James Kouzes

Former CEO of Tom Peters Group and Best-Selling Co-Author of The Leadership Challenge

In-Person Fee Range
$20,001 to $50,000
(Inquire for virtual fee)

Travels From
California, United States

Former CEO of Tom Peters Group and Best-Selling
Co-Author of The Leadership Challenge

Jim Kouzes is a bestselling author, an award-winning speaker and, according to the Wall Street Journal, one of the twelve best executive educators in the United States.

Leadership Guru

Jim Kouzes has been thinking about leadership ever since he was one of only a dozen Eagle Scouts to be selected to serve in John F. Kennedy’s honor guard when Kennedy was inaugurated President of the United States. Kennedy’s inaugural call to action —“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” — inspired Jim to join the Peace Corps, and he taught school in Turkey for two years. That experience made Jim realize that he wanted a career that offered two things: the chance to teach and the opportunity to serve. It was in his first job back in the U.S. where Jim trained community action agency managers that he found his calling. Jim has devoted his life to leadership development ever since.


The fifth edition of The Leadership Challenge was released in July 2012, marking the 25th anniversary of the book. It debuted as #1 on Amazon’s leadership bestseller list and was selected by FastCompany as one of the 2012 Best Business Books of the Year and was on the 2013 Wall Street Journal bestseller list. In 2009 The Leadership Challenge was selected as one of the 100 best business books of all time by 800-CEO-READ. It was an Amazon Editor’s Pick for one of the Best Business Books of 2007, as well as the winner of the 1995-96 Critics’ Choice Award, and the 1989 James A. Hamilton Hospital Administrators’ Book Award. Their book A Leader’s Legacy was selected by Soundview Executive Book Summaries as one of the top thirty books of the year and by the Globe and Mail (Canada) as one of the top ten books of 2006. Jim and Barry have coauthored over thirty other publications including Making Extraordinary Things Happen in Asia, Encouraging the Heart, The Leadership Challenge Workbook, and The Truth About Leadership. Their book award-winning Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It was chosen by Industry Week as one of the ten best management books of the year.

Honors and Awards

Currently Jim is Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, at Santa Clara University, and also lectures on leadership around the world to corporations, governments, and nonprofits. In 2010, Jim received the Thought Leadership Award from the Instructional Systems Association, the most prestigious award given by the trade association of training and development industry providers. He was listed as one of HR Magazine’s Most Influential International Thinkers for 2010 and 2011, named one of the 2010 and 2011 Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America, and ranked by Leadership Excellence magazine as number sixteen on its list of the Top 100 Thought Leaders. In 2006, Jim was presented with the Golden Gavel, the highest honor awarded by Toastmasters International.

Career and Education

A highly-regarded leadership scholar and an experienced executive, Jim served as president, CEO, and chairman of the Tom Peters Company from 1988 through 1999, and prior to that led the Executive Development Center at Santa Clara University (1981–1987). He founded the Joint Center for Human Services Development at San Jose State University (1972–1980) and was on the staff of the School of Social Work, University of Texas. His career in training and development began in 1969 when he conducted seminars for Community Action Agency staff and volunteers in the war on poverty. Following graduation from Michigan State University (BA degree with honors in political science), he served as a Peace Corps volunteer (1967–1969).

The Truth About Leadership: The No-Fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need to Know

Based on thirty years of original research, Jim Kouzes explores the fundamental, enduring truths about leadership that hold constant regardless of context or circumstance. These time-tested truths reveal what leaders must know and the questions they must be prepared to answer if they are going to have a sustainable impact on their constituents and organizations. In this session, you’ll learn what the ten truths are and how you can apply them to your work as a leader.

The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations

Since 1983 Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner have been researching leadership. They’ve examined real-life cases and analyzed 360-degree assessments from hundreds of thousands of leaders and over two million observers. From their analyses of the data they've found that there are Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® that leaders demonstrate when performing at their best. Exemplary leaders Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart. In this session, you will learn what leaders actually do to exhibit these practices and how you can apply them to your daily work.

The Credible Leader: How to Strengthen and Sustain Authenticity and Integrity

Our research shows conclusively that people around the globe want leaders who are honest, forward-looking, inspiring, and competent. While these results aren't surprising, they are extraordinarily significant to leaders because three of these four characteristics comprise what communications experts refer to as "source credibility." Personal credibility is the foundation of leadership. In this session you will learn the six disciplines of earning and sustaining credibility, and you’ll learn how you can apply them in your work as a leader.

Leading in Turbulent Times: Seven Ways to Strengthen Resilience in Your Organization

As surprising as it may sound, in challenging and difficult times we are likely to see more extraordinary leadership than in times of stability. Leaders, it turns out, don’t do their best when they're maintaining the status quo or when they feel comfortable. They do their best when faced with adversity, crisis, setbacks, and great difficulty. Challenge is the opportunity for greatness. In this session, you’ll learn seven strategies for turning adversity into opportunity, and challenge into positive change.

You Can't Do It Alone: What It Takes to Create a High-Performing Team

The "Lone Ranger" view of leadership is pure myth. When it comes to superior performance, not one leader has ever done anything extraordinary by himself or herself. Collaboration out-produces both competition and individualistic efforts when it comes to achieving excellence. In this session, you’ll learn the essentials for fostering collaboration and strengthening others. You’ll learn what it takes to build trust and increase the sense of competence and confidence in your teams.

Encouraging the Heart: A Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others

Making extraordinary things happen in organizations is hard work. The challenges are immense and sometimes frightening. Against these odds leaders must provide encouragement and hope. In this session you will learn the Seven Essentials of Encouraging the Heart, and you will apply them to a specific leadership challenge that you face.

All James Kouzes Books

The Leadership Challenge, 3rd Edition
Purchase Book
Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others
Purchase Book
Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It, Revised Edition
Purchase Book

Check James Kouzes Availability

Recent Books

The Leadership Challenge, 3rd Edition
Purchase Book
Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others
Purchase Book

Your Speakers

Please add any speakers you are interested in to your list. You can send this list to us to inquire about availability.

Clear All

No Speakers in List

Scroll to Top