The former Director of one of the largest university leadership development programs in Canada at the University of Toronto, Drew Dudley nevertheless embraces the idea that “leadership cannot really be taught. It can only be learned.”
“I’ve never thought of what I do as ‘teaching’ leadership,” he says. “For me, it’s always been about trying to find a way to help others explore the concept—what it means to them, and to their communities.” Dudley helps us understand leadership in a more nuanced, practical, and hopeful way. He argues that we too often make leadership into something bigger than us, or beyond us. We make it about money, fame, titles and influence, and therefore something reserved for a select few. Instead, Dudley insists our organizations and communities are stronger when we embrace the idea there is a form of leadership of which we are all capable. His keynotes blend world-class storytelling with practical insights on how to develop and recognize leadership—in ourselves, our families, our organizations, and our communities.
In Dudley’s current role as the Founder and Chief Catalyst of Day One Leadership, he works with organizations around the world to empower people to increase their leadership capacity. His clients have included some of the world’s most dynamic companies and organizations, including McDonald’s, Dreamworks Animation, Proctor & Gamble, JP Morgan Chase, and over 75 colleges and universities.
He has spoken to over 250,000 people on 5 continents, been featured on The Huffington Post, Radio America, Forbes.com, and TED.com, where his TED talk was voted “one of the 15 most inspirational TED talks of all time” and has been viewed millions of times around the web. TIME recently named the talk one of their “seven speeches that will make you a better leader.” His work with some of Canada's largest schools, corporations and government agencies has led to him being called “one of the most motivating and inspiring speakers on leadership out there right now” (Dr. Brian Harrington, Oxford University).
Creating Cultures of Leadership and the Power of “Lollipop Moments”
“How many of you are completely comfortable with calling yourself a leader?”
What would happen if you asked that at your next team meeting? What percentage of hands do you think would be raised? Leadership speaker Drew Dudley has asked that question to hundreds of thousands of people around the world, and he’s yet to find an organization where the majority of employees are willing to call themselves leaders. That’s a problem—and this keynote aims to help solve it.
We often evaluate leadership over periods of time: a fiscal quarter, a year, even an entire career. Dudley argues that the most impactful leaders and the most successful organizations evaluate leadership differently. They focus on “everyday leadership” and ensure that it’s fostered, acknowledged, and rewarded. To Dudley, this means creating a process to create more “lollipop moments.” Don’t be fooled by the name; “lollipop moments” represent moments of powerful impact and growth, and can be transformative at every level of an organization.
A born storyteller with infectious energy, Dudley shares practical insights on how successful leaders create cultures of leadership in their own lives and within their organizations. Featuring examples that originate everywhere from small-town Canada to the deserts of Qatar, and characters who range from janitors to CEOs, this presentation will make you laugh, think, and reconsider the ways you evaluate leadership in your life and workplace.
Overcoming Silos: Building Leaders and Breaking Down Silos
Your organization has smart, dedicated, and talented people. So why does it sometimes struggle to get everyone working together effectively? Silos develop when people fear that working as part of a collective will stand in the way of reaching personal goals and living their core values. As a result, they stick to people with the same values, and avoid engagement where their values might be compromised. This can lead to cliques, turf wars, interpersonal conflict, and of course, lower productivity and satisfaction.
The problem in many organizations is that those within them only discover (or really, guess at) the key values of their teammates when a conflict arises or when a teammate does something they don’t like. In this keynote, Dudley provides a step-by-step process organizations can use to help team members understand their own values and those of their colleagues, as well as embed four key values necessary for collaboration in every organizational culture.
The Silent Battles: Life, Leadership, and Bipolar Disorder
“Have you ever watched a movie that had a big twist at the end? The next time you watch that movie, you see everything that happens in a different light. That’s how I felt looking back on my life once I learned I had bipolar disorder,” says leadership speaker Drew Dudley.
Dudley has spoken to over 100,000 people around the world about creating personal cultures of leadership. This presentation is the story of how he often felt he had no right to do so. He shares the exhilarating highs and devastating lows made possible by his disease, and talks about the challenges of managing personal and professional relationships despite fear and self-doubt. He shares the pressure he felt to deny his illness as he experienced greater success, and the difficulties he encountered in seeking, finding, and accepting help. “I’ve come to realize that we all fight silent battles in our lives,” he says. “Battles we keep quiet because we are afraid they will make us look weak, or unemployable, or an embarrassment to those we care about.”
Dudley weaves humour with insight to make this a presentation about more than mental illness: he aims to shed light on how each of us can more effectively fight the silent battles in our own lives. Blending his personal story with universal leadership principles, he provides not only a greater understanding of life with mental illness, but equips the audience with tools to become more resilient, respond better to adversity, and improve their own mental well being.
Untaught Lessons: Barriers to Leadership and How We Can Overcome Them
In speaking to over 250,000 people around the world, Drew Dudley has discovered that the vast majority of them are simply not comfortable calling themselves leaders.
This aversion to seeing ourselves as leaders is a result of ingrained cultural practices and perspectives that suppress our talents and ambitions, disengage us from the leadership process, and make us regress as leaders and agents of change. These roadblocks to leadership aren’t consciously created, nor are they the fault of any individual or group. They emerge from the “untaught lessons” of our education system—lessons that too often leave people feeling that what others think of them is somehow more important than what they think of themselves.
In this keynote, Dudley highlights these barriers and how they develop, and with hope, humour, and optimism, focuses on ways in which they can be overcome.
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