One of my teachers, the late W. Edwards Deming, shared some of his profound knowledge with me when he said, “Organizations don’t change, people do.” In other words, if people don’t change the way they think and behave, nothing will change.
I have seen so many organizations attempt to change business models, organizational structures, strategies, culture, and many other aspects of their business, only to fail because they did not engage the spirit and minds of the people necessary to make the changes happen.
I’ll bet you have seen similar examples.
In the last 25 years, I have partnered with leaders in 39 organizations to revitalize cultures and set up the conditions for successful change. I do not have a “one-size-fits-all” program, but I do use a structure, my Transformation Framework, to guide the process as we design change together.
The crucial starting point for any organizational change is at the top of the organization, with senior leadership. It is essential that senior leaders have a commitment to self-examination and are willing to be vulnerable, transparent, and courageous in becoming self-aware and sharing their awareness and developmental process with the entire organization. What senior leaders think, say, and do has an exponential impact on the organization.
My transformation process utilizes feedback instruments designed to help people appreciate their strengths and limitations. The feedback helps people understand the underlying beliefs and assumptions that lead to limiting behavior, which enables them to work on their limitations at the point of origin, where real improvement is possible.
Coaching is a critical part of the transformation process, and we do this in both one-on-one and group settings. Typically, clients form small teams that meet monthly to support each other in a developmental process, and the feedback instruments offer a way of measuring progress over time.
As people get into their development, various needs for capability-building training arises, and these are brought in as-needed, at the appropriate time.
Typical training includes…
Research suggests that 86% of employees do not know the strategic direction of their organization. So, frequently my process involves organization-wide engagement in crafting foundational principles (mission, vision, values) and strategy.
The impact of involvement by employees and stakeholders in a robust and rigorous planning process is compelling. Every individual knows where to focus because the principles and strategies are in their bones!
While the developmental work mentioned above is taking place, we are simultaneously developing the capabilities to continue the cultivation of an inspiring culture within your organization. Your people will learn how to make sure your culture remains vibrant without my help. My goal is to develop your independence, not dependence on me.
Andrew recently presented a key note presentation at the Michigan Association of School Administrators Fall Conference. I knew after the first ten minutes of his remarks that we had found someone special. Andrew presented himself as a truly caring individual, one who "gets" quality leadership and yes, the magic was very well done and appropriately entertaining! He received a standing ovation from our group which is a rarity, and it was crystal clear that he provided a message that was relevant and well-received.
After the session, he spent the time necessary to talk with several of our superintendents in a one-on-one setting and demonstrated that his actions follow his words. I was also impressed that Andrew took the time before the conference to contact several of the superintendents throughout Michigan to talk to them about the current educational climate in their district and throughout the state.
The conference evaluation comments reflected a “written standing ovation" and I continue to be so appreciative of Andrew's efforts. It is my understanding that because of his outstanding presentation, he has been asked by several of our superintendents to make a similar presentation for their districts/regions. This is a true testament to the impact that Andrew made on the group. I recommend Andrew without reservation and feel very fortunate that we could have someone of his quality and talent provide us with the keynote speech at our fall conference.
Your presentation on transformational leadership at Paychex’s 2014 Leadership Conference provided our management team with valuable insight on how they create a culture that embraces changes and, in turn, how they can enable their teams to think about the positive possibilities that come with change.
The way that you integrated your thirty years of business experience with your talent as a magician created an engaging forum for learning for our company’s top leaders. Your presentation clearly supported our culture and demonstrated a perspective that I believe was meaningful and relevant to our business.
I believe that engaging you in our ongoing leadership development efforts was a valuable investment in our leaders and our company. Thank you for sharing your great story and expertise.
Andrew is engaging, entertaining, thoughtful and skilled in his role as a transformational presence. He provided the keynote for Heartland Area Education Agency's annual staff meeting, and we’ve heard nothing but great comments from our staff about his ability to keep their attention (more than 500 of them!) for an hour. They were taught, they were encouraged, and they were entertained during his time onstage.
