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Cy Wakeman keynote speaker

Cy Wakeman

    • President & Founder Reality-Based Leadership
Full Bio
In Person-Fee 🛈

$30,000 - $50,000

Virtual Fee:

$20,000 - $30,000

Travels From


It's Time to Reinvent Leadership l Cy Wakeman Reel

It's Time to Reinvent Leadership l Cy Wakeman Reel

Cy Wakeman Speaker Biography

Cy Wakeman, M.S., CSP, is a drama researcher, global thought-leader, and New York Times best-selling author who is recognized for cultivating a counter-intuitive, reality-based approach to leadership. Backed by over 25 years of unparalleled experience, Wakeman’s philosophy offers a new lens through which employees and executives alike, can shift their attention inward, sharpen their focus on personal accountability, and uncover their natural state of innovation simply by ditching the drama.

Deemed “the secret weapon to restoring sanity to the workplace,” Wakeman has helped companies such as Google, Facebook, Viacom, Uber, NBC Universal, NASA, Pfizer, Johns Hopkins, Stanford Health Care, Keurig Dr. Pepper, AMC Theatres, White Castle, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and countless others learn to navigate our rapidly changing world using good mental processes to harness energy wasted in workplace drama and reinvest that effort into achieving profound business results.

As a highly sought-after conference headliner, Cy Wakeman holds a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation from the National Speaker’s Association, placing her within the top 3% of speakers. She’s a regular contributor on Forbes.com, Success.com, The Huffington Post, and Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global. She’s been featured on the TODAY Show, the AskGaryVee Show with Gary Vaynerchuk, Cheddar TV, The New York Times, Business Insider, The Daily Muse, SHRM.com and many more. Cy Wakeman was voted in the top 100 leadership professionals to follow on twitter for 7 years in a row and in 2021, she topped the Global Gurus list of Top 30 Leadership Professionals across the globe, coming in at #1.

Wakeman has published three books, the latest of which is No Ego: How to Cut the Cost of Drama, End Entitlement and Drive Big Results (2017). Cy also hosts her own No Ego podcast, a Facebook Watch show, Life’s Messy, Live Happy, and adds weekly video content on YouTube to address leaders’ biggest challenges in the workplace.


How Leaders Can Cut the Cost of Drama, End Entitlement and Drive Big Results

Most leadership philosophies are grounded in two completely faulty assumptions — “change is hard” and “engagement drives results.” Those beliefs have inspired expensive attempts to keep change from being disruptive to employees. Rather than driving performance and creating efficiencies these programs fuel the Emotional Waste, Entitlement, and Drama that drags down organizations.

Over the past three years, Reality-Based Leadership, in partnership with the Futures Company, conducted proprietary research in our client organizations. The findings affirm what we’ve observed in our 20+ years of experience doing Reality-Based work in hundreds of organizations: when employees indulge in distracting drama, learned helplessness, low accountability, lack of self-awareness, and ego-driven behavior it comes at a significant cost to their organizations. We now know it can easily consume up to three months per year of each employee’s time — potentially billions of dollars annually in the U.S. alone. That’s the Drama Quotient.

At Reality-Based Leadership, we propose a radically different approach to leadership. Changing the ways leaders think and the strategies they use in their work is a serious and critical economic issue. A leader’s role shouldn’t be — cannot be — to motivate employees. That is a choice employees make. Instead, a leader helps others develop the great mental processes they need to eliminate self-imposed suffering and choose to be accountable for driving results.

Key Takeaways
Discover strategies for eradicating entitlement with easy to use tools that can change the energy of entire group meetings from “Why we can’t” to “How we could.”
Develop highly effective mental processes in their teams that hold all team members accountable to quality and excellence
Understand engagement from an entirely different perspective, one that is based upon listening to the highly accountable employees
Uncover modern approaches to engagement and change management strategies.

Reality-Based Leadership
Ditch the Drama and Turn Excuses Into Results

Today’s challenging business environment is calling for a new type of leader. We need those willing and able to recreate mindsets (their own and that of others) and change an organization’s culture in order to lead in a bold new way.

The Reality Revolution begins with a few good leaders who are able to quickly see and radically accept the reality of the situation, conserve precious team energy, and use that energy instead to impact reality. A great Reality-Based Leader anticipates the upcoming changes and capitalizes on the opportunity inherent in the situation without drama or defense.

