Michael Useem helps leaders develop the capabilities required for making good and timely decisions in unpredictable and stressful environments, in moments when leadership really matters.
Michael is an excellent speaker with a trademark interactive approach based on the stories of real crisis events. He truly engages his audiences, drawing them more deeply into their own leadership potential. He also leads an annual leadership trek to Mount Everest.
He is the author of several ground-breaking books on leadership. His articles have appeared in all the prestigious business journals and he has consulted for major corporations and government agencies.
His book, the first e-book by Wharton Digital Press, is The Leader’s Checklist: 15 Mission-Critical Principles. This definitive checklist will help today’s leaders act decisively when it counts the most.
Michael’s book, The Go Point: When It’s Time to Decide — Knowing What to Do and When to Do It, uses a diverse group of stories about leaders in their moment of truth to reveal how to be decisive when the consequences are big.
The Leadership Moment was included in the book The 100 Best Business Books of All Time, written by the publishers of 800 CEO Read, and listed as one of the 10 best leadership books on their Washington Post column "The Leadership Playlist."
Michael also coauthored Learning from Catastrophes: Strategies for Reaction and Response and The India Way: How India’s Top Business Leaders Are Revolutionizing Management.
Michael Useem is the William and Jacalyn Egan Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Leadership and Change Management at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Trademark Approach — The Leadership Moment
Michael’s programs are extremely effective at developing deeper decision-making resources in leaders.
He presents true stories of management and leadership challenges—from the White House to the boardroom, from the trading floor to firefighting to mountaineering.
He brings the audience right up to the crucial leadership moment in the story, then engages the audience interactively to propose possible solutions.
Finally, he compares the participants’ ideas to the real decisions and outcomes of the moment and analyzes the resulting themes.
The result: lessons that managers can apply to their own situations in a practical way.
The Go Point
Through stories and action-oriented tools, Michael Useem shows how to get to go point — when it’s time to get off the fence, say yes or no, and jump the right way.
Whether you’re in the middle of a raging forest fire leading a crew whose lives depend on you or taking over a small but thriving new startup, the ability to make a decision — to reach the go point and know how and when to act — is your most important skill. In The Go Point, Michael Useem shows you how.
Michael uses a diverse group of stories — about a range of leaders from Civil War hero Major General Pickett to the CEO of Hewlett-Packard — to illustrate his point about the importance of timely action. He gets into their heads as they face their moments of truth, revealing how they made decisions when the stakes were really high. The Go Point shows you how to master the art and science of being decisive, teaching you to use small steps to make hard decisions, build a network of trusted counselors, and consider the future when making decisions.
In The Go Point presentation, Michael Useem offers invaluable tools for people in positions of leadership, not just in business but in almost every endeavor in their personal and professional lives.
- William and Jacalyn Egan Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Leadership and Change Management at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
- Teaches MBA and executive MBA courses on leadership and change management
- Offers programs for managers in the U.S., Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
- Edits the monthly electronic bulletin, Wharton Leadership Digest
- Directs an annual leadership trek to Mount Everest
Michael tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is 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.
Leading Through Challenging Times
The Chilean mining minister watched as the cave-in victims emerged unscathed, along with an estimated billion television viewers. A rescue crew had toiled around the clock for more than two months to retrieve the
33 below, but direct responsibility for their recovery ultimately resided in just one person, Chile’s minister of mines. In his decisions that guided the rescue are instructive implications for all who face exceptionally challenging leadership moments.
Focusing on difficult decisions in uncertain times, Michael Useem identifies what it takes for making timely calls when leadership matters most. He draws upon a range of instructive events — ranging from fateful management decisions in Chinese and Indian companies to the miner- rescue decisions in Chile to the front-line decisions of firefighters and mountain climbers — to construct a template for leading through stressful times.
The Go Point: When It’s Time to Decide
￼Moments of decision are those times when an individual, team, or organization faces a tangible opportunity to go one way or another. And ultimately, every decision comes down to a go point — that moment when the essential information has been gathered, the pros and cons are weighed, and the time has come to get off the fence. Decisions at such points are at the heart of leadership and a driver of organizational performance.
Drawing on the decision moments of a range of company leaders, corporate directors — and even mountaineers on Mt. Everest, firefighters in the wilderness, and generals at Gettysburg — Michael Useem identifies what it takes for making timely calls when leadership really matters.
A major financial services firm:
The session went well. Mike did a good job of co-teaching with one of our internal leaders, which is not always an easy thing to do. But the hand-offs and the back-and-forth went very well.
A producer of specialty metals:
He did an outstanding job! Everyone really enjoyed his presentation. Thanks for all of your help in getting Mike to speak at our event. It was a great experience.
A global organizational leadership development company:
- It was amazing
- coolest man in America
- logistics worked out perfectly
- client loved it
- he played off it (the medium)
- was such a success, we will probably replicate it
- easiest speaker I have ever worked with in my life.
A university-sponsored business leaders event:
The breakfast was great. Packed house. Michael was a real diversion from the more politically oriented-social commentator types we have had in recent years so it was a bit of an unknown how it would go over. The predominantly business men/women audience really responded to him. He held a "class" for 900 people, had interaction with the audience, it was great. Went over wonderfully well. We're hearing great comments from our guests.
— Harvard Business Review
— Harvard Business Review
— Harvard Business Review
— Knowledge@Wharton Today
"Most Medals of Honor have been bestowed for acts of extreme leadership. Very few of us will ever face the choice of whether or not to use our own bodies to shield a comrade from a lethal blast. Yet the narratives, absorbing and inspiring in their own right, offer an indelible lesson on the essence of leadership.
For most of us, most of the time, private self-interest is well aligned with organizational purpose. At rare but critical moments, however, when common purpose and personal interest diverge, we see leadership put to its supreme test, sometimes requiring a split-second decision. And when transcendent purpose trumps individual self-interest, we see the ultimate test and triumph of leadership..."