I believe that client success is the only measure of a coach's success.
Below are just a few of the outstanding leaders coached by Dr. John Brady
ENTREPRENEURS/VISIONARIES — ARTHUR BUSHKIN - STARGAZER FOUNDATION
I've worked with John Brady for over two decades. He has a remarkable sense of individual and organizational dynamics that provides clarity and resolution to challenging problems. If ever there was a 'Yoda' for leadership and organizational issues, it's Brady. I've often told him that his mind should be registered as a 'secret weapon.'
John was my executive coach and he helped me identify my leadership style and improve my business and personal relationships. He is the ultimate éminence grise (gray eminence) advisor for senior leaders who want to improve their leadership game. I have watched him facilitate a worldwide leadership conference for over 500 skeptical partners of global consultancy, and despite the challenges of working with such a large group, Brady and his team engaged them and took their leadership skills to a higher plateau.
Arthur A. Bushkin is a true renaissance man who was involved at the creation of what became the Internet in the 1960s. He is a writer, philanthropist, and social activist. His principal cause is Harnessing the Power of Technology for Social Good, and he actively promotes Open K-12 Educational Services. His latest effort is the Devout Project, which encourages a global conversation about what a World Working Well would look like. Learn more at DevoutPolitics.com and ArtBushkin.com.
In the 1970s, he led President Carter's Privacy Initiative and was the principal U.S. representative at the OECD on information, computer, and communications policy. In the 1990s, he was President of Bell Atlantic Video Services (now Verizon). He studied and taught computer science at MIT. After a very successful executive and business career his interests today are music and philanthropy.
When I was elected Chairman and CEO of Bell Atlantic, I promised a sea change in our strategy, structure, and culture. My mantra to our managers and associates was:
"We can't transform a company of our size with fond hopes and fervent wishes. It requires a carefully crafted plan based on a common vision, and unbending commitment to carry it out. We will do it together."
We were transforming Bell Atlantic from the 100-year old bureaucratic, monopolistic 'Ma Bell' into a market-driven entrepreneurial culture and that meant creating a whole new mindset. We selected Dr. John Brady to lead the process because of his expertise with large-scale corporate transformations.
John advised me at the outset that the change would require the senior team's total commitment. I thought my schedule was busy before he came, but I soon learned that investing my time supporting it accelerated the culture change. I worked on it every day, in every meeting, and in every conversation I had with employees.
Brady worked closely with us to develop a meeting based format called The Bell Atlantic Way Forums. The forums involved our 80,000 employees and were designed to create an open dialogue and alignment around a new set of core values and principles that would change our culture.
The key to our success was Brady's senior team coaching. He had regular face-to-face sessions with each of my direct reports to align our team, hone their leadership skills, improve their interactions with employees, and help them 'walk the talk.' Frankly, not everyone on my senior team was thrilled with the coaching arrangement because of an 'I've seen everything attitude,' but John prevailed and earned their respect and support.
Brady was fully invested in our success. He personally took on the toughest assignments himself, and in one instance he was confronted by a tough crowd of 100+ New Jersey Bell managers who tried to send him packing by heckling him. John became a legend in our corporate lore when he 'diplomatically' (in NJ fashion) went toe-to-toe with them, earned their respect and changed the trajectory of the meeting. He created win-win and that is saying something in New Jersey!
Our unions also put up stiff resistance to the Bell Atlantic Way forums. They felt that the seminars were the company’s way to exploit the non-management people and sidestep the labor contract and work rules. Their cooperation was critical to our success, so I asked John to conduct the same executive program he did for our corporate officers for the union leadership so they could independently evaluate the process. John chose one of his most trusted partners, Michael Mooney, to work with union leaders and the rest is history.
