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Nancy Austin BA MBA
"A Passion For Excellence"
Nancy AustinExpertise: Leadership • Company-Building • Innovation • Women as Leaders
Fee Range: $10,000 to $20,000
Location: California
Nancy K. Austin’s work and writing has changed the way business does business. A leading authority and well-known speaker on smart management and the kind of leadership you can be proud of, Austin has spoken before business, education, and military leaders in countries on six continents. She continues to break new ground in our new world of work, where everything goes full-tilt all the time, and where know-how, talent, and boldness combine to move mountains.

In 1985, Austin co-wrote A Passion for Excellence: The Leadership Difference with Tom Peters. An instant classic, the book quickly became a #1 best-seller and a favorite among businesspeople.
Her pioneering work in assertiveness training led to the publication of The Assertive Woman, co-authored with Stanlee Phelps. The book, the first written expressly for women on how to promote and apply assertive skills in their personal and professional lives, has sold over 420,000 copies and has been published in seven languages. A wholly revised fourth edition was published in July, 2002.

Austin, who holds a BA and an MBA from UCLA, was also affiliated with UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, where she was part of a team brought together to study and improve the community mental health system in California. During this time, she created and led skill-based coaching for health care practitioners, wrote frequently for professional journals, and delivered presentations that drew enthusiastic audiences.

After several years with leading consulting firms, Austin joined the Hewlett-Packard Company in Palo Alto, California. Her mission was to identify and articulate the distinctive management practices that made the company great, and to help those skills take root in a new generation of company leaders around the world. In 1983, Austin co-founded The Tom Peters Group, the Palo Alto-based consulting and research firm dedicated to deepening and applying the principles and management thinking that Peters first described in the landmark In Search of Excellence. .

Austin has also served as contributing editor at Working Woman magazine, a columnist for 1099 (a webzine for independent professionals), and is a contributing editor for Incentive and Inc. magazines. As president of Nancy K. Austin, Inc., Austin delivers programs and keynotes to organizations large and small, public and private. She is a frequent guest on television, radio, and in print, where she often discusses business excellence, innovation, and women in leadership. .

Programs and Themes:
Leadership Uncaged
Everywhere you look, in every industry and every level, people are braving racy new circumstances and wild new kinds of competition.

Modern leaders must break away from the brittle confines of old molds and expectations about what leadership is and does. We’ve come a long way from Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management, where, a century ago, the search for “one best way” drove everything. Managers, once devoted to control, are adapting and improvising and provoking like crazy. All those troublesome quirks and idiosyncrasies that managers were supposed to stamp out of employees (and, by the way, customers too) are today interesting and indispensable resources just waiting to be unleashed. There’s never been a more perfect time to do something really, outstandingly different.

So the true work of leadership is, above all, to be passionate; to dream big; to make hay with the talent that resides in the people who work alongside you; to keep everybody focused on a purpose that’s bigger-than-money; and to do it all with real integrity and credibility.

A Passion For Excellence
Management fads come and go, but the real stuff holds up over time. These are the strategies you can count on this year, next year, and for the next 50 years. Customers are crucial; wowing them and staying close to them are business fundamentals. Constant, robust, disruptive innovation is the only survival strategy, and the right people and distinguished leadership are the heart of the matter.

But, amazingly, this doctrine is fairly new: Nancy Austin, writing with Tom Peters, was the first to strongly underscore this “blinding flash of the obvious.” The number-one bestseller that went on to become a business classic marked the very first time that the role of the customer was emphasized beyond mere discussion. That powerful revelation forever changed attitudes about the way business does business. Nancy Austin, of course, has a unique advantage when essaying this topic: she’s an original source, with a compelling and authentic perspective.

In this presentation, Austin revisits the beginnings of modern management and traces its uphill climb from “universal science” to magic bullet to something inventive and improvised, where everybody is connected to everybody and everything. Talent, wherever it may be, runs the show. Learning isn’t just a strategy, it’s the strategy, and innovation—messy though it is—happens because the enterprise is designed to let it happen.

Women, Talent, And Leadership
A century ago, leadership was an ultra-formal, contained discipline governed by male-authored rulebooks. In this time of boundless opportunity, however, real leadership does not start with a rule: it begins with a roar. And nobody knows more about this than women.

This presentation reveals that the true work of leadership is to be un-boring, to trust one’s gut, to improvise, to pay attention to others, and to connect. There has never been a better time for women to shine. This presentation is not solely about equality and taking women seriously; it’s about economics and natural talent. Women really are powerful, and the wealth of smart companies and nations proves it!

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