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Thomas J. DeLong

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Thomas J. DeLong Profile Photo

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Thomas J. DeLong

Baker Foundation Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School

Teaching leaders how to draw strength from authenticity and create moments of transformation for those around them.

Thomas J. DeLong Profile Photo

Thomas J. DeLong is a Baker Foundation Professor of Management Practice and the former Philip J. Stomberg Professor of Management Practice in the Organizational Behavior Department at the Harvard Business School. He is an expert in leader development, organizational and career transformation.His book, Flying Without a Net, was recognized by the editors of Amazon Publishing as one of the top ten books written on leadership this century. His latest book, Teaching By Heart, focuses on the relationship between leadership and teaching as well as highlights his insights into teaching as craft and art after 45 years in the classroom. It was published by Harvard Business Review Press in January 2020.

A number of his cases have been taught around the world in universities and organizations. His most notable cases are: Rob Parson at Morgan Stanley, Erik Peterson at Biometra, C&S Wholesale Grocers and the 1977 Alumni Profiles.

Before joining the Harvard Business School Faculty, DeLong was Chief Development Officer and Managing Director of Morgan Stanley Group, Inc, where he was responsible for the firm’s human capital and focused on issues of organizational strategy and organizational change. At Harvard, Professor DeLong teaches MBA and executive courses focused on leadership, organizational behavior, managing human capital, and career management. DeLong has served as course head for the required course on Leadership and Organizational Behavior and designed MBA courses focusing on managing human capital in high performance organizations and leading professional service firms. DeLong is currently advising on the development of a course on interpersonal effectiveness for the first year MBAs.

DeLong has also co-authored two books focused on leadership and professional service firms, When Professionals Have to Lead: A New Model for High Performance (Harvard Business School Press, 2007) and Professional Services: Cases and Texts (McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2003). DeLong has coauthored two Harvard Business Review articles, “Let’s Hear It for B Players” and “Why Mentoring Matters in a Hypercompetitive World.”

Featured Videos

Thomas J. DeLong Profile Photo
Thomas J. DeLong
Thomas J. DeLong on Covenantal Relationships With Colleagues
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Thomas J. DeLong
Thomas J. DeLong on Living Lives of Extenuating Circumstances
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Thomas J. DeLong
Thomas J. DeLong on Moments of Losing Your Way
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Thomas J. DeLong
Thomas J. DeLong on What are You Selling and How do You Really Live
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Thomas J. DeLong
Thomas J. DeLong on Leading by the Numbers
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Thomas J. DeLong
Thomas J. DeLong on Why Leaders Need to be Teachers
Thomas J. DeLong Profile Photo
Thomas J. DeLong
Thomas J. DeLong on Authentic Leadership

Thomas J. DeLong’s Speech Topics

  • Why Leadership Matters Most: Leading in 2021

    By not studying the research and practices in leadership, organizations will fall behind their competition in significant ways. A comparison would be like not adapting to modern technology and the internet in 2021 and continuing to use typewriters and depending upon landline telephones. Professor DeLong has studied what the best leaders do in the process of leading organizational change and transformation. 


    Professor DeLong will share the most recent practices used by the most effective leaders in organizations and provide new content that has emerged in the field of organizational and individual behavior, which has centered on the human side of an enterprise. He will question the assumptions that participants have about human behavior and in intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Professor DeLong will ensure that each participant gains new skills and behaviors that will have an impact on departments, divisions and organizations in general.

  • Losing Your Way and Finding It: Reflecting on the Hero’s Journey

    The best leaders must learn to become aware of and overcome a common pattern of impulses that can lead to counterproductive outcomes. Why do we often sabotage our own efforts? What are the archetypes that describe us and our behaviors? When recognized for what they are, understanding these potential sources of derailment early can reduce the likelihood of making major ones when we have been even greater authority. There are myriad tensions that play out daily that might cause potential challenges for even the most capable leader. Through simulations, videos and discussion, Professor DeLong will lead an experience that will make our way clearer when we are trying to serve others. (Lecture and Discussion)

  • What Is The Answer To Balancing Work And Home?

    Integration is not a code word for work/life balance. We believe that there is a need for leaders to recognize the delicate balance between private and professional life. The research may be alarming to those that haven’t been drawn to the research. Are you willing to make the courageous decisions that need to be made to create a life that is truly in alignment? Many leaders believe they have figured out the answer. Professor DeLong will share the research that suggests that many leaders and managers are living an illusion. They believe they have “it” figured all out. However, there are interventions in private and professional life that might create dramatic changes, which at the end of the day inform how leaders mitigate many of the distortions that act as barriers in order to make a difference with others. 

  • What Matters Most: Enabling Others

    Great leaders expect outstanding performance from themselves, from others, and from their teams in order to achieve outstanding results. But high expectations and high standards are not enough to achieve these results. Too many professionals are not achieving their desired outcomes. They are not bringing their best selves to the workplace. A number of leaders and managers may be overestimating their ability to enable others to achieve organizational and individual alignment. Professor DeLong will lead a case discussion on how assumptions of human performance, assumptions around how to achieve operational effectiveness might be inhibiting the desired outcome leaders want to achieve. (Case: C&S Grocers)

  • What Matters Most: Am I the Leader I Think I Am? Is It Possible to Pivot for Better Results?

    For thirty years Professor DeLong has been researching the “high need for achievement personality”. The results of his research has informed professional service firms around the world given that this personality type is drawn to particular kinds of organizations. How does a leader have an impact with individuals who are gifted in certain dimensions but have blind spots in how they see themselves and the world? Professor DeLong will lead participants through a discussion of Bob Anderson, who is gifted with clients but doesn’t see his negative influence on his team and the other partners. This discussion will create the foundation for the subsequent sessions that will follow. (Case: Bob Anderson at Cambridge Consulting)

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