The Union session began with a confidentiality agreement to keep their conversations and deliberations private, so no one outside the meeting knows what happened in those three days. However, the corporate grapevine said the first day of the session was a 'war zone;' but at the end of three days with John and Mike, the union leaders of three unions made a remarkable turnaround. The union leadership made a point to meet with me and offered their full support, and one union president told me that the group unanimously awarded John and Mike 'Honorary' union memberships at the end of the seminar. I often wish I could have been a fly on the wall during that meeting to see what brought about such a change of heart!
I can say from personal experience that John is fearless, and I trusted him with my personal reputation! On one occasion, I was scheduled to give the keynote speech at a national business conference in Washington, D.C. and John was there early to support me. I was running late, so my staff, fearing I wouldn't make it on time, prepped Brady to be my stand-in. Fortunately I made it, but I know that Brady was ready and would have represented me and Bell Atlantic well had he given the speech; in fact, he probably helped write it.
On a personal level, John's coaching and support were invaluable in helping me walk-the-talk in transforming the company. My staff and I always sought his input on speeches, articles, media appearances, etc., to ensure we were communicating a consistent message. Brady wrote many of the published pieces about the Bell Atlantic Way, and if we deviated from our message, he was right there to keep us focused.
Brady's ability to coach and facilitate any group anywhere in any situation set him apart. He was masterful, and I've never seen anyone like him before or since. John fulfilled my vision to create 'one' Bell Atlantic under the umbrella we called "The Bell Atlantic Way," and for that, I will always be grateful.
Regarding the Bell Atlantic Way, the Bell Atlantic Board of Directors said "...it was nothing short of a miracle!"
Raymond W. Smith, Chairman and CEO, Bell Atlantic, Verizon, and currently Chairman of Rothschild Inc. and N.M. Rothschild & Sons Canada Limited.
"HOW NYNEX TURNED A WHALE IN A BATHTUB!"
I invited Dr. John Brady to NYNEX when we were at a critical crossroad. He came highly recommended by Raymond Smith, CEO of Bell Atlantic after John piloted their challenging leadership and corporate culture transformation. Smith's endorsement was short and sweet, "If you need someone who specializes in the impossible, Brady's the One."
John wasn't a typical 'know-it-all' consultant; He came with no preconceived notions or assumptions about our situation. His philosophy was simple: 1) Deliberate with wisdom, 2) Speak with Honesty, 3) Lead with integrity, and 4) Always, always deal on the square with everyone in every situation.
His intense curiosity reminded me of the T.V. detective Colombo, because he wanted to discover, first-hand, what made NYNEX ‘tick.’ I was impressed with his quick grasp of the internal dynamics of our diverse company, and how he tailored his approach to match the our needs. It was clear that Brady was a seasoned pro who had paid his dues in the corporate trenches and knew the realities of company politics.
John was a peaceful warrior and he was tireless, measured, clear-eyed and consistently focused. He's an extraordinary example of good leadership and he was good match for our rough-and-tumble, hard-nosed northeast business culture. NYNEX had two very different, competing sub-cultures; New York versus New England (i.e., New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox). I'm pretty sure he got his grit as a U.S. Marine, because he was legendary in NYNEX management circles for never giving up on anyone or any situation. His mental toughness enabled him to win over the most acrimonious and skeptical members of my senior team.
John told us from the get-go that there were no shortcuts or 'quick fixes' and that NYNEX's transformation was a long-term process and would profoundly change our lives and the lives of all our employees. To illustrate his point, he told us the transformation would be tougher than 'turning a whale in a bathtub.' My team and I thought we understood the immensity of the task, but in hindsight, I think he understated the challenge!
Brady's team-building efforts created a fully engaged and aligned management team ready to lead our turnaround. He designed a company-wide program called "NYNEX Winning Ways." It focused on our four core values; Quality, Ethics and Caring for the Individual. The results were amazing; there was a quantum leap in communication, cooperation, and collaboration across the company. There was a new spirit of trust and mutual respect among our employees that measurably improved our results, and reduced interdepartmental turf battles.
