John A. Brady, Ph.D.
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 twenty-five years and watched him get to the heart of a leader's or organization's core issues. He has a keen sense of people that enables him to cut through the bureaucratic 'noise' and complexity to provide clarity and resolution to tough problems. If ever there was a 'silver bullet' for leadership and organizational issues, it is Brady. I've told him that his mind should be certified as a 'secret weapon.'
As my leadership coach John literally cut years off of my learning curve in an hour. He is the ultimate éminence grise (gray eminence) for senior leaders who want the best coaching and real change in their organizations.
When I was tapped as the president of a new entrepreneurial subsidiary spun off from a large hierarchal, bureaucratic company, Brady helped me align my management team. My employees were some of the best and the brightest, but progress in our new venture was hampered by the intramural competition my employees learned from the old company. I asked John to help me deal with the problem, and he suggested an all-hands meeting where he could address the group.
Our new offices took up an entire floor of a new high-rise overlooking the city. John invited my team to line up along the exterior windows, and he said:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, Please look out of the windows in any direction. Your success is out there!
Your competition is also out there! They want you to fail! They want you stay mired in corporate politics and doing things the old way. They are counting on it!
Your competition knows you are unstoppable if you 'get it' and work as a team. They would pay me a lot of money not to tell you that, because for every minute you compete with each other, they get further ahead.
The choice is yours; focus on your competition and succeed; focus on internal politics, and fail. Either way, you win or you lose together."
Brady's admonition that we would all win or lose together turned the staff around. His speech was the shortest, most effective motivational speech I have ever heard, and woke us up to the fact that there were no lifeboats back to the mother ship. I have yet to meet anyone that can match John Brady's coaching and consulting effectiveness, and I have served at the highest levels in the Federal government, industry, and as a partner in a global consulting firm.
MY ADVICE: Get Brady if you can. He's not cheap, but worth ten times what you pay him. If you are a Star Wars fan, think "Yoda," and you'll know what you are getting. He only takes on a few select clients these days, and I am fortunate to have him on 'speed-dial.'
Arthur A. Bushkin, Chairman, Stargazer Foundation, Inc. Mr. Bushkin is a true renaissance man who was involved at the creation of what became the Internet in the 1960s. 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 by saying:
"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 can do it together."
Transforming Bell Atlantic from the 100-year old bureaucratic, monopolistic 'Ma Bell' into a market-driven entrepreneurial competitor meant creating a whole new mindset and culture. 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 the Bell Atlantic Way, but I soon learned that investing my time supporting it accelerated the culture change. I literally worked on it every day, in every meeting, and in every conversation I had with employees.
Brady worked closely with us to develop a forum based format called The Bell Atlantic Way that involved 80,000 employees at every level of our company. The forums were designed to create an open dialogue, and create alignment around a new set of core values and principles that would change our culture.
A major aspect of the program was Brady's coaching of the senior team. He had regular face-to-face sessions with each of my key executives to hone their leadership skills so that their interactions with employees set a good example. Not everyone was thrilled with the arrangement due to an 'I've seen everything attitude,' but John prevailed and earned their respect and support. Bell Atlantic President Anton 'Campy' Campanella and I spent many hours holding 'town hall' style meetings with every Bell Atlantic Way forum, holding frank Q&A sessions with employees who asked tough questions. People found that we were we were walking the talk, and serious about the culture change. Internal surveys and outside monitored focus groups found that employees rated senior executive participation as the single most important factor in their decision to fully support the program.
Brady was totally invested in our success and was personally involved in every aspect of the Bell Atlantic Way forums. He was someone you could count on, and he was legendary for facilitating a tough crowd of 100 New Jersey Bell managers who felt they could heckle him and send him packing. He went toe-to-toe with them without making them wrong and changed the whole trajectory of the meeting into a win-win for everyone.
In another critical situation, we experienced stiff resistance from our unions and bargained-for employees to the Bell Atlantic Way forums. I asked John to personally conduct a pilot program for the union leadership so they could evaluate it for themselves and enlist their support for our corporate transformation. It was a tough job so John chose one of his most seasoned veteran Vice Presidents, Michael Mooney, to assist in the 'high-risk' pilot forum. If the corporate grapevine was correct the first day of the session was a 'war zone,' but John and Mike must have worked miracles because after the session the union leadership offered me their full support. They committed to an even higher level of cooperation and collaboration with management. I often wished I could have been a fly on the wall for that meeting!
On a personal level, John's steady hand, coaching, and support were invaluable in helping me walk-the-talk in all my communications about 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. I trusted Brady because he was fearless, and he proved it on one significant occasion. I was scheduled to give the keynote speech at a national business conference in Washington, D.C. John was on site early, and I was running late so my staff, fearing I wouldn't make it on time, prepped him to as my stand-in. I did make it, but I know Brady would have done a great job representing Bell Atlantic and me if he would have given the speech.
I can't say enough about Dr. Brady, personally and professionally. His ability to coach, consult, and facilitate any group anywhere in any situation set him apart. 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.
Raymond W. Smith, Chairman and CEO, Bell Atlantic, Verizon, and currently Chairman of Rothschild Inc. and N.M. Rothschild & Sons Canada Limited.
Dr. John Brady came to NYNEX when we were at a critical crossroad. He came highly recommended by Fortune 500 CEO of an 80,000 employee multinational corporation after John helped him pilot his company through a challenging leadership and corporate culture transformation. This CEO's endorsement was short and sweet, "He's one of a kind! He's the master at bringing people together."
