Former Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
for Westar Energy, Leadership and Safety Expert
Doug Sterbenz is the recently retired Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Westar Energy. Now Doug takes his safety and leadership experiences and helps organizations reach their goals.
Doug never imagined himself as a speaker, but has a passion for sharing the lessons he has learned along the way. He has stories to tell because he has lived them, and he has a proven track record of leading people to achieve success. He is often called to speak on safety and leadership, and he has a message that will personally inspire and challenge any audience.
Doug has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Kansas State University, holds a Professional Engineering license, and has a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Tyler.
Doug has serious credibility on the topic of safety from the shop floor to the executive suite. Having worked as a shift supervisor in a power plant to launching his company’s power marketing business and going on to lead the operating activities for the largest electric provider in Kansas.
The Secret Ingredient to Safety Success
Workplace accidents are far too common. Doug believes that all accidents and injuries are preventable and that it us up to the leaders to make zero accidents and injuries a reality. Recently, Doug authored the book The Secret Ingredient to Safety Excellence.
He is a graduate of Leadership Topeka and Leadership Kansas, and he serves on many non-profit boards and university academic advisory councils.
Doug and his wife Connie have three grown children and live in Topeka, Kansas.
Must be Present to Win
Just like the rules for your local raffle fundraiser, where participants must be present to win, leaders must be present with those they lead so they can win. What does it mean to be “present” and why don’t we do it more often? Are your leaders spending too much time on their individual “in-basket” and passing up much higher value opportunities to lead? Are your leaders truly Present to Win with those they lead?
The Secret Ingredient to Safety Excellence
Most company safety programs are average. Some of them even fail. And a few really excel. The ones that excel always have a secret element. All safety programs are made or lost over this one secret ingredient – and it is one element most overlooked by leadership. Doug reveals the secret to an excellent safety program and shows how your employees will never forget it.
All leaders think they act with a high level of integrity – right? When it comes to leading, supervising and managing, integrity takes on a meaning that many people don’t think about. In fact, many leaders violate a simple law of integrity often and don’t know it. Doug has developed his model called, “A Manager’s Integrity.” Doug shows through story, actual example and role play what has derailed the careers of many aspiring leaders and company change efforts. Those leaders who learn the principle of this model have gone on to implement great initiatives, lead change positively and achieve great success.
Leaders Must Be Present To Win
“No free ticket to success. Leaders Must be Present to Win.” Just like the rules for your local raffle fundraiser, where participants must be present to win, leaders must be present with those they lead so they can win. What does it mean to be “present” and why don’t we do it more often? Are your leaders spending too much time on their individual “in-basket” and passing up much higher value opportunities to lead?
The Ink Spot
Doug tells the story of an ink pen leaving a nasty ink spot on his new white shirt in an important business meeting, and how he used the name tag to cover up his embarrassment. Everyone can relate to the funny and entertaining story. Doug then uses the story to examine how leaders have concerns that hold them back. We all like to hide our flaws so our followers won’t see them, but our followers almost always know. Who are we fooling? All leaders have embarrassments. We are not perfect. Doug helps aspiring leaders find and solve their own ink spots, their limitations.
Parents not Babysitters
Most parents have hired a babysitter – and there is never any confusion about the very different roles and responsibilities of parents and babysitters. Is your leadership team acting as babysitters or parents? Presenting the difference in a way everyone can understand, Doug challenges leadership teams to step up to the role of parents in driving results and growth. Are your leaders simply babysitters to those they lead?
All Doug Sterbenz Books
The Secret Ingredient to Safety ExcellencePurchase Book
"We invited Doug to share his presentation. As I looked around the room, I could see that everyone was paying attention and listening. It was emotional and as a result, I am seeing a greater commitment by our employees to own safety."
- Platte River Power Authority | CEO
“Doug is a dynamic speaker who connects with his audience on an individual level through timeless stories and practical illustrations.”
- Van Hooser Associates, Inc. | President
“His key leadership principles got my mind turning and kept me captivated the entire time.”
- Chad Hymas Communications, Inc. | Owner
“Doug’s Keynote address really made a large impact and his message helped get the conference kicked off in the right direction. Doug’s delivery and message was excellent – people internalized every word he said. Personally, I have now found myself making decisions everyday based on Doug’s question."
- Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products LP | Bill Konefes