Organizations rarely rise higher than the quality of their leaders.
Group failure is usually leadership failure;
group success is always leadership success.
Leaders frequently make one of two mistakes: either paying too much attention to the latest fad in “leadership” or sticking to what they think they know, no matter what. But as organizations face rapidly changing times, leaders need a skillful outfitter who can provide the tools best suited to their ventures. John Stackhouse knows how an expedition might succeed or fail long before such outcomes are obvious. And he equips his audience with honest, realistic advice on what leaders can do—and can’t do—to help their organizations innovate and thrive.
John Stackhouse has studied colleges, charities, NGOs, congregations, and businesses throughout North America. He has published a variety of articles and books pertaining to leadership, and has consulted with major organizations such as World Vision and the Young Presidents Organization as well as with large congregations on both sides of the border. He has addressed university presidents in Liverpool, business executives in Seoul, pastors in Bangalore, scholars in Shanghai, lawyers in Colorado, CEOs in Michigan, students and faculty at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and political and media leaders in Ottawa.
John Stackhouse has a unique ability to translate the ancient wisdoms into truths that are useful in the everyday workplace. He uses humor and an entertaining speaking style to demonstrate that there's nothing new about today's problems--and that the solutions have already been found.
Bruce Annan, Media Consultant and former President, Electronic Media, Toronto Star Newspapers
talks and seminars
Killing with Kindness: How Leaders Hug Their Organizations to Death
Organizations thrive when they do something worthwhile in an effective way. Note that nowhere in that definition of success is the clause, “and everyone is pleased, validated, and fulfilled all the time.” The point of leadership is to help the group accomplish its mission, not to keep every stakeholder happy. This talk outlines the several most common ways in which well-intentioned executives both originate and perpetuate practices that confuse and frustrate their organizations, and what they can do—courageously, calmly, and constructively—instead.
Communication: Making It Work Before It Works You Over
Communication is like water in a landscape. It’s either on the surface or underground. It’s either fresh and sunlit, or dank and dark. It’s either being intentionally directed or left to carve its own way. Leaders can’t make the water disappear nor can they stop it flowing, even if they want it to. Their choice is only between channelling it productively or enduring its unexpected effects. This talk teaches leaders fundamental principles of healthy, helpful communication both within their groups and between their groups and others.
You Are All You’ve Got to Give: Self-Leadership for Leaders
“You can have it all! You can do it all! You can be anything you want to be! And you can do it all by yourself!” These delusional clichés of “motivational speaking” are toxic agents of narcissism, burnout, and personal disaster. This talk annihilates them and in their place offers us healthy good sense drawn from ancient wisdoms and expressed in contemporary idiom. You can have what matters, do what counts, be the best version of yourself you can possibly be, and get all the help you need. Look after yourself so you can look after those you care most about.
“Why Bother?” The Question Business Keeps Forgetting to Ask
No one is going to thrive amid today’s challenges by trying just to be 10 per cent better than last year. And no one is going to be fulfilled that way, either. “Here lies Bill Smith: He made year over year gains for most of his career.” Why are you doing what you’re doing? What’s your core concern—or what should it be? What difference are you making in the world, and what difference would you like to make? What gets you out of bed in the morning and animates the conversation at work? This talk opens up possibilities for renewed focus and direction that will bring fresh vigour and rigour to all that you do. And, yes, you’ll be better than last year, too.
How to Make Money—without It Making You
This lecture surveys some of the fascinating cultural history of money to explain why we have so many feelings, and contradictory feelings, about it: compare “He’s got a lot of bread” with “He’s filthy rich.” Then it looks at the psychology of money—why it has such a hold on us, and why we like to hold on to it—and even the spirituality of money—how it acts like a god in our lives. Money is an excellent servant, but a terrible master, and this lecture helps us put money where it belongs: in our pockets, and in the pockets of the needy, but not in our hearts.