John wasn't your typical consultant; He didn’t have preconceived notions or faulty assumptions about our situation. Despite his credentials and experience, he didn't pontificate about how we should run our business, or propose generic solutions. Instead, he approached us with an intense curiosity about what made NYNEX ‘tick,’ reminiscent of the T.V. detective Colombo. Our people responded to Brady's calm assurance and openly shared their ideas about improving our company.
It was clear that Dr. Brady was a seasoned pro who had paid his dues in the corporate trenches and knew the realities of corporate politics. From the get-go, he told us there were no shortcuts or 'quick fixes' and that the transformation of NYNEX was a long-term process that would take every ounce of our energy, patience, and perseverance. John was candid and upfront about the sacrifice and hard work needed by our senior executive team to turn our company around. To make his point crystal clear, he admonished us that it that would be tougher than 'turning a whale in a bathtub.'
Brady was a good match for our hard-nosed, rough-and-tumble, northeast business culture. It sounds simple, but we had two major sub-cultures including the New York City style versus the Boston style (think New York Yankees versus the Boston Red Sox). He was legendary in NYNEX management circles for his ability to coach the diverse members of my senior team, some of which were reluctant participants. He had a gift for dealing with acrimonious and skeptical executives, and the end result was a fully engaged, committed and aligned senior team ready to start turning the NYNEX whale.
After helping me align the senior team, Brady designed a company-wide program called "NYNEX Winning Ways," 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 board. Our employees had a new spirit of trust and mutual respect that measurably improved our results, and reduced interdepartmental turf battles. I received countless phone calls and notes from the rank and file telling me how much they appreciated what we were doing.
On a personal level, I consider the Winning Ways process the most rewarding and challenging achievement of my business career. The New York Public Service Commission lauded our quick turnaround and our renewed commitment to high ethical standards, quality, and customer service. I was proud of our employees and the Winning Ways' success story, so we made the centerpiece of our Annual Report as follows:
"For employees, NYNEX is becoming a new kind of company with completely new 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 foundation of core values: Quality, Ethics and Caring for the Individual."
We could not have turned the company around without John's steady hand and perseverance. He never quit and we successfully 'turned the NYNEX whale in a bathtub' together — just as he promised!
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."
I consider the coaching that I received from Dr. John Brady to be the key to my success. Like a great guide on a white-water rafting trip, he showed me how to navigate the currents of organizational change.
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 was a great help to prepare me for the merger process. Since both NYNEX and Bell Atlantic had implemented similar corporate transformation processes (NYNEX Winning Ways and the Bell Atlantic Way), everyone spoke the same language and shared common principles that we had been taught by John. Of course, there were differences, but they were easily handled using the techniques we had learned.
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 John 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 in defining successful corporate culture transformation. Regarding the Bell Atlantic Way, the Bell Atlantic Board of Directors said "...it was nothing short of a miracle!"
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, thanks to you and your coaching I am a better leader. Like most of the consultants here at A.T. Kearney, I am analytical by nature and you've helped me see that adding building good relationships is the key to good client partnerships. All of us here will be even 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, most of our partners are graduates of the best business schools and many of our senior management team was skeptical about your experiential learning approach. However, you earned our respect when you guided our Worldwide Leadership Conference through two days of team alignment activities that gave us deeper insights into how we could achieve our ideal of exceeding our client's expectation.
As professional consultants ourselves, A.T. Kearney knows a pro when we see one. Your personal 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, etc., 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 world-wide markets. With that growth in both types of companies and the business cultures around the world, I needed to create a worldwide 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 to design a management leadership program that would bridge the many diversified management cultures of our global subsidiaries.
Brady was up to the challenge and helped us improve management alignment, communications, and accountability. While John's initial assignment was to help us improve our management leadership, he frequently surprised us with with his invaluable insights and recommendations into our business practices including marketing, management restructuring, and raising our visibility and status as good corporate citizens in the thirty countries where we operated.
Had it not been for A.T. Kearney we wouldn't have found Dr. Brady. His expertise was invaluable in helping us reorganize, restructure and align our management teams around the world. John's pioneering work 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 an "interesting" one. You would be right to say that I was a "rookie."
Subsequent to my appointment as CEO, a deep recession caused cement construction projects 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 plant a couple of miles away. 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 spent a couple of hours showing us the process from A-to-Z. I learned more about making cement in three hours than I had since I started working at Holnam. Later, Brady commended me on my willingness to 'see' the business 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 involved and committed our executives were to making the company successful during a really tough time.
John was my executive coach and I personally discovered more about my leadership style and how to improve it than in any management course I'd 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 became the Number One cement company in the U.S.
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 and handing 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. There were disgruntled partners and angry hidden agendas that created a real dicey situation. The meeting turned into of a gunfight after the introductory pleasantries. 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. "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, so to speak. 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 of helping during some very stressful and tumultuous times as we built a cohesive corporate team acting as one company with "one vision-one voice."
John A. Brady & Associates' 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 the uniqueness of our 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 known by everyone at GPU, and almost as recognizable as I was. His 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 were always willing to go the extra mile for us. They worked with our GPU Nuclear subsidiary at Three Mile Island and Oyster Creek nuclear generating stations, and worked 'inside the wire' (the secure reactor complex). At another one of our subsidiaries John broke a stalemate at a union/management meeting at our lineman's school by donning lineman's gear and climbing a pole. Apparently it cleared the air and the meeting was a success. Both Tim and John were always up for any challenge we could throw at them and their personal 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 in two days than we had the previous 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.
Camisha Abels, Chief Counsel, 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.
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