Jay Conger

Professor of Leadership Studies, Claremont McKenna College

Expert on management, leadership & leadership development.

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Very few speakers offer the breadth of experience or the depth of knowledge and insight on management, leadership and leadership development as Jay Conger.

He always does custom design and research for his presentations.

Add to this his gift for engaging audiences and you have a truly unique offering: a broad foundation of knowledge, a strong customer focus, and superlative skills on the platform.

He is a prolific writer, having written or co-written more than 100 articles and 14 books, including The Practice of Leadership and Growing Your Company's Leaders. Jay has a new book out on leadership dynamics in corporate boardrooms. He is working on another book that describes how leaders can maximize their potential.

"#5 of the world’s top ten management educators and the best business school professor to teach leadership to executives."

Jay is very good with senior executives and has a lot of experience with executive education, for which he has won several awards. He was the top-ranked professor at USC’s core MBA program. Harvard Business School invited him to help redesign the school’s organizational behavior course around leadership issues and was ranked in the school's top ten percent of faculty for teaching. Jay has consulted with a worldwide list of private corporations and nonprofit organizations. He is an extremely effective speaker — warm, relaxed, engaging, interactive, always sensitive to the customer’s situation and goals. He is excellent with senior executives and managers.

Jay also offers custom-researched keynotes and working seminars up to several days in length.

Jay Conger is the Henry Kravis Research Professor of Leadership Studies at Claremont McKenna College. He is also Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and visiting Professor of Organizational Behavior at the London Business School.


  • Henry Kravis Research Professor of Leadership Studies, Claremont McKenna College
  • Visiting Professor of Organizational Behavior, London Business School
  • Senior Research Scientist, Center for Effective Organizations, University of Southern California
  • Former executive director, Leadership Institute, University of Southern California
  • Associate editor, Leadership Quarterly
  • Former teaching positions at Harvard Business School, INSEAD (France), and McGill University
  • Two-time recipient, McGill University’s Distinguished Teaching Award
  • Recipient, H. Smith Richardson Fellowship, Center for Creative Leadership


The Practice of Leadership

Developing the Next Generation of Leaders

Jay A Conger and Ronald E. Riggio

This book includes contributions from top scholars who outline the best leadership practices for the benefit of the practicing leader. Each chapter focuses on a specific area of leadership practice and ends with a set of "take away" best practices in each area — an executive summary in reverse – that will serve as a quick reference for those who might want to peruse chapters, but still extract the best practices, as well as a summary for those who thoroughly read each chapter.

Wiley, John & Sons, Inc. (November 28, 2006)

Growing Your Company's Leaders

How Great Organizations Use Succession Management to Sustain Competitive

Jay Conger and Robert M. Fulmer

Within the next few years, "baby boomer" leaders and managers will be retiring in huge numbers. From the executive suite on down, the challenge to put the right person in place for every job is becoming acute. The potential shortfall means organizations must put succession planning at the top of their priority lists. Growing Your Company's Leaders offers the results of a study of five global leaders in succession strategy: Dow Chemical, Dell Computer, Eli Lilly, Pan Canadian Petroleum, and Sonoco. Readers will learn what these and sixteen other high-profile organizations are doing to identify, secure, and prepare the next generation of leaders.

This book examines:

  • the link between succession management and business strategy
  • the architecture of good plans and how technology can make them better
  • the importance of individual employee development
  • why senior management support is crucial
  • how to monitor the effectiveness of the succession management system.

American Management Assoc (Dec 2003)

Shared Leadership

Craig L. Pearce and Jay A. Conger (Editors)

Shared Leadership: Reframing the Hows and Whys of Leadership brings together the foremost thinkers on the subject and is the first book of its kind to address the conceptual, methodological, and practical issues for shared leadership. Its aim is to advance understanding along many dimensions of the shared leadership phenomenon: its dynamics, moderators, appropriate settings, facilitating factors, contingencies, measurement, practice implications, and directions for the future. The volume provides a realistic and practical discussion of the benefits, as well as the risks and problems, associated with shared leadership. It will serve as an indispensable guide for researchers and practicing managers in identifying where and when shared leadership may be appropriate for organizations and teams.

Edited by leading authorities Craig L. Pearce and Jay A. Conger, with contributions from the top experts in the field, Shared Leadership is an ideal text for management, education, and communication courses in leadership, teamwork, organizational behavior, and small groups. In addition, practicing consultants will find this an invaluable reference in their leadership and team development programs.