I received countless messages and feedback from the rank and file telling me how Winning Ways had improved the quality of their lives on and off the job. On a personal level, I consider Winning Ways the most rewarding and challenging achievement of my business career. John Brady worked miracles at NYNEX, and the results were dramatic and lasting. Mr. Peter H. Bradford, the chairman of the New York State Public Service Commission, publicly lauded our renewed commitment to high ethical standards, quality, and customer service. I was proud of our employees success story, so we made Winning Ways the centerpiece of our Annual Report which read as follows:
"For employees, NYNEX is becoming a new kind of company with completely new and better ways of getting the job done. Our corporate culture, embodied in a set of principles we call NYNEX Winning Ways, gives all of our people a stake in building and acting on our core values of Quality, Ethics and Caring for the Individual."
John's coaching, expertise, and 'never quit' attitude were the powerful force that motivated us turn NYNEX around. Chairman Ray Smith of Bell Atlantic was right when he said, "If you need someone who specializes in the impossible, Brady's the One."
One can always tell if a program like NYNEX Winning Ways has staying power if it survives a senior leadership transition. I had worked for the telephone company for over thirty years and saw many corporate programs that were 'one-hit wonders' — NYNEX Winning Ways was not one of them!
When I took over as CEO after Bill Ferguson, I made sure that Winning Ways was a top priority. I was determined that we build on it during my tenure as CEO, because the concepts of the process had turned our company around during a very onerous period, and put us on a trajectory for growth and good corporate citizenship. My first message to the our NYNEX family was:
"As we expand the scope of our business, we're keeping a sharp focus on our commitment to NYNEX Winning Ways. These guiding principles, which include integrity, diversity, teamwork and accountability, define us as a team...That's the NYNEX story in a nutshell."
The training and coaching I received in NYNEX Winning Ways was like being on a white-water rafting trip and learning how to navigate the 'rapids' of organizational change.
In 1996, Bell Atlantic Corp. and NYNEX Corp., culminated a merger to create a telecommunication powerhouse with $50 billion in combined market value. In June 2000 when the Federal Communications Commission approved the $64.7 billion Merger with telephone company GTE and Verizon was born.
In 2000 I became co-Chief Executive Officer of Verizon, the result of a merger of NYNEX, Bell Atlantic, and General Telephone. I later became the sole CEO, and then as CEO and chairman.
The coaching I received from John Brady and his associate the late Michael Mooney was a great help to me during the merger process. Since both NYNEX and Bell Atlantic had implemented similar corporate transformation processes (NYNEX Winning Ways and the Bell Atlantic Way), it was fairly seamless because everyone spoke the same language and shared common principles. Of course, there were differences, especially because of the wide geographical area we covered and disparate business cultures of the Northeast, East, Mid-Atlantic, and Europe, but sharing the same set of ideals help ease what could have been a contentious transition.
Subsequently, Verizon became a premier global network company by building a nationwide wireless network, deploying high-speed fiber broadband direct to homes, and expanding Verizon’s global Internet backbone network around the world. When I left as CEO in 2011 the philosophical foundational principles of integrity, diversity, teamwork and accountability laid by Brady were alive, well, and prospering.
The Harvard Business Review, Enterprise Magazine and other respected management publications recognized the Bell Atlantic Way and NYNEX Winning Ways as THE pathfinders of successful corporate culture transformation.
All told, John Brady coached the senior teams of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX, and touched over 170,000 employees spread out over five continents.
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES — A.T. KEARNEY GLOBAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS
John, I am a better leader thanks to your coaching. Like most of the consultants here at A.T. Kearney, I am analytical by nature, and you've helped me see good relationships are the key to good client partnerships. All of us here are better consultants because of your coaching and insights.
I was personally impressed with your deep, personal commitment to our success. Seldom have I experienced the kind of dedication you exhibited to our vision, values, and goals. They say what someone does is more powerful than what they say, and your willingness to immerse yourself in our culture showed us what "exceeding client expectations" looks like.
