07 – Jim Kouzes: Best Selling Author & Educator

Jim_Pic TLC websiteJim Kouzes is a bestselling author, an award-winning speaker and, according to the Wall Street Journal, one of the twelve best executive educators in the United States.

Jim Kouzes has been thinking about leadership ever since he was one of only a dozen Eagle Scouts to be selected to serve in John F. Kennedy’s honor guard when Kennedy was inaugurated President of the United States. Kennedy’s inaugural call to action —“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” — inspired Jim to join the Peace Corps, and he taught school in Turkey for two years. That experience made Jim realize that he wanted a career that offered two things: the chance to teach and the opportunity to serve. It was in his first job back in the U.S. where Jim trained community action agency managers that he found his calling. Jim has devoted his life to leadership development ever since.

Currently Jim is Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, at Santa Clara University, and also lectures on leadership around the world to corporations, governments, and nonprofits. In 2010, Jim received the Thought Leadership Award from the Instructional Systems Association, the most prestigious award given by the trade association of training and development industry providers. He was listed as one of HR Magazine’s Most Influential International Thinkers for 2010 and 2011, named one of the 2010 and 2011 Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America, and ranked by Leadership Excellence magazine as number sixteen on its list of the Top 100 Thought Leaders. In 2006, Jim was presented with the Golden Gavel, the highest honor awarded by Toastmasters International.

A highly-regarded leadership scholar and an experienced executive, Jim served as president, CEO, and chairman of the Tom Peters Company from 1988 through 1999, and prior to that led the Executive Development Center at Santa Clara University (1981–1987). He founded the Joint Center for Human Services Development at San Jose State University (1972–1980) and was on the staff of the School of Social Work, University of Texas. His career in training and development began in 1969 when he conducted seminars for Community Action Agency staff and volunteers in the war on poverty. Following graduation from Michigan State University (BA degree with honors in political science), he served as a Peace Corps volunteer (1967–1969).

Highlights from this Podcast:

  • Jim discusses how he became interested in leadership based on President John F. Kennedy’s call to the nation.
  • Everyone is capable and responsible to become a leader; we all make a difference.
  • Leadership is an affair of the heart and rooted in love; Learn how the belief that we have to be “hard & emotionless” as leaders is a tragic myth.
  • Learn that Courage is a choice and we are all capable of courageous actions; Jim uses Rosa Parks courageous story to drive this home.

Comments 3

  1. I’ve followed Jim and his work for years. He and Barry Posner revolutionized clarification of the actual practice of leadership in their ever-expanding effort — “The Leadership Challenge.” Jim, I’m a lifelong fan!

  2. Very inspiring leadership lessons from Jim!

    Jim and Barry wrote forewords for two of my 22 leadership books titled ‘Success Sutras for
    Students: Stay Inspired!’ and ‘Student Leaders: Growing From Students to CEOs’ respectively . They are
    gems in the area of leadership. Leadership is their passion. Both are very humble and helpful leadership gurus who want to make a difference in the lives of others.

    Life is great!

    Professor M.S.Rao, India

    Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India

    Listed in Marquis Who’s Who in the World in 2013

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    21 Success Sutras for Leaders: Top 10 Leadership Books of the Year (San Diego University) Amazon URL:
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