Joseph Grenny Profile

Social scientist Joseph Grenny uses his cutting edge research on leadership practices, influence, and human behavior to boost business productivity and foster high performing work environments. The four-time New York Times best-selling author’s work has propelled results at 300 of the Fortune 500 companies.

Joseph’s dynamic and no-frill programs give people the tools for taking on those uncomfortable conversations in the workplace, empowering them to turn disappointments and broken promises into opportunities for enhancing accountability, improving performance, and ensuring execution. Many of these tactics are captured in his book Crucial Conversations which has been translated into 28 languages.

Joseph has been named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for his work in founding the corporate training and leadership development company VitalSmarts, which has been ranked nine times by Inc. as one of the fastest-growing companies in America. He is also the co-founder and co-chairman of the non-profit organization Unitus, which works to eradicate poverty by connecting people in third world countries with the resources and skills they need to create and run businesses.

Previously he was the Regional Director of the Covey Leadership Center and the President of the California Computer Corporation.

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    Over the past twenty years, Joseph Grenny has taught and advised more than one hundred thousand leaders on every major continent from the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies to the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. He has advised CEOs and senior executives on more than a dozen major change initiatives—receiving credit from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics’ President as a key factor in helping the organization win the $200 billion Joint Strike Fighter program.

    Bestselling Author
    Joseph is coauthor of three New York Times bestsellers, Influencer: The Power to Change Anything, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when Stakes are High, and Crucial Confrontations: Tools for Resolving Broken Promises, Violated Expectations, and Bad Behavior.

    An expert in topics ranging from influence and leadership to organizational change and effectiveness, Joseph has been cited in dozens of newspapers including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. He has also appeared on more than one hundred radio and television programs including ABC News, CNN, Bloomberg, CNBC, and the Today Show.

    Dynamic Speaker
    Having delivered thousands of speeches in his career, Joseph’s engaging style is a sought-after mix of entertainment, practicality, and foundational research. Traveling across the globe from East Asia, to India, to Europe, Joseph has spoken to organizations including NASA, the American Bankers Association, the Supreme Court of California, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, the American Public Works Association, and the American Society of Training and Development.

    A seasoned executive and business strategy expert, Joseph has addressed executive level teams for clients including IBM, Progressive Insurance, Sprint, Textron, McGraw-Hill, Texas Instruments, and Genentech. Whether he’s speaking to an audience of more than ten thousand or to a small executive team, Joseph’s dynamic and captivating style keeps his skills in high demand.

    Business Results Expert
    Formerly, Joseph was cofounder and president of California Computer Corporation. And in 2007, he and his coauthors were named Ernst & Young Entrepreneurs of the Year for their work in founding and leading VitalSmarts, a leader in corporate training and organizational development.

    VitalSmarts has helped more than three hundred of the Fortune 500 realize significant results using a proven method for driving rapid, sustainable, and measurable change in behaviors. Named the 2008 Business of the Year by The Association of Learning Providers, VitalSmarts has also been ranked four times by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in America and has taught two million people worldwide.

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Joseph Grenny's Speech Descriptions

Social scientist Joseph Grenny draws from 30 years of research as he equips organizations with strategies for leading, even in the most unsavory situations. Joseph’s programs emphasize proactive approaches such as steps for taking accountability; furthermore, his studies demonstrate the danger and loss accumulated when businesses and employees sweep mistakes under the rug.

Friendly and straight to the point, Joseph delivers repeatable learnable takeaways that will help audiences improve safety or customer service, retain more clients in their business, and break down seemingly unsolvable problems into smaller manageable components.

Not all conversations are created equal. Some are crucial.

A passionate social scientist, Joseph Grenny has spent thirty years studying crucial moments that have the potential to change the trajectory of our career, lives, and relationships – moments when what we say and how we say it can mean the difference between success and failure. When the stakes are high, emotions run strong, and opinions differ, masters of crucial conversations create alignment and agreement. They speak up and share their concerns candidly and respectfully regardless of the other person’s level or position. What’s more, in organizations that foster cultures of open dialogue, mistakes are caught more quickly, decisions are implemented more effectively, and innovation flows more routinely.

