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Norm Smallwood

Norm Smallwood

travels from USA

Co-founder of The RBL Group

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About Norm

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Norm Smallwood is praised in the areas of business development and leadership. He aims to assist organizations and individuals achieve great results and value through effective leadership and proper utilization of people’s capabilities. Norm was a co-founder of the RBL group which helps develop successful leaders.

Co-founder, The RBL Group

Norm Smallwood is a talented and recognized authority on developing businesses and their leaders to deliver results and increase value. His current work relates to increasing business value by building leadership, organization, and people capabilities that effectively impact market value.

Norm co-founded The RBL Group with Dave Ulrich in 2000.

Much of his current work relates to connecting firm brand identity with leadership brand capability. Leadership brand capability occurs when investors, customers and employees have confidence that leaders are able to deliver present and future results in a manner consistent with the desired customer experience or firm identity.

Norm has co-authored seven books: Real-Time StrategyHow Leaders Build ValueChange Champions Field GuideResults-Based LeadershipLeadership BrandLeadership Code and What is Leadership? (eBook). He has published hundreds of articles in leading journals and newspapers including Washington Post, Forbes and Financial Times. He has also contributed chapters and Forewords to multiple books. Norm has been a frequent blogger on HBR Online where his blog on Personal Leader Brand was highlighted as one of the top ten most read of 2010.

For three years, Norm was a faculty member in executive education at the University of Michigan in the Ross School of Management.

For several years the magazine, Leadership Excellence, has ranked Norm as one of the top 100 Global Voices in Leadership and the RBL Group as one of the top leadership development firms in the world.

Before co-founding the RBL Group, Norm was a founding partner of Novations Group, Inc. where he led business strategy, organization design, and human resource management projects for a wide variety of clients spanning multiple industries. Prior to this, he was an organization development professional at Procter and Gamble in a start up business in Georgia and in Calgary, Alberta with Esso Resources Canada.

He is an Honorary Colonel for the West Valley City Police Department.

On the family side, Norm and his wife Tricia are the leaders of two Great Danes- Fritz and Freddy- along with a couple of cats- Max and Achillesa school of koi (fish) and numerous children and grandchildren.

See keynotes with Norm Smallwood

    Keynote Topics

    • Leadership Brand- how to build leadership capability that creates confidence in external stakeholders such as customers and investors
    • Leadership Code- synthesis of the basic leadership competencies required by any leader
    • Building organization capabilities- how leaders sustain strategic intent over time; link between business strategy and HR practices; what makes our organization unique
    • How leaders build corporate reputation and investor confidence in future

Interview with Norm Smallwood

What is the message you hope people take away from your presentations?

There is a tremendous amount of concept clutter about leadership. I focus on making complex ideas and concepts more tangible and simple. Our premise is that leadership starts from the outside- with customers, investors, community- and only once you understand what these needs are can you develop required leadership skills, perspective and behaviors on the inside. That is the opposite logic of most leadership theories which focus on the psychological characteristics of individual leaders as the starting point.

Over the last 10 years, my business partner Dave Ulrich and I have written several books on the Why, What and How of leadership:

  • Why: Leadership is important because better leaders deliver better results to customers, investors, employees and the community.
  • What: 60-70% of leadership is the same for any leader in any organization- this is the leadership code. That means 30-40% is unique. We call these the differentiators.
  • How: There are 7 practices for turning aspiration into sustainable results. This is our latest book which will be published in March 2013 by McGraw Hill titled Leadership Sustainability

How did you decide to become a professional speaker? 

I became a speaker after I started writing books. Writing books creates the opportunity to connect with people around the ideas in the books. Someone can read a book but the opportunity to interact with the author allows a deeper integration of the ideas.

How are your keynotes unique?

I engage the audience around the topics that are relevant to them.  My intent is to interact with the group.

Can you briefly describe the leadership code?

The leadership code is an example of making the complex more simple. The leadership code is a synthesis of leadership studies already done by others about what it takes to be a successful leader. Our research found that 60-70% of what leaders need to know, be and do can be boiled down into 5 domains: Strategist, Executor, Talent Manager, Human Capital Developer and Personal Proficiency. Many companies spend a lot of money rediscovering these when they invest in developing a leadership competency model.

What are important characteristics which leaders should possess?

Leaders must be proficient in the Code- these are the fundamentals of good leadership.  They also need to develop unique leadership differentiators. The differentiators are how leaders connect employees on the inside to customers on the outside to ensure that customers receive the desired customer experience.

What types of audiences benefit from your keynotes?

Those who are interested in becoming better individual leaders and who have responsibility to develop the next generation of leaders in their company. I look forward to hearing from you.

See keynotes with Norm Smallwood
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Keynote topics with Norm Smallwood