The principles of Reality-Based Leadership include:

Refusing to argue with reality
Valuing action over opinion
Leading first, managing second
Bulletproofing employees so that they can succeed, regardless of the circumstances
Working to be happy rather than to be right

Hardwiring Accountability Into Your Workforce

Personal Accountability & Workforce Accountability Presentation
Everyone talks about accountability, but few organizations are actually able to deliver it. This presentation breaks down the core competency of personal accountability and offers a plan for coaching and developing accountability at all levels.

Key Takeaways:
Gain a true understanding of the four elements of the competency of accountability
Adopt interviewing and hiring techniques that ensure accountability in new hires
Gain skills in coaching current employees for accountability
Become fluent in a new employee value metric that measures accountability
Understand the relationship between accountability and engagement
Gain key tools and strategies to “hardwire” accountability throughout the organization

Business Readiness – Ensuring Our Teams are Ready for What’s Next
Effective Leadership in Changing Times

Managing change and pursuing innovation is not a new topic, many in the leadership ranks have had numerous development opportunities on these topics and yet our teams are at times battle fatigued, remaining unaligned with overall strategic objectives and ill-prepared to deliver on organization goals of the near future. So, what’s next? How can leaders go beyond just ensuring that change is least disruptive to their people and instead deliver up ready, willing and able teams who can ensure that change is least disruptive to the business? How can leaders move their teams beyond surviving change and instead make the call to greatness so that their teams are thriving in changing times, fueling innovation and fully aligned with the re-inventive of their organizations?

In this high energy session, one of our Reality-Based speakers will help leaders understand their heightened responsibilities in delivering teams and talent that are ready for what’s next along with strategies to ensure that teams are able to quickly adapt to change and deliver on the needs of the organization to provide relevant, high-value, services in even mature markets. After all, change is only hard for the unready.

Session Objectives:

Modernize the leadership philosophy to focus on business readiness rather than outdated, traditional theories of change management
Provide strategies to ensure that leadership focus is on ensuring change is least disruptive to the business rather than attempting to make change least disruptive to the people
Highlight the typical and common leadership behaviors that sabotage vital change efforts and innovative strategies
Facilitate understanding of the causes and anecdotes to “change fatigue” and provide ways in which leaders can conserve team energy for highest possible ROI
Provide techniques and tools for leaders to incorporate in their daily practices to align their teams with organizational direction

Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace
Boost Your Value and Be Happy at Work

Wouldn’t you like to know your value within your organization? Better still, wouldn’t you like to boost it?

In this presentation, you’ll discover how to determine your value to your organization. You’ll get a formula designed to calculate your current and future potential against your “emotional expense”— the toll your actions and attitudes take on the people around you. This clear direction cuts or reduces your emotional cost, and helps everyone become an invaluable member of the team. The result? Everyone at all levels of the organization will not only re-engage, but grow passionate about their work.

Five rules to boost your value include:

Don’t hope to be lucky. Choose to be happy.
Ditch the drama.
Buy-in is not optional. Your action, not opinion, adds value.
Change is opportunity.
Succeed anyway.

Employee Engagement is Broken
Unlocking the True Driver of Employee Performance

For years, our organizations have been investing time, money, and energy into engaging our employees based on the promise that engagement drives results. But, many organizations report that engagement alone falls short. Engagement without accountability is chaos. When they meet, breakthrough performance emerges.

In this dynamic, provocative and groundbreaking presentation, you will see the science of employee engagement in a completely new way. You will understand why the way we have historically measured employee engagement is fundamentally flawed. You will discover that many of the ways we have been working to drive employee engagement may be actually hurting the company’s performance. And, most importantly, you’ll learn what to do about it.

You will be introduced to the concept of Reality-Based Engagement, where accountability and engagement intersect to produce awesome results. This will include some practical guidance for how to cultivate the power of personal accountability within your organization.

Workplace Application:
Discover how personal accountability can turn your employee engagement efforts into business results.

Key Takeaways:
Uncover three key flaws in how the traditional employee engagement survey process is designed and implemented
Discover that personal accountability is the true driver of both employee engagement and
company results
Take away a solid strategy for fixing the employee engagement program by cultivating the accountability of the organization.

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