Conference Speaker & Keynote talks

John Austin’s bio                                              John Austin videos

Stimulating, provocative, energizing, engaging – best session

-participant, HR People & Strategy Global Conference

John Austin, Conference Speaker

Industry futures.  Change leadership.  Strategic thinking.  Dr. Austin adds a twist to these topics by keeping the conversation about the audience and pushing them to connect the content to their experience. As a conference speaker, Dr. Austin challenges participants to actively think along with him about future industry uncertainties, change leadership, and hidden decision biases.

I liked the fact that he worked with the audience instead of spoke to us.

-participant, GSA Expo

The imperative to translate insights into actions is a theme underlying John’s sessions. He puts his ideas into practice when invited to speak at a conference.  In addition to keynote talks, Dr. Austin is available to facilitate workshop sessions, multi-day training, and conduct industry-specific interviews to customize the content to the audience.  John will also record promotional videos, write companion articles for trade magazines, and assist in other ways to promote the conference.

Outstanding.  Good, tough questions to think about…excellent choice for speaker!

-participant, MRA CEO Summit

Sample Keynote Topics

John Austin, Conference Speaker

Futurists, Overconfidence and Uncertainty

It is interesting to listen to experts tell us what they think will happen in the future.  However, expert insight is far more useful when taken as input into our own mapping of possible industry futures.  After examining the risks of overconfidence, confirmation bias, and conventional wisdom. Dr. Austin introduces a technique to prioritize and connect industry uncertainties.  Participants work together to map key industry uncertainties.  This topic is well suited for an opening session (to inform conversations at the conference) or as a closing session (to bring together provocative points made throughout the conference)

Great content to open minds & thinking. GREAT stage presence!

-participant, SHRM Annual Conference

Strategic Thinking: Breaking Out of Industry and Organizational Conventional Mindsets

Strategic thinking is a core skill of adaptive leaders who enable your business to thrive amidst constant uncertainty. Dr. Austin identifies the key barriers to strategic thinking and how successful leaders overcome these challenges. Building from the work outlined in his book Unquestioned Brilliance, participants in this session will consider the key practical actions that they can consider to keep specific strategic initiatives moving and to also help make their organizations, and their own careers, more resilient in the face of strategic shifts. The session will include application of several techniques designed to embed strategic thinking into day-to-day work.

Innovation is Action: Creating an Adaptable Culture

Innovation requires insight, translation of insight to action, and successful replication of the action.  Dr. Austin tells the stories of inspirational people and organizations that have managed to navigate the innovation process from insight to sustained action. Participants are introduced to practical techniques to jump-start this process and apply it to their work.  Participants are challenged to look for sources of insight, push beyond inertia, and act.

Read Dr. Austin’s Journal of Organization Design article about the key translations needed to enable sustainable innovation and change.

Excellent start to conference. All week people were asking “what is the action?”

Inspiring Action: Leading Change and Changing the World

It is often easiest not to act when confronted with a daunting challenge.  Yet, action inspires.  Dr. Austin challenges participants to navigate a change process in a way that builds momentum, reduces change resistance and minimizes unanticipated barriers. Build from an interactive case of a significant change initiative (the signing of Jackie Robinson by the Brooklyn Dodgers), participants work through five keys to leading successful changes.  This session is inspiring, yet practical.  Participants leave the session with a shortlist of questions and actions to drive a change forward.

Read Dr. Austin’s article in the OD Practitioner: Initiating Controversial Strategic Change in Organizations (pdf)

Leading High Performing Teams

We rely on teams more than ever to meet increasingly challenging goals.  The gap for many team leaders is not the one between ignorance and knowing, it is the gap between knowing and doing – we see the dysfunction but do not have time or energy to fix it.  We will experiment with several practical techniques for creating and sustaining high-performing teams and removing barriers to collaboration and explore the four areas of common team leadership dysfunction: creating, motivating, coordinating, and deciding.


Contact Dr. Austin for information.  Non-profit rates are available.

Associations Dr. Austin has worked with

*See list of clients in the top menu for companies John has worked with

American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)

American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA)

ASIS International

Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP)

Association of Investment Management Sales Executives (AIMSE)

Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO)

Detroit SHRM

Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)

GSA Training & Expo

HR People & Strategy, (HRPS)

Institute for Defense & Government Advancement (IDGA)

International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association (ICCFA)

Marketing Research Association (MRA)

National Association of State Chief Administrators (NASCA)

New England HR Association (NEHRA)

Northern California HR Association (NCHRA)

Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA)

Society for Human Research Management (SHRM)

Society of Actuaries

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