That said, it’s important to note that his service to us started well before the keynote event. He took time to plan with me and to speak with some of our staff to learn about us which really enhanced his ability to connect with our people in a meaningful way. His framework aligned beautifully with how we think about our work, and he gave us new ways to feel empowered to make a difference. Plus, he was a delight to work with! I'd hire him again with no reservations.
I found Andrew to be an extremely motivating and uplifting spirit. He provided a sense of possibilities about our future and presented his information in a way that uplifted our entire organization. His experience and insights helped us clarify both our strategies and our tactics in our organizational search for culture and vision. I found Andrew to be able to relate to people at all levels of the organization and to speak to people in a way that they could understand and appreciate.
Andrew’s efforts with our organization had a profound and lasting impact.
Additionally, as a consultant, Andrew was able to come across as someone more interested in the best interests of our organization rather than in creating a relationship in which we would be dependent upon him and his consulting for our future success. His ability to make us better and more self-sufficient is something I find to be a rare combination in consulting.
Andrew was the plenary speaker for the NatureServe 2014 Biodiversity Without Boundaries Conservation Conference in New Orleans, U.S. His task was to educate and inspire the attendees about the power of the NatureServe Network, which he accomplished admirably through his presentation "Transformational Leadership: Leading Innovation Through Collaboration".
Andrew took great care to learn about NatureServe, interviewing me and several other network members, in addition to reviewing information he requested about our business and our successes. The result was a presentation carefully and accurately tailored to our audience and our needs.
The success of Andrew's diligence are illustrated by responses to our post-conference survey. Nearly 90 percent of attendees rated the plenary excellent or good, high praise from scientists expecting to hear from one of their own. Comments included "great speaker", "interesting and inspirational", and "opened up our minds to a new way of thinking, shaking off the cobwebs".
Andrew excels by mixing conventional business experience and a deep and proven knowledge of leadership, creatively intertwined with magic in a way that prepares the audience to open their minds to his message. That said, the real secret to Andrew is his authenticity, an authenticity I have rarely experienced. I would welcome the opportunity to work with Andrew again.
Andrew Bennett is a world class human being and talent. He has combined the masterful gifts of slight of hand, cutting-edge magic, and humor to create engaging, relevant and entertaining shows that profoundly impact those of us leading in the face of unprecedented complexity and change. My life has been powerfully impacted by one simple but compelling story Andrew shared about an animal on his grandpa's farm and an elm tree. I will never complain about hardship again thanks to Andrew's amazing performance and his profound wisdom.
If your organization is facing overwhelming forces of change, uncertainty and increasing complexity, I strongly encourage you to hire Andrew to lift your spirits with some great laughter, pique your curiosity with his entertaining magic and most importantly walk away with several pearls of wisdom that will guide you and your team through any challenges you encounter.
As the closing session keynote speaker, Andrew Bennett discussed “Inspiration as a Strategy.” I can state unequivocally that he was one of the best speakers we have had. A standing ovation from almost 600 of our Conference attendees from across Michigan is testimony to the fact that he delivered an outstanding presentation. Not only did our attendees leave uplifted and inspired, but with tools to help them stretch beyond their current expectations and make a real impact.
Above all, Andrew was a pleasure work with. His willingness to immerse himself in our culture to better understand his audience resulted in an individualized keynote address based on his unique perspective. We look forward to working with him again in the future.
Andrew was an outstanding and engaging keynote speaker at our first ever professional development event my organization hosted. We could not have kicked off that initiative any better! Because of that success, we have now hosted three events and secured permanent funding going forward.
He was genuine and able to connect with all levels of attendees and help them find their magic. I'm so thankful to know him and I use some of his content in my job thinking now, almost 4 years later!
Amazing, heartfelt, and incredibly powerful. Andrew's unique combination of talents is so impactful that you must truly experience him to appreciate what he brings to those he serves. His message comes from his heart and soul as he uses magic to communicate the power of possibility for others. He is both powerful and vulnerable, sharing his own story openly while inspiring others to open to theirs.
