching, and customizing a keynote for your organization.









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