As you know, our partners are graduates of the best business schools, and many of our senior management team was skeptical about your experiential learning approach. You earned our respect and confidence when you led our Worldwide Leadership Conference through two days of team alignment activities that gave us more profound insights into how we could achieve our ideal of exceeding our client's expectation.
As professional consultants, A.T. Kearney knows a pro when we see one. Your example and grace under fire demonstrated that leadership is earned person-to-person. At A.T. Kearney we also know about value, deliverables, return on investment, and when I told you that you were worth ten times what we paid you, I meant it. I am still amazed at what you accomplished for us, and I look forward to your continued coaching and guidance.
Fred G. Steingraber, Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, A.T. Kearney, Inc.
INTERNATIONAL — DYNO INDUSTRIERE ASA
Dyno Industrier ASA is a Norwegian industrial chemicals group with operations in over 30 countries around the world. Over the years Dyno Industrier ASA has grown into a well-diversified company, with core business areas in the fields of explosives, specialty chemicals, and plastic products - with worldwide markets. With that growth in diverse companies and business cultures around the world, I needed to create a global management leadership development process.
One of our logistics consultants, A.T. Kearney, recommended Dr. John Brady because of his expertise with the management challenges of global companies. I engaged John to design a management leadership program that would bridge the many diversified management cultures of our worldwide subsidiaries.
Brady helped us improve management alignment, communications, and accountability. While his initial assignment was to help us improve our management leadership, he frequently gave us invaluable insights and recommendations into our business practices including marketing, management restructuring, and raising our visibility as good corporate citizens in the thirty countries where we operated.
We are very grateful for A.T. Kearney Consulting's recommendation to retain Dr. Brady. We would not have found him otherwise, as he only takes clients by referral. His expertise was invaluable in helping us significantly improve our management teams around the world. John's expertise provided the foundation for growth and opportunities and made us a better-managed enterprise.
Knut Ø. Holli, President, Dyno A Industrier ASA, Oslo, Norway
INTERNATIONAL — HOLCIM INTERNATIONAL
Holnam is the North American operation of Switzerland's Holcim, a Swiss-based global building materials and aggregates company. It manufactures cement in plants across the U.S.
As a partner in a Big Five accounting firm I was recruited to be the Chief Financial Officer at Holnam headquarters in Dundee, Michigan. Two years later, the Board appointed me President and Chief Executive Officer, and since my background wasn't in manufacturing, my transition was, shall I say, an "interesting" one.
Subsequent to my appointment as CEO, a deep recession caused cement construction projects and sales to slow to a crawl, and my executive team needed some help to retrench. A business colleague recommended John Brady, who had a reputation for helping companies improve performance and unify their management.
I met John at our corporate office and we got to know each other. After listening carefully to my situation, he caught me a little off guard when he asked, “Have you ever worn a hard hat to work?” I answered, “No.” He asked if I had ever seen cement being made. I hadn't. He said, “Come on, we need to visit your cement plant, and we're going to need a couple of hard hats. Don't tell anyone we're coming and don't wear your suit coat.”
We jumped in his rental car with our hard hats, rolled up our sleeves, and drove to the Dundee cement plant a couple of miles away from the corporate offices. On our way John advised me to ask a lot of 'dumb' questions to get a full understanding of the cement making process.
We made a courtesy call on the shocked plant manager, and John requested someone to give us walk-through of the operation. A nervous foreman was assigned to us and he spent a couple of hours showing us the process from A-to-Z. I learned more about making cement in two hours than I had since I started as CEO of Holnam. Later, Brady commended me on my willingness to 'see' the business from the ground floor rather than just manage it.
After Brady and his team did a thorough top to bottom assessment across all of sites across the U.S., I asked him to arrange a three-day senior management retreat in Michigan. It wasn't the boring, lecture based management program I was used to, and John created an interactive, open environment where we could have a real dialogue and improve our performance. I couldn't believe how committed our executives were to making the company successful during a really tough time.