As one of the top magicians in the world, Andrew could have easily stopped at pure entertainment. But he chose a different path - one that focuses in on what matters most today and how to combine the message of hope and vision in a much more powerful way. This is clearly not the easiest path, but it is the right one for Andrew and for all who have had the privilege to know him and to experience him in person.
I highly recommend Andrew to any organization that wants to create a more powerful message about their future. Without a doubt, he will create what you want and need - and well beyond.
Andrew works with both small and large groups with the company – anywhere from roughly twenty to six hundred employees – and every time he develops a quick rapport with his audiences. He livens up the room and he has a knack for putting people at ease. By encouraging an atmosphere of openness, Andrew has helped to build trust among our employees, a mainstay of our company culture.
His innate business savvy and charismatic personal style perfectly complement his passionate commitment to professional excellence and make him a pleasure to be around. Each of the managers who has worked with him greatly appreciates his unique and very effective contributions.
Andrew is an innovative persona with a special talent for delivering information in a way that managers and others from a broad range of backgrounds can understand and use. He possesses a natural gift for relating to people, and, as a result, our employees feel a greater personal connection to the company and know they work around people who care about the company and one another.
Your performance and presentation provided the perfect ending to an intense and information packed meeting. You’ll be happy to know that you received very positive feedback from our associates. We feel confident that the message we discussed prior to the meeting, excellence, teamwork, leadership and communication, was enhanced and supported by your performance. It’s always a pleasure to work with a pro!
Being a counselor in my former life I have seen and presented many inspirational and motivational programs and have never been in the presence of "greatness" before. You have a most remarkable presentation and I think your audience, including me, was blown away.
Andrew Bennett could excel simply as a leadership consultant or solely as a magician. His unique life journey has led him to bring magic and leadership together in way that surprises and delights as well as informs and inspires. Whether it is conjuring up bowling balls out of thin air or helping us see how the difficulties in our lives have helped build our leadership fiber, Andrew exhibits a quality of authentic presence, care and challenge that helps us live more useful and rewarding lives.
Andrew Bennett helped us stimulate and build strategic conversations as a keynote speaker during our 50th annual, international conference this past July. His insights were punctuated by surprises to the delight of our audience, and he talked about the importance of creating stories that help each of us build our own futures. He’s engaging and receptive to work with, and he went to great lengths to understand our constituency’s issues and needs as he prepared for his talk to us. People noticed and appreciated this during his presentation, which helped him hit a home run on so many fronts.
Simply the finest business presentation I have ever witnessed.
If you are a leader in business and you haven't yet checked out Andrew Bennett, you don't know what you're missing. As a magician, Andrew is best in class. What sets him apart, however, is his expertise in opening his audience to the realm of possibility by weaving a built-to-suit message into the fabric of his craft. One of Andrew's sweet spots is the design of wonderment to target his audience where they stand, and bring them along a path of discovery and connection using magic and message as the vehicle. His work with both our internal group of leaders as well as our clients has been an absolute success. I can't wait to hire him again.
Andrew Bennett is a brilliant magician with a deep and genuine understanding of the leader's journey. Through his powerfully evocative art, mixed with a wonderfully dry sense of humor and keen insight into himself and others, Andrew puts a new lens on the challenges we all face. Looking through this lens, suddenly there is renewed freedom and space to move through tough times with greater elegance and ease. If you are considering the need for a breakthrough presentation to leadership groups on your business calendar, I can fully endorse Andrew's work. You will NOT be disappointed!
Andrew Bennett provided our members with a new slant on innovation. One can deconstruct the process of innovation constantly, but until one experiences Andrew’s three tenants of transformation (Appear, Disappear, and Restore) in a visceral way, one does not have a full understanding.
My members asked for another 30 minutes with Andrew and this required some on-the-spot shifting of gears, but the effort made the learning of the AMI members even more satisfying, the ultimate goal of a real learning community.
Get in touch and let Andrew know how he can be of help!