Joe Folkman Profile

Thought leader and one of the most respected psychometricians in the USA, Joe Folkman’s keynote speeches on leadership, employee feedback and managing change are in demand around the world.

Joe has developed a database that holds more than half a million assessments of almost 50,000 leaders, a tool that he uses to focus on successful change management. His expertise in survey design and data analysis has made him much in demand, his clients including, amongst others, AT&T, Boeing, ConocoPhillips, CIBC, General Mills, Hunt Consolidated, Koch Industries, Marathon Oil, Nortel, Fidelity, First American, Reed-Elsevier, Safeway, Thomson Reuters, US Navy, UCSD, Wells Fargo and Weyerhaeuser.

The holder of a doctorate in Social and Organizational Psychology and a Masters in Organizational Behavior from Brigham Young University, Joe was a founding partner at Novations Group, leading assessment. He is co-founder and President of Zenger Folkman, a firm dedicated to the employment of hard evidence and maximizing employee strengths for organizational enhancement.

The author or co-author of seven books, Joe has been featured in The Wall Street Journal’s National Business Employment Weekly, Training and Development Magazine as well as Executive Excellence, amongst others.

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    Author, Speaker, Thought Leader

    Joe Folkman is co-founder and President of Zenger Folkman, a firm that utilizes evidence-driven, strengths-based methods to improve organizations and the people within them. He is a respected authority on assessment and change, and an acclaimed keynote speaker at conferences and seminars the world over. His topics focus on a variety of subjects related to leadership, feedback, and individual and organizational change.

    As one of the nation′s renowned psychometricians, his extensive expertise focuses on survey research and change management. He has over 30 years of experience, consulting with some of the world′s most prestigious and successful organizations. His unique measurement tools are designed utilizing a database comprised of over a half million assessments on almost 50,000 leaders. Because these tools specifically address critical business results, facilitating development and change is the main focus of measurement efforts

    Joe′s research has received placement in several publications including The Wall Street Journal′s National Business Employment Weekly, Training and Development Magazine, and Executive Excellence.

    A distinguished expert in the field of survey design and data analysis, Joe consults with organizations large and small, public and private. He has had engagements with clients such as AT&T, Boeing, ConocoPhillips, CIBC, General Mills, Hunt Consolidated, Koch Industries, Marathon Oil, Nortel, Fidelity, First American, Reed-Elsevier, Safeway, Thomson Reuters, US Navy, UCSD, Wells Fargo and Weyerhaeuser.

    Prior to forming Zenger Folkman, Joe was a founding partner of Novations Group, Inc., where he led the employee survey and 360 assessment practices.

    Joe holds a doctorate in Social and Organizational Psychology, as well as a master′s degree in Organizational Behavior from Brigham Young University.

    He is the author or co-author of seven books: Turning Feedback Into Change, Making Feedback Work, Employee Surveys that Make a Difference, the best-selling Extraordinary Leader: Turning Good Managers into Great Leaders, The Handbook for Leaders, The Power of Feedback and The Inspiring Leader: Unlocking the Secrets of How Extraordinary Leaders Motivate.

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Joe Folkman's Speech Descriptions

Joe offers a leadership development program which is strengths based; derived from intensive research proving the direct correlation between leadership and productivity, employee commitment and customer satisfaction, it is a tried and tested practical program to produce extraordinary leaders.

Joe believes, and has proved through his extensive research, that inspiring others is a skill that can be learned. He provides a practical methodology whereby you can become an inspirer of others, increasing employee engagement, commitment, productivity and innovation, all leading to increased profitability.

Using research-based methodology, Joe can provide you with a customized and workable development plan that will boost the performance, motivation and satisfaction of any businessperson or organization.

The Extraordinary Leader Development Program
Leadership Development that Drives Results Highly effective leaders make a profound difference in their organizations. The Extraordinary Leader program takes a strength based approach to leadership development, helping organizations develop leaders who produce and accelerate positive business outcomes.

Our research has proven that the effectiveness of an organization’s leaders has a direct impact on employee productivity and commitment, customer satisfaction, and innovation; all driving profitability.
The Extraordinary Leader program helps managers become better leaders by:

    • applying our unique cross-training approach to leadership development
    • understanding how extraordinary leaders can double profits
    • utilizing 360-degree feedback to identify key strengths
    • creating an action-oriented development plan that facilitates goal setting & follow through
    • learning to apply leadership development in daily, on-the-job activities

Featuring a fresh, data-driven approach to leadership development, The Extraordinary Leader program is proven and practical. It features instruments, tools, and development approaches that increase leadership effectiveness and deliver positive organizational results. The outcome? An extraordinary leader delivering extraordinary results.

The Inspiring Leader Development Program
Inspiring Leaders Motivate Others to High Performance

Is the ability to inspire and motivate others something that can be learned, or are you just born with it? At Zenger Folkman, we’ve unlocked the secrets behind this mysterious, yet all-important competency. Based on our extensive research, "the ability to motivate and inspire" was the competency direct reports demanded most.

The Inspiring Leader development program takes a skill-building approach to this crucial competency. Combining the classroom, surveys and a unique methodology, The Inspiring Leader development program will help leaders build the leadership skills they need to inspire and motivate their teams to greater success.