John was my executive coach for over a year, and I personally discovered more about leadership than I could have in any management course I've ever taken. He also planned a national, all management meeting in St. Louis, and we spent two very intense days as a company-wide team. We emerged a different company and we were well positioned to capitalize on the demand for cement as the recession subsided and we became the Number One cement company in the U.S.
Our success started the day John Brady walked in my door. His constancy, resolve, and total commitment gave me the confidence I needed to lead the company out of a dire situation. In addition to his wisdom, experience, and credentials, the thing that set him apart from other consultants was he was just regular guy that you would want to have a beer with. Priceless!
Paul A. Yhouse, President , Chief Executive Officer, Holnam Inc. (Holcim US Inc.). He was a partner with Arthur Andersen & Co. prior to joining Holnam, and during his 20 years at Andersen he served in the Baltimore, Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Toledo offices and at the company's headquarters in Chicago.
*Holderbank Financiere Glaris (Holderbank) is the world's largest producer of cement products and services.
TECHNOLOGY — DATAFLEX CORPORATION - COMPUCOM SYSTEMS, INC.
Dataflex Corporation consisted of a loose confederation of sixteen locations around the U.S., with our headquarters in New Jersey. We were a nationally recognized value added reseller of desktop computer equipment and related products. As we grew, we became one of Fortune's Top 100 Best Small Companies in America, but we found that our partners and management weren't totally aligned with our corporate strategy.
John Brady's work with New Jersey Bell executives had given him a good reputation working with difficult people to get positive results in the notorious New Jersey 'in-your-face' style. I figured he'd fit in well with Dataflex since, in typical New Jersey, humor we affectionately called our rookies 'pond-scum' until they proved themselves.
I invited him to develop a program that would bring our diverse management team into alignment, and he traveled the country interviewing all of our principals and many of our employees. When he presented his findings, he told me it would be an uphill battle, but we could pull together it with the right motivation. I asked him to facilitate our management summit, and he did so under challenging circumstances.
At the leadership meeting there were disgruntled and angry partners with hidden agendas that created a real dicey situation. After the introductory pleasantries the meeting turned into of a gunfight. John kept his cool and when the dust settled he intervened and asked, “How many of you feel threatened by being here today?" Over half raised their hands.
Brady continued, "Okay," he said, "Let's change that. Let's start over and ask ourselves, 'If we started this company from scratch today, what would you do differently? Who would do what? How should resources and management be organized to benefit the different interests of all concerned?'"
Brady got everybody in the boat rowing in the same direction. That single moment changed the entire dynamic of the meeting and the company. Brady's ability to channel the energy and resolve internal political issues was uncanny. Once everyone's cards were on the table and we were starting real constructive dialogue, he deftly nudged me center stage to lead the meeting. He was like a Ninja; he knew how to let us run our own show while he stayed absolutely tuned in to the group's interaction to tactfully guide the discussion when needed and how to keep us focused on getting a positive result.
After the summit we continued to prosper and ultimately merged with CompuCom Systems, Inc., for a healthy profit for all concerned.
Richard C. Rose, Chief Executive Officer, Dataflex Corporation, and author of How to Make a Buck and Still Be a Decent Human Being
UTILITIES — GPU UTILITIES - GPU NUCLEAR - THREE MILE ISLAND
I worked closely with Timothy Smith and John Brady for many years as President of GPU subsidiaries. After I was elected Chairman and CEO of GPU Utilities while we embarked on a total reorganization including a detailed divesting, and acquisition strategy of international assets in Australia and elsewhere.
Smith and Brady were instrumental in coaching me and preparing all of our subsidiary Presidents and officers for energy deregulation mandated in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey region. They did a heroic job during some very stressful and tumultuous times as we built a cohesive corporate team acting as one company with "one vision-one voice."
Brady and his team was particularly effective in navigating the politically sensitive dynamics of our nuclear assets at Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station and Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Plant as they went through difficult transitions. Tim and John worked with all of the management and employees of the two plants to prepare them for the ultimate sale to other nuclear power generating companies.