Bridging the gap between expectations and results.

Joseph Grenny has spent thirty years studying cultures of dialogue and accountability. When others let us down, break rules, fail to deliver on their promises, or behave badly, what do we do? Unfortunately, most people choose to say nothing because when accountability is void, they assume they don’t have the power or authority to raise a concern. In fact, Joseph’s research shows people waste $1,500 and an 8-hour workday every time they avoid an accountability discussion. However, in organizations that build cultures of accountability, people raise concerns with those beside, above, and below them on the organizational chart. As a result, problems are solved routinely and quickly and a pervasive sense of empowerment and responsibility for results prevails.


Essential Leadership Skills

Every leader wants to be an influencer – to create wide-spread and lasting change. And yet, few leaders possess more than a handful of techniques for getting others to change. What truly influential leaders understand is that influence has little to do with pep talks, bribes or system updates but rather is the capacity to systematically, rapidly, and sustainably change a handful of key behaviors. By drawing from the skills of hundreds of successful leaders, thousands of successful change efforts, and more than six decades of the best social science research, Joseph teaches a proven model for leading change – a model that was named the Change Management Approach of the Year by MIT’s Sloan Management Review.

10x Your Influence
New Research in Leading Change

Joseph Grenny has spent the past thirty years studying effective change agents – leaders who have rapidly and systematically produced widespread change in human behavior. His research, published in the MIT Sloan Management Review and named by MIT as the Change Management Approach of the Year teaches that these effective influencers drive change by relying on six different sources of influence at the same time. Those who succeed predictably and repeatedly don’t differ from others by degrees. They differ exponentially. Joseph’s research reveals that leaders who understand how to combine all six sources of influence are ten times more successful at producing substantial and sustainable change.

Change Anything
Personal Problem Solving

Often, we want to make big changes but lack the resolve to see them through. We can’t seem to summon the necessary willpower to take on huge challenges like improving performance at work, earning a promotion or increasing productivity. Joseph Grenny studies more than 5,000 people attempting to overcome intrepid personal challenges and uncovered a breakthrough in personal influence: our inability to change is not due to a lack of will, but rather a lack of skill. With a clearer understanding of six powerful sources of influence that shape our behavior, we can become ten times more successful at changing anything.

Four Crucial Skills of a High Performing Culture
After studying a worldwide sample of more than 11,000 managers and employees, Joseph Grenny and his colleagues uncovered a formula for maximizing the hidden potential of an organization’s human system – the employees. Leaders who develop four competencies characteristic of a high-performance culture are 104% better at executing and 98% better at innovating than organizations that don’t succeed in these competencies. Those competencies are: self-directed change, open dialogue, universal accountability, and influential leadership. Leaders who strategically invest in building these four competencies into their human system leverage what research shows is the most potent predictor of sustained value for customers, employees, and shareholders – a high-performance culture.

The Science of Leadership

For the past thirty years, Joseph Grenny has conducted social science research to help leaders and organizations achieve new levels of performance. Specifically, he has focused on human behavior – the underlying written and unwritten rules that shape what employees do every day. A protégé of Albert Bandura, the world’s greatest living psychologist, Joseph’s internationally published research has been distilled into applicable skills leaders can implement to increase their personal influence, improve strategic relationships, and change behavior in their organization. He’ll share his latest insights on the intersection between social science and leadership.

Silence Kills
The Seven Crucial Conversations for Healthcare

Research and regulatory bodies have long confirmed that poor communication in healthcare is harmful at best and deadly at worst. The sad reality is that fewer than 10% of doctors and nurses speak up when they see colleagues make mistakes. In this eye-opening and highly informative session, your audience will learn the seven categories of conversations that are essential for healthcare professionals to master: broken rules, mistakes, lack of support, incompetence, poor teamwork, disrespect, and micromanagement.