The Inspiring Leader program helps leaders become more inspiring by:

    • understanding how inspiring leaders positively impact business outcomes
    • learning & applying the 10 competencies that define inspiring leaders
    • discovering the 6 approaches to inspiring others
    • identifying & practicing proven inspirational strategies for communicating powerfully
    • building an individualized action plan that facilitates goal-setting & follow-through

The Inspiring Leader uses data-driven material to help organizations:

    • Increase employee engagement
    • Strengthen employee commitment
    • Drive productivity
    • Foster innovation
    • Boost profitability


The ability to make important contributions is within most people’s grasp. Aspiring to be truly extraordinary can result in tremendous gains in productivity for the organization while boosting individual on-the-job satisfaction, growth, and opportunities.

Built on empirical research that identifies the behaviors that differentiate great performers, The Extraordinary Performer workshop provides the motivation and tools for all employees to increase their ability to contribute. They learn to understand how to take charge of their careers and their own long-term performance, while making a profound difference in their organization.


    • learn about the factors that drive extraordinary job per­formance
    • understand how individual careers progress through stages that allow people to remain high contributors over time
    • are assessed on 16 competencies that distinguish the highest performing individuals from the rest

Using our unique cross-training approach, participants create a customized, actionable development plan that builds on their strengths, passions, and the organization’s needs, providing a clear development roadmap for each individual to implement back on the job.

Coaching Skills that Improve Productivity

Effective coaches have the potential to significantly increase their personal leadership impact and the productivity and effectiveness of those they coach. By providing leaders with greater awareness and new frameworks for growing and developing others, leaders can create greater results and leave a profound legacy in their organizations.

The Extraordinary Coach workshop takes a strength based approach to improving coaching skills by focusing on what extraordinary coaches do well. Participants gain the critical coaching skills and tools they need to maximize their leadership effectiveness and coach others to perform at their peak. The outcome is more motivated, committed, and engaged employees.

The Extraordinary Coach program helps leaders become better coaches by:

    • understanding how great leaders coach others to high performance
    • learning how to build trusting coaching relationships that inspire commitment
    • utilizing 360-degree feedback to identify key coaching strengths
    • learning how to hold powerful coaching conversations that drive action
    • using on-the-spot peer coaching and our unique cross-training approach to build an individual development plan

Featuring a fresh, unique cross-training approach, The Extraordinary Coach program is proven to drive employee productivity, commitment, and performance. Leaders create a customized, actionable development plan that builds on their strengths, passions, and the organization’s needs, providing a clear development roadmap for each individual to implement back on the job.

What People are Saying about Seeing Joe Speak

Rating Entries

    “At Boeing’s Aerospace Support division, we had concerns about our level of employee commitment. Our work with the Extraordinary Leader introduced us to the research showing a connection between leadership effectiveness and employee commitment. Partnering with Zenger Folkman, we created a competency model, an on-line multi-rater feedback process, and a workshop to help our leaders develop their strengths. Using the ‘cross training’ approach; our leaders achieved an across-the-board improvement of close to 15% in their year-over-year employee commitment scores. Not only did our best leaders get better, but our ‘average’ leaders and even our poorest leaders showed marked improvement in their leadership effectiveness and employee commitment scores. This improvement was a critical factor in our qualifications for the Malcolm Baldrige award, which our division won.”
    – Dee Thomas, HR Director, Boeing Aerospace Support

    “The workshop was excellent and feedback from all participants has been extremely positive. I particularly enjoyed the way current paradigms on developing leaders were challenged. I have no doubt that those who attended will benefit from the experience and will, in turn, provide benefits for our organization.”
    – J. Mateparae, Master General, New Zealand Defense Force

    “The Extraordinary Leader class was one of the most powerful and insightful programs I have ever attended. The 360-degree profile gave me deep insights into how others perceive me as a leader, and the course and follow-on coaching has paved an exciting path for me to follow in developing my leadership skills.”
    – Ricardo Fuchs, Vice President, Serv Corp, Inc.

    “The Extraordinary Leader research caused us to rethink our performance management philosophy. We revamped our process to orient it more toward building employees’ strengths. The results have been remarkable. We now have a more balanced performance agreement, highlighting areas of strength, and significant problems that must be fixed. The biggest change has been in the energy people have for the performance management process. It is now something that most employees look forward to. How many companies can say that?”
    – Mary Settle, Vice President of Human Resources, BARD Access Systems

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Books by Joe Folkman:

The Inspiring Leader: Unlocking the Secrets of How Extraordinary Leaders Motivate

In their bestselling work The Extraordinary Leader, performance thought leaders John Zenger and Joseph Folkman revealed the 16 key competencies that separate the top 10 percent of leaders from the rest. Since that book’s publication, they and coauthor Scott Edinger discovered, through an extensive study conducted over four years, that leaders who possessed the ability to inspire and motivate outperformed all others.

The authors found that the impact of inspiring and motivating others is consistent across different kinds of organizations and within different cultures. The Inspiring Leader reveals the authors’ newest proprietary research on how top leaders inspire teams to greatness. It discusses the behaviors exhibited by the most successful leaders and includes advice on how to implement them. Drawing from statistically significant data and objective empirical evidence, the book shows how to:

    • Establish a clear vision and direction
    • Use the power of emotions
    • Create stretch goals for your team
    • Foster innovation and risk taking
    • Encourage teamwork and collaboration
    • Champion change, and much more

Zenger, Folkman, and Edinger lay out the strategies and concepts used by the world’s greatest leaders to motivate their teams. With The Inspiring Leader as your guide, you will learn how to put those strategies to work in your own business.

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