When I graduated from Michigan State University in 1983 the prevailing model of success was to join a company for life and climb the ladder.
I spent ten years doing that, at former U.S. presidential candidate H. Ross Perot’s company EDS, where I worked in recruiting, data center management, marketing, growing an account from $5 million to $65 million in Australia, and teaching management internally.
But as time passed I became disillusioned, thinking, “Is this all there is?” I also encountered too many people, in EDS and other companies, who were unfulfilled, underutilized, and unhappy at work and this felt like a tremendous waste.
Decades of personal losses made me realize life is short and I wanted to make sure mine had meaning. I wanted this not just for myself, but for everyone. So, I set out on a quest to change the world of work by building inspiring organizations where people could thrive.
My first step in that quest was to join a training firm in Seattle to build their consulting practice, which I did for five years until I founded Bennett Performance Group in 1997.
Over the past 25 years I’ve worked with over 120 organizations of all shapes and sizes, in every industry around the world, and I’ve partnered with leaders in 39 organizations on long-term culture revitalization projects to build organizations where people can thrive in spirit and mind.
I share insights from working on these projects in my inspirational speeches and workshops. My clients love this approach because they get practices, principles, and tools that have been tested in the real world, and my one-on-one and team coaching also benefits from my years of practical experience.
My clients place equal value on business performance and people development. They know that high-performing organizations are the result of high-performing people.
Tons of research points to the fact that organizations that develop people – not just skills, but the whole person, mind, body, and spirit – outperform those that don’t.
I’ve also been a magician for 50 years, starting my first business, “Andy Bennett and Company: Unusual Entertainment for All Occasions” when I was 12 years old. I’m a member of the Magic Circle of London, the oldest and most prestigious society of magicians in the world, as well as the International Brotherhood of Magicians and The Chicago Magic Round Table.
I’m also the founder of Magic On Purpose, a group of magicians from around the world who are using magic to make the world a better place.
When Ross Perot learned that I was a magician he made me promise that I would incorporate magic in my business presentations and I’ve been working at that for the last 33 years.
Magic plays an important role in my inspirational speeches. I use it as a framework for thinking about change and innovation and use magic tricks to illustrate my points and keep people engaged.
I met my wife, Jennifer, when we were participants in an Authentic Leadership workshop in 2011. Deep conversations during that program enabled me to understand that she is a woman of substance who shares my professional passion. I am blessed to be married to a woman who is not only my life partner, but a respected colleague.