Most Requested Speaker Topics As of June 2013

What’s hot? What’s trending? What kinds of Speakers are clients asking us about as we head into the Summer of 2013? Every 2 months our system tabulates all the searches done on our website as well as requests and phone calls and produces a list of the most requested topics. Our position in the marketplace as a Speakers Agency focused on research and results as opposed to marketing and selling gives us the opportunity to really listen to our client’s needs.

That’s what makes the results of our most requested topics list so interesting. This list reflects the major issues and challenges facing businesses in June of 2013.

  1. Leadership – Always within the top 4 but now more than ever companies want to give people the skills to lead both themselves and others.
  2. Innovation – Risen steadily in past 5 years, businesses want to know how to encourage a culture of innovation throughout their organizations.
  3. Change – Always top 10, higher in challenging times.  Clients need to make their people more adaptable and resilient.
  4. Teamwork – Businesses want ideas on creating a more unified workplace as different generations clash and more organizations attempt to become flatter to foster collaboration and communication.
  5. Client Service – Companies are finding that increased competition means they need to know how to deliver a greater customer experience.
  6. Geopolitics – Risen rapidly since 2008. Businesses want to know how different geopolitical trends will affect investing.
  7. Future and Technology – Clients want to both educate and inspire people about the future so they are ready for it.
  8. Economy – Companies want updates and a sense of where the market is going and how it will affect their industry.
  9. Inspiring Stories – Dropped off in the recession as it was hard to justify but now coming back as a way of bringing people together.
  10. Motivational Strategies – Clients are asking for more practical ideas and hands on strategies that their people can put to work right away.
  11. Communication – Businesses looking for new ideas on improving communications with clients and employees.
  12. Social Media – Was number 3 at one stage but falling fast as companies still struggle to find the right way to use it.

Chester Elton on Leadership

Chester Elton, co-author of New York Times best selling The Carrot Principle and The Orange Revolution, is a successful keynote speaker on motivation, management, teamwork and leadership. His work has been called a must read for modern managers, by Larry King of CNN.

In this interview with Realizing Leadership Magazine, Chester brilliantly explains his latest keynote, All In, which helps Leaders understand the importance of rewards and recognition in creating a high performance culture.

Polly LaBarre and Gary Hamel on How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge

Polly LaBarre, co-author of Mavericks at Work and a founding writer of Fast Company magazine, has worked for nearly 20 years to change the way leaders and their organizations think about working and winning. She has teamed up with Gary Hamel, one of the world’s most sought-after management experts, and wrote this excellent article on leadership:

For all of the books (thousands) written on leadership, individuals (millions) who have participated in leadership seminars and dollars (billions) invested in leadership development, too many leadership experts still fail to distinguish between the practice of leadership and the exercise of bureaucratic power.

In order to engage in a conversation about leadership, you have to assume you have no power — that you aren’t “in charge” of anything and that you can’t sanction those who are unwilling to do your bidding. If, given this starting point, you can mobilize others and accomplish amazing things, then you’re a leader. If you can’t, well then, you’re a bureaucrat.

To gain a true leadership advantage, organizations must be filled with individuals who understand how to maximize their own ratio of “accomplishment over authority.” They must believe it’s possible to do something big with a little dab of power. Think, for example, of Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, the world’s largest compendium of knowledge. None of the thousands of individuals who’ve contributed to Wikipedia report to Wales, and yet, as a “social architect,” he built a platform that energized and organized an extraordinary amount of human effort.

What, then, are the attributes of individuals who can inspire others and multiply their impact?

They are seers — individuals who are living in the future, who possess a compelling vision of “what could be.” As human beings, we’re constantly looking forward, and we love to sign on with individuals who are already working on “the next big thing.”

They are contrarians — free of the shackles of conventional wisdom and eager to help others stage a jailbreak. It’s exciting to be around these free-spirited thinkers who liberate us from the status quo and open our minds to new possibilities.

They are architects — adept at building systems that elicit contribution and facilitate collaboration. They leverage social technologies in ways that amplify dissident voices, coalesce communities of passion and unleash the forces of change.

They are mentors — rather than hoarding power, they give it away. Like Mary Parker Follett, the early 20th-century management pioneer, they believe the primary job of a leader is to create more leaders. To this end, they coach, tutor, challenge and encourage.

They are connectors — with a gift for spotting the “combinational chemistry” between ideas and individuals. They help others achieve their dreams by connecting them with sponsors, like-minded peers, and complementary resources.

They are bushwhackers — they clear the trail for new ideas and initiatives by chopping away at the undergrowth of bureaucracy. They’re more committed to doing the right thing than to doing things right.

They are guardians — vigilant defenders of core values and enemies of expediency. Their unflinching commitment to a higher purpose inspires others and encourages them to stand tall for their beliefs.

They are citizens — true activists, their courage to challenge the status quo comes from their abiding commitment to doing as much good as possible for as many as possible. They are other-centered, not self-centered.

Critically, all these roles are rooted in the most potent and admirable human qualities — passion, curiosity, compassion, daring, generosity, accountability and grit. These are the qualities that attract allies and amplify accomplishments. These are the DNA strands of 21st-century leadership. Only by strengthening them can we fully unleash the latent leadership talents that reside in every organization.

Polly LaBarre & Gary Hamel / HBR Blog Network / May 24, 2013