Joseph Grenny on Speaking

We all have great ideas about how to make the world work, but unless we can help human beings change to accommodate those ideas, they come to nothing.

SPEAKING.COM: What do you want people to learn/take away from your presentations?

GRENNY: I believe that the most important problems facing humanity, facing families, and facing organizations are problems of human behavior. We all have great ideas about how to make the world work, but unless we can help human beings change to accommodate those ideas, they come to nothing. My belief is that if millions, even billions, of us could think in better ways about that class of problems, humanity would be unstoppable, and I want to contribute to that.

SPEAKING.COM: What kind of special prep work do you do prior to an event? How do you prepare for your speaking engagements?

GRENNY: Often, I peek from the curtain behind stage, see the people kind of expectantly sitting out in the audience, and feel filled with terror. But, I’ve found that the feelings of terror subside instantly if I take a moment, breath deeply, and ask myself: what’s the message I’m there to deliver? If my goal is to bless instead of impress there’s no stress. There is no terror or fear. It disappears immediately.

SPEAKING.COM: Have you had any particularly memorable speaking engagements / unusual situations arise while on the road?

GRENNY: I’ve had a lot of beautiful moments, but the most memorable ones have been when I’ve felt completely connected to a group, where I understood their needs, and where I felt like I shared ideas that could profoundly change their lives. When the audience is open, vulnerable and trusting, when I feel like my motives are exactly on point, and my preparation was exactly on target for that particular audience – those moments are complete perfection.

SPEAKING.COM: What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?

GRENNY: I’ve spoken to everyone—from leaders to front-line employees. Everyone can benefit from learning how their behavior affects themselves and others.

I received a personal – or call it spiritual – message 25 years ago to quit my secure, comfortable, and rewarding job and instead go start something that was insane and risky, but had the potential to be very influential.

SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to start doing speaking engagements?

GRENNY: To me, the most interesting questions in the world have to do with human beings: Why do we do what we do? How does our behavior affect our lives?

The thing that energizes me the most is unsolved problems. It’s impossible for my mind to let go of the kinds of problems people haven’t been able to solve.

Throughout my career, human behavior has been endlessly fascinating to me. I received a personal – or call it spiritual – message 25 years ago to quit my secure, comfortable, and rewarding job and instead go start something that was insane and risky, but had the potential to be very influential. It was an energizing moment and it was the right choice.

What my partners and I believed from the beginning is that if you can change an organization, you change thousands of lives. We made it our mission to help organizations change by changing the behavior of the people who work within them. It’s the perfect marriage of consulting, speaking, and social science to actually make a difference in the lives of individuals. The privilege of working with people at their most vulnerable moments and helping them learn how to use good social science research to change their lives is incredibly gratifying.

SPEAKING.COM: How do you keep your audience engaged and actively listening during your keynotes? Do you use case studies, personal stories and/or in your speeches?

GRENNY: I rely heavily on social science coupled with a good story to bring the principles to life. I share stories from my personal life and the work I’ve done during my career – case studies would be another word for those. These stories are the most heart-felt and are the most well received. Exclusive Interview with Joseph Grenny
Becoming a Master Influencer, with Leadership Speaker Joseph Grenny
In this interview, Joseph Grenny discusses:

  • 6 sources of influence that make us do what we do.
  • The 3 things that influencers do better than other people.
  • How you can change someone's mind without provoking unproductive conflict.
  • Tactics you can use to effectively voice your opinion on sensitive topics.
  • 4 crucial skills for having effective conversations.