Smith and Brady's sixth sense about our unique culture, and their flexibility and remarkable rapport made them invaluable resources capable of working with people at all levels of the organization (corporate, subsidiaries, executives, management, hourly workers and union leadership).
Tim Smith was especially known by everyone at GPU, and almost as recognizable as I was. Together with Brady, their coaching with all of my senior executives was the keystone to building a strong united team. He advised us on virtually all aspects of our training programs and integrated them to support the reorganization of our company.
Both Smith and Brady always went the extra mile for us. They worked 'inside the wire' (the secure reactor complex) with our GPU Nuclear subsidiary at Three Mile Island and Oyster Creek nuclear-generating stations. At another one of our subsidiaries John broke a union/management confrontation and impasse. The meeting was held at one of our lineman's training facilities, and during a dicey moment in the meeting, he donned lineman's climbing gear and hiked up a pole. It turned out that he been a telephone lineman early in his career, and his willingness to identify with both the union and management opened up a constructive dialogue that made the meeting a success. Unusual but effective.
Tim Smith and John Brady were always up to any challenge we had, and their integrity and involvement made them part of our GPU family.
Fred D. Hafer, Chairman and CEO, General Public Utilities
GOVERNMENT — U.S. TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT
We are a pretty tough group because we've seen just about everything. We accomplished more as a team in two days than we had the entire year. The techniques that Brady used helped break the ice and the hierarchical barriers to get everyone involved in making meaningful plans for the department. I wish that Brady could do the same thing for Congress as he did for us.
Samuel K. Skinner, White House Chief of Staff and Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation
It has been great working with a professional like John Brady who brings such a great breadth of insights to our Congressmen and women, and their staffs. Many people are intimidated when they work with Congress, but John was unfazed with the trappings of office and taught us all critical skills that helped us support the constituents in our districts.
Richard Gephardt, House Majority Leader, Democratic Leadership Caucus, U.S. House of Representatives
EDUCATION — UCLA ANDERSON SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
John, on behalf of the MBA students and faculty at the Anderson School at UCLA, I would like to thank you for playing such a pivotal part of our extraordinarily successful MBA program.
You are well aware that teamwork and self-awareness are paramount to a person's ultimate success in an organizational setting. Your contributions will keep UCLA on the forefront of developing team-oriented leaders. It is clear that you are an invaluable asset for our students and faculty.
Eric Mokover, Associate Dean, Career Initiatives and Director, MBA Program, The UCLA Anderson School of Business
NON-PROFIT — GLOBAL COLD CHAIN ALLIANCE
We know we have succeeded when our members ask us to bring a speaker back for an encore. This doesn't happen often, but in your case John, you are such a charismatic presenter!
I appreciated it when you came to our association headquarters in Washington, D.C. to plan for our Annual Conference, and review the outline for the several days we would be together. I looked forward to meeting you in Denver the following month to conduct the conference sessions. When I reached Denver and learned that all of your training materials were lost in transit the day before the conference, I could see disaster written all over the meeting!
To be honest, the association members are a tough crowd of seasoned business people who expect to spend their time on something worthwhile that will help them be better leaders and managers. You assured me that that you would design a brand new, customized program for us overnight, and the meeting would come off without a hitch. I shouldn't have worried because you are such a pro, BUT I still had a pretty restless night.
While I was tossing and turning that night, you were up late creating a new program, and gathering materials for our meeting the next day. When the conferees arrived in the morning, no one would have never known what a fire drill you went through the previous night. You were fresh, energetic, totally unflustered and you totally won them over in the first thirty minutes of the conference.
After that, I relaxed, and I was so amazed at how smoothly you handled the participants in the challenging teamwork and communication exercises you created the night before. The conference was a resounding success. I received nothing by rave reviews. Thanks, John.
J. William Hudson, President & CEO, The Global Cold Chain Alliance, Washington, D.C.
Dr. John A. Brady
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