It All Started with a Buffalo…


On the first day of first grade, our teacher asked us to color a picture of a buffalo in brown crayon. Feeling creative, I decided to use both black and brown crayons, earning a reprimand. Ever since, I’ve been fascinated with the tension between organizational freedom and accountability.


After college, I was privileged to serve as the first financial controller for Morning Star, now the world’s largest tomato processing company. The founder introduced our startup team to the core principles of self-management, which we adopted immediately. At Morning Star, I learned that organizational self-management is real, it works and it drives superior business performance.


In 2008, I co-founded the Morning Star Self-Management Institute, with the mission of instantiating organizational self-management principles with effective education, tools and practices.


As a partner NuFocus Strategic Group, I now speak and consult on self-management around the world. NuFocus is a full-spectrum international consulting firm born in Canada delivering client solutions for business strategy, marketing, operations, finance, international trade, infotech, entrepreneurship, HR, leadership, learning systems and organizational innovation (my personal calling). I also share the message of organizational innovation through my book (Beyond Empowerment: The Age of the Self-Managed Organization), TEDx talk and numerous articles and posts. Gartner Research Director Mark McGregor generously wrote that “Doug is a leading expert in the field of organizational design.”  In the years since first grade, I’ve learned to appreciate the full gamut of strategy and leadership polarities that determine organizational success.


I studied leadership coaching under William Bergquist, Ph.D., (author of Executive Coaching: An Appreciative Approach, Pacific Soundings Press, 1999), and deliver executive education in topics ranging from advanced Business Process Management (BPM) to Self-Management. I also hold the  Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR®) designation from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). In my spare time, I like to write (Huffington Post, T+D magazine, Trusts & Estates Journal, Challenging Organizations and Society). I’m a former public official, a current director of the world’s largest talent association, the Association for Talent Development (ATD, formerly ASTD, with over 40,000 members in 120 countries), dual citizen (United States and Canada), and enthusiastic traveler to all hemispheres. I’ve keynoted and spoken to learners and audiences across the United States and many countries around the world, including China, Brazil, Norway, Denmark, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Turkey, Germany, Canada and Mexico.


I happily connect with anyone who wants to learn how to make organizations thrive with engaged, innovative and self-directed leaders. My power question for leaders: what kind of leader are you when no one is required to listen to you? More importantly, what kind of human being are you when no one is required to listen to you?


Specialties: Organizational Design, Talent Development, Culture, Leadership, Public Speaking, Education, Consulting, Coaching, Management


Redshift:  1.  The systematic increase in the wavelength of all light received from a celestial object.  2.  A metaphor for increasing the quantum of freedom available for individuals in an organization to pursue excellence.