    Read the Full Interview

  • "Those who understand how to combine four to six sources of influence are up to ten times more successful at producing substantial and sustainable change."
    - Joseph Grenny

    What People are Saying about Seeing Joseph Speak

    Rating Entries

    “100 percent of the session′s attendees agreed or strongly agreed in overall satisfaction with the presenter!”
    ASTD 2003 International Conference

    “Joseph is truly gifted at his craft. I have never been so sure of doing the right thing as I am with our decision to invite Joseph to present to our leadership team. Joseph, his stories, and his brilliant material were a complete hit.”
    Susan Ritter Coordinator of Service Excellence Patient Relations / Service Excellence Banner Desert Medical Center

    “In selecting speakers, I try to find someone who is topical, interesting to listen to, and most importantly, who can connect to our people and culture. From the outset, Mr. Grenny demonstrated his commitment to learning about our company, who his audience was, and capitalized on his knowledge and research to make his messages directly relevant to what we do in our business. His presentation, the response in Q&A, and his willingness to spend time with us made the event a success. I highly recommend him as a speaker and a consultant.”
    David W. Miller Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs CH2M HILL

    “We asked Joseph Grenny to provide a three-hour overview of Crucial Conversations to a global leadership conference of our top one hundred executives. Most were highly skeptical about consultants in general. Joseph delivered an outstanding presentation in the face of these high risk conditions. He moved the audience back and forth between laughing hysterically and thinking deeply about how crucial conversations impact results that really matter. The three hours flew by and the audience was left wanting more.”
    David Kinard Director, Organizational Effectiveness Eli Lilly and Company

    “Joseph Grenny has the ability to normalize the challenges we all experience, touch people on an emotional level with his storytelling, and challenge us to move forward and address those ′Crucial Conversations′ that are keeping us stuck whether at home or work. In a short time, Joseph Grenny′s presentation kept people talking and learning long after he walked off the stage. The concepts resonated with participants.”
    Denise Smith Performance and Development Manager City of Eugene

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    Books by Joseph Grenny:

    Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition

    The New York Times Bestseller!

    Learn how to keep your cool and get the results you want when emotions flare.

    When stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong, you have three choices: Avoid a crucial conversation and suffer the consequences; handle the conversation badly and suffer the consequences; or read Crucial Conversations and discover how to communicate best when it matters most. Crucial Conversations gives you the tools you need to step up to life′s most difficult and important conversations, say what′s on your mind, and achieve the positive resolutions you want. You′ll learn how to:

    • Prepare for high-impact situations with a six-minute mastery technique
    • Make it safe to talk about almost anything
    • Be persuasive, not abrasive
    • Keep listening when others blow up or clam up
    • Turn crucial conversations into the action and results you want

    Whether they take place at work or at home, with your neighbors or your spouse, crucial conversations can have a profound impact on your career, your happiness, and your future. With the skills you learn in this book, you′ll never have to worry about the outcome of a crucial conversation again.

    Order Here

    Influencer: The Power to Change Anything

    An INFLUENCER motivates others to change.

    An INFLUENCER replaces bad behaviors with powerful new skills.

    An INFLUENCER makes things happen.

    This is what it takes to be an INFLUENCER.

    Whether you′re a CEO, a parent, or merely a person who wants to make a difference, you probably wish you had more influence with the people in your life. But most of us stop trying to make change happen because we believe it is too difficult, if not impossible. We develop complicated coping strategies when we should be learning the tools and techniques of the world′s most influential people.

    Order Here

    Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success

    A stunning new approach to how individuals can not only change their lives for the better in the workplace, but also their lives away from the office, including (but not limited to) finding ways to improve one′s working relationship with others, one′s overall health, outlook on life, and so on.

    For example, why is it that 95% of all diet attempts fail? Why do New Year′s Resolutions last no more than a few days? Why can′t people with good intentions seem to make consistent and positive strides in the way they want to improve their careers, financial fitness, physical fitness, and so on?

    Based upon the latest research in a number of psychological and medical fields, the authors of CHANGE ANYTHING will show that traditional will-power is not necessarily the answer to these strivings, that people are affected in their behaviors by far more subtle influences. CHANGE ANYTHING shows how individuals can come to understand these powerful and influential forces, and how to put these forces to work in a positive manner that brings real and meaningful results.

    The authors present an array of everyday examples that will change and truly empower you to reexamine the way you go about your business and life.

    Order Here

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