Keynote Speech:
Smart Leaders, Smarter TeamsTM

roger-speaking-videoIn this keynote based on his newest book, Roger Schwarz addresses a critical question: Why does a group of smart leaders so often create a less-than-effective team?

The difference between getting stuck and producing results depends on the team’s mindset.

Unilateral Control: the mindset that gets leadership teams stuck

Roger’s 30+ years of consulting experience show that leadership teams get stuck because they hold deeply entrenched beliefs about how leaders are supposed to act – like what it means to be  “a strong leader.”  These beliefs create a mindset called unilateral control.  Leaders think they’re acting in the best interests of their organization, but they often unconsciously influence their teams to become ineffective without understanding why or knowing how to resolve the situation.

Mutual Learning: the mindset that gets leadership teams unstuck


Roger’s work in Mutual Learning has enabled leadership teams to make fundamental shifts in their mindsets to produce significantly improved results. “When you use a mutual learning mindset, you achieve your goals by learning from and with others,” asserts Roger.

It sounds simple. In fact, the Mutual Learning mindset is based on five core values that are common sense. Yet the values are not common practice in most organizations.  The values are: transparency, curiosity, accountability, informed choice and compassion. Through Mutual Learning, the team learns what it means to live these values – and that they’re not platitudes; they actually create tangible results.

Keynote details:

In a 60 minute keynote, Roger will answer the following questions and use real-world examples to discuss:

  • Why does being a real team matter?
    • The difference between being a group and being a team
    • What leaders and their teams want and what they unfortunately often get
  • Why do teams of smart leaders so often get stuck?
    • The pitfalls leaders fall into when they think they’re being logical
    • Why a unilateral control mindset is usually subtle and unconscious
    • What unilateral control looks like in the real world
  • How can leadership teams get unstuck to produce the results they need?
    • What a high-functioning team looks like and how it works
    • Values, assumptions and behaviors that enable teams to work together most effectively
    • How shared team leadership creates better decisions and actually supports the formal leader of the team
  • What can you and your team start doing now to be more effective?
    • Exercises you can do in the room based on the key note
    • Next steps for considering your options for becoming a more effective team.

About Roger Schwarz

Roger Schwarz is a recognized thought leader in the realm of team leadership. An organizational psychologist and President and CEO of Roger Schwarz & Associates, he is a sought-after advisor to global companies, federal government agencies and international non-profit organizations. Clients include American Airlines, American Red Cross, the World Bank, TransCanada, Chevron and the US Department of the Interior. 

Roger is the author of Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams:  How You and Your Team Get Unstuck to Get Results, The Skilled Facilitator and co-author of The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook. His seminal works on Mutual Learning are widely used in business and organizational development graduate degree programs. 

Roger holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Education degree from Harvard University.  He lives in Chapel Hill with his wife. They have two children. 

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