Sage Publications (Dec 2002)

Corporate Boards

New Strategies for Adding Value at the Top

Jay A. Conger, Edward E. Lawler III & David L. Finegold

What Role Should a Board Play in the Twenty-First-Century Organization? And what practices and behaviors make a board effective as a group? In Corporate Boards, three of the country's leading thinkers on leadership and effective organizational performance reveal how boards can change their practices and align their principles to successfully govern organizations in the twenty-first century. Presenting their reforms in a framework that focuses on the factors that influence effective governance behavior — information, knowledge, power, rewards, and opportunity — the authors show that it is behaviors, not practices, that really count.

Jossey-Bass (April 15, 2001)

Building Leaders

How Successful Companies Develop the Next Generation

Jay A. Conger & Beth Benjamin

Companies everywhere are searching for ways to turn effective managers into dynamic leaders. In this book, Jay Conger, named one of the Top Ten Influential Figures in the World of Business, culls the wide variety of methods being developed by top corporations around the globe. Through insightful analysis and extensive case studies, he and co-author Beth Benjamin provide the proven techniques, and common pitfalls to avoid, for building leadership talent at all levels.Based on research conducted at more than a dozen organizations — including Ernst & Young, PepsiCo, Federal Express, the U.S. Army, and the National Australian Bank — the authors identify three principal approaches to leadership education: individual skill development, instilling organizational values that promote leadership, and strategic interventions. In separate chapters, they examine the strengths and shortcomings of each of these approaches and outline their most important elements, from organizational needs assessments to effective workshops and instruction to 360-degree feedback mechanisms. Individual case studies illustrate best practices in an array of business sectors and give readers an inside look at how world-class leadership development programs are created, organized, and conducted so they can benchmark their own efforts. A special chapter studies the popular educational technique of action learning and its potential as a new paradigm for training the leaders of the twenty-first century. How will technology, new leadership requirements, and the flatter, wired organization affect trAnds in the upcoming millennium? The final chapter profiles the future of leadership in corporate America and offers insights to help organizations anticipate and train for the characteristics that will be demanded in the next generation of corporate leaders.

Jossey-Bass (June 11, 1999)

The Leader's Change Handbook

An Essential Guide to Setting Direction and Taking Action

Jay Conger, Gretchen M. Spreitzer, and Edward E. Lawler

A Stunning Achievement in Change Management.

In October of 1997, the nation's top business theorists and practitioners met at a conference cosponsored by USC's Leadership Institute and the Center for Effective Organizations. The group was challenged to present their most advanced ideas regarding leadership and change management. This guide is the stunning result of their collective efforts. Charged with fascinating case studies, action strategies, and unbeatable advice, The Leader's Change Handbook features fresh works by Christopher Bartlett, Michael Beer, John Kotter, David Nadler, Ron Heifetz, Susan Mohrman, Bob Quinn and other distinguished contributors. What it offers is a uniquely coherent, cutting-edge approach to leading today?s organizations — an approach only this elite group, working together toward a common vision, could offer.


Learning to Lead

The Art of Transforming Managers into Leaders

Jay Conger, Gretchen M. Spreitzer, Edward E. Lawler, III, (Editors)

In Learning to Lead, Jay Conger shares his undercover experiences in five of the nation's most popular leadership programs to offer readers personal insights into the role training plays in leadership development. Using a diary format supported by workshop outlines, sample materials, and interviews with one hundred fellow participants, he assesses the strengths and weaknesses of four key approaches to leadership development: personal growth, conceptual analysis, feedback, and skill development. Conger summarizes the goals and methods of each program and reveals the results participants can expect from. ARC's VisionQuest and Pecos River: Does personal growth play a role in strong leadership? The Tom Peters Group's Leadership Challenge: Can a conceptual understanding of leadership help managers improve their technique? The Center for Creative Leadership's Leadership Development Program: Can feedback tools like Myers-Briggs help participants transform their leadership weaknesses into strengths? The Forum Corporation's Leadership Course: Can skill-building techniques be used to teach complex leadership skills - such as strategic vision and change management?

Jossey-Bass, 1992

Winning 'Em Over

A New Model for Managing in the Age of Persuasion

Jay Conger

Winning 'Em Over chronicles a revolution. We are witnessing an ancient model of managing built around command and hierarchy give way to a new model built around persuasion and teamwork. Jay Conger demonstrates to managers on all levels how to thrive in the wake of this momentous transformation. Most important, he outlines the four crucial components of effective managing by persuasion: building one's credibility, finding common ground so that others have a stake in one's ideas, finding compelling positions and evidence, and emotionally connecting with coworkers so that solutions resonate with them on a personal level. In Winning 'Em Over, Conger explains how to implement a management style that will succeed in what is becoming a fundamentally and radically different business environment, and he provides readers with all of the new tools they will need to become effective, constructive persuaders.

Simon & Schuster (May 1999)


Jay tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and he's not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

The New Realities Facing Talent Management

Talent management is facing unprecedented challenges. A deeply troubled global economy, generational changes, shifting talent dynamics in emerging markets, the rise in technology’s role, and new workplace demands are reshaping the field. At the same time, certain fundamentals remain more imperative than ever. Performing these fundamentals at a world class level will ensure your organization emerges from the turmoil in a leadership position. This seminar will help you and your organization to address the new realities facing talent management.

The 21st Century Leader

In this energizing two to three and a half hour presentation, Jay Conger provides audiences with a look at the new demands facing leaders today and what skills they must possess to build genuine ‘followers’ among their staff. Audiences will also leave with a sense that becoming an exceptional leader is far more accessible than they have ever imagined.

Leading Through Storytelling: How Leaders Use Stories to Align the Actions and Mindsets of Their People

Why are certain leaders more influential than others, gaining rapid buy-in for their ideas and powerfully aligning the behavior of staff? What these leaders have discovered is the power of story telling. New research shows that people do not easily remember statistics and the bullet point descriptors so common to management presentations. But they do remember stories, recalling up to eleven times more information when conveyed in story form. Jay Conger’s latest work on leading through story telling shows how to develop this valuable skill to competitive advantage (most managers and executives only happen upon story-telling rarely, by accident or by instinct).

Masters of Strategic Innovation: Lessons from Visionary Leaders

In this talk, Jay Conger provides studied insights into the principles and patterns of visionary leadership based on his exclusive research. He shows audiences how to gain competitive advantage by cultivating the vision and strategic capabilities of your leaders. This is even more important today than in the past, now that change is no longer a linear process and products and services rapidly become commodities. To stay ahead, managers now must see ahead and plan ahead, envisioning successful paths to multiple possibilities.

Topics by the Book

Jay has written books on an impressive range of topics. These do not exhaust the subjects he could address for your audience at all, but they do represent areas of special expertise.

  • Leadership and management — the whole body of work
  • Persuasion and strategic communication — Winning ‘Em Over
  • Change management — The Leader’s Change Handbook
  • Leadership development — Building Leaders, Learning to Lead, Growing Your Company’s Leaders
  • Succession planning — Growing Your Company’s Leaders
  • Corporate governance — Corporate Boards


Leveraging the Spotlight On Your Leadership | TEDx


A leadership luncheon for a kitchen and bath professionals association:
Jay — We can't thank you enough for all of your help developing and presenting at our Executive Forum at [ . . . ] 2015. The executives were very pleased with the session and the audience response system was a huge hit.

A major consumer products corporation:
Jay — I wanted to thank you for doing a simply outstanding job teaching [our] Masters course the last two days. By the end of the afternoon I felt I really learned something valuable from the session. Day 2 blew me away! I thought I was a good networker - 3200 contacts in CardScan, 650 holiday cards...but scored average in several of the assessment categories. I realized there were elements of networking that I was overlooking that lessened my ability to help others and be helped - in a skill area I thought I had completely nailed. This insight flanged beautifully with work I'm doing with high performance teams (if you really know your counterpart's world, you would know their top 5 people!). The deep dive into career derailers was also extremely powerful, and sets the stage for a lot of thoughtful follow-up work and learning with my coach.

You did an especially impressive job in keeping us engaged, patiently teasing out participation and keeping us all feeling part of the discussion. Your patience, humor, superb public speaking skills and wonderfully intuitive ways to paint situational pictures all helped focus your messages and teachings into a powerful experience for us all.

Thank you for investing yourself so completely into our experience!

Board of directors of a financial services firm:
Jay showed up the night before and just lit up the room. The next morning he did a 45 minute talk, integrating every conversation that he had from the night before, he didn't use a single slide or note and was brilliant. The feedback from one of the board members was "Where did you find him? We need more time with him."

A manufacturer of chemical cleaning products:
Jay Conger was an exceptional facilitator for two full days of our senior leadership development program. We were looking for more than a speaker. We were seeking a teacher and facilitator that could engage a group of high performing executives around two different topics... personal leadership and leading organizational change. Jay handled both topics masterfully, required minimal direction but was open to input, had a warm and entertaining style, and received rave reviews from the participants. We look forward to having Jay back next year as an important part of our program.


— strategy+business
— T+D Magazine