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Geoff  Colvin

Geoff Colvin

Senior Editor-at-Large, Fortune Magazine & Bestselling Author

Biography

Geoff Colvin is an award-winning thinker, author, broadcaster, and speaker on the most significant trends and issues impacting business and the economy. As Fortune magazine’s senior editor-at-large, Geoff has an insider’s perspective fueled by longstanding relationships with the world’s top leaders in business and government. He knows what they’re seeing, thinking, and planning and reveals how they’re leading, making choices, and responding to today’s challenges in ways that others can learn from. Read More >

Now in his fourth decade at Fortune, Geoff Colvin’s breadth of experience is impressive.  He is one of business journalism’s sharpest and most respected commentators on leadership, management, globalization, regulation, corporate governance, competition, the economy, the InfoTech revolution, human performance and related issues. Geoff’s regular column and frequent cover stories in Fortune have earned him millions of loyal readers.

Geoff is also one of America's preeminent business broadcasters. He is heard every day on the CBS Radio Network, where he has made over 10,000 broadcasts and reaches seven million listeners each week. He has appeared on Today, The O’Reilly Factor, Good Morning America, Squawk Box, CBS This Morning, ABC's World News Tonight, CNN, PBS's Nightly Business Report, and dozens of other programs. He served as anchor of Wall Street Week with Fortune on PBS, and spoke each week to the largest audience reached by any business television program in America.

As a keynote speaker, Geoff has a knack for bringing clarity to the most important and complex issues impacting business and the economy.  He has spoken for scores of corporate and association conferences on six continents including dozens of high level Fortune conferences.  His speeches pull together timely insights and strategies and are tailored to deliver relevant insights that help leaders understand what the future holds.  

In addition to speaking Geoff is also a brilliant panel moderator, emcee and interviewer whose subjects have included Jack Welch, Henry Kissinger, Richard Branson, the Prince of Wales, Bill Gates, Alan Greenspan, Steve Case, Tony Blair, Michael Dell, Ted Turner, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and many others. 

Geoff is a respected author whose groundbreaking international bestseller, Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates WorldClass Performers from Everybody Else, has been published in a dozen languages. The Upside of the Downturn: Management Strategies for Difficult Times was named “Best Management Book of the Year” by Strategy + Business magazine. Geoff’s latest book (released August, 2015) is called Humans are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will.  It’s based on the idea in his wildly popular article in the 2014 Fortune 500 issue – “In The Future Will There Be Any Work Left for People to Do?”  It looks at the trend of technology displacing more jobs than it creates and the ways humans will create value for their organizations and their careers in the changing economy. The ideas he shares have profound implications for every business and industry.

A native of Vermillion, South Dakota, Geoff Colvin is an honors graduate of Harvard with a degree in economics and has an M.B.A. from New York University. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

A Video Profile: Preview of Speech Offerings

Humans are Underrated: The Future of Work

Economic Outlook: Overview

Hosting and Moderation: Overview Video

21st Century Corporation: Friction Free Product Design Manufacturing

Drivers of Business and Economic Change

Speech Topics

Leading Ahead of What’s Next: The New Rules of Business

The whole world of business is changing in historic and profound ways – technological disruption, government’s role, and the balance of global economic power are shifting massively — and it’s happening fast!  While political winds may blow toward restrictions on trade and immigration, the trends powering the friction-free economy are technological and going strong. Competing and winning in business today requires extraordinary leadership at every level of the organization. Colvin has a unique perspective rooted in long-standing relationships with the world’s top leaders in business and government. He knows what they’re seeing, thinking, and planning and reveals how they’re leading, making choices, and responding to today’s challenges in ways that others can learn from. A unifying theme as the economy transforms is that in almost every business, barriers to entry are coming down. Geoff’s message is optimistic and energizing: Opportunity is more widely available than ever. Every organization, and every person, can possess the 21st Century’s most valuable assets – openness to new ideas, ingenuity, and imagination. 

Political Chaos & Your Business

The main theme of the Trump administration is unpredictability.  President Trump has said that his unpredictability is a deliberate strategy.   That makes the strategic planning a huge challenge for business leaders everywhere.  Geoff Colvin helps unwind the impact of Washington in terms you won’t hear elsewhere. Economic growth, consumer demand, interest rates, taxes, employment costs – cable news doesn’t spend much time on those issues, but all of them are set to change, transforming the business environment in important ways.  That’s why business people must keep the most significant issues in mind, even when the daily Washington chatter wanders away from them. Geoff explains why partisanship won’t decrease and policy stability will remain a dream. Yet business can’t afford to be paralyzed.  Geoff shows how the most successful business leaders are competing and winning in this uncertain environment. He brings a message of optimism that too often gets lost in the political rough and tumble.

The Economic Outlook

Even before the new alignment of power in Washington, it was the question on every business leader’s mind: Where are the U.S. and global economies going?  Now it’s more urgent – and uncertain.  In opinion surveys, top CEOs and ordinary consumers say the same thing: There’s too much change, too fast; we can’t keep up. We all remember a time when it was easier to anticipate where things might be headed, when the consequences of misjudgment were less severe. Now a meltdown of financial markets in China can ripple globally and take down a trillion dollars in assets in a single day – and such volatility is becoming more common. The economic picture changes by the day, and Geoff Colvin has a brilliant perch at Fortune to view it all – to get ahead of official statistics to uncover what’s going on. He reflects on the varied forces driving economic change and offers a glimpse of where each may take us.

Talent is Overrated: Unexpected Truths of Great Performance

What if everything you know about raw talent, hard work, and great performance is wrong? Scientific research on great performance shows that what most of us believe is off-base – which means most of us will never perform as well as we could.  Geoff Colvin, author of the groundbreaking international bestseller Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, explains the findings and relates them to real life in real organizations. He shows how most organizations value the wrong things – that passion, honesty, and learning are more valuable than hours, IQ, or “native ability.” Geoff demonstrates that world-class performance comes from behaviors that every person and organization can adopt. Those who apply these principles gain a tremendous competitive advantage.

Humans are Underrated: Building the New High Level Skills

It’s one of the largest questions facing organizations and individuals today: What will people do better than computers? As technology gallops ahead, taking over more skilled and highly paid work, how will people keep adding value? A leading economist says these issues are “the defining economic feature of our era.” Geoff Colvin explains the issues and answers the questions, showing how people can keep adding value – more than ever – by becoming excellent at the deepest, most essentially human skills. Read More >

Among the most important are:

  • It doesn’t just mean feeling someone’s pain. It means discerning what another person is thinking or feeling – whether it’s pain, interest, confusion, fear, desire, or anything else – and responding in an appropriate way. An ability to do that in any setting is crucial to building powerful relationships and is the foundation of all the other high-value skills.
  • Creative problem-solving in groups. The problems that most organizations face today are too complex for anyone to solve alone. The work must be done by teams, and the key to team effectiveness isn’t what most people think. Rather than IQ, cohesion, or motivation, the critical factor is the members’ social sensitivity, their ability to “read” one another. That’s more important than all the other factors combined.
  •  Organizations haven’t traditionally valued storytelling. Instead they value charts and graphs. Companies will always have to make decisions based on rational analysis of data – but that’s exactly what technology does so well, encompassing more data and stronger analysis every day. Human value is migrating elsewhere. And if you want to change people’s minds, if you want to inspire them to act, tell them a story.

While some think of these skills as traits (you’ve got them or you don’t), Colvin shows how they are trainable skills and how leading organizations are developing them right now. We can all get better at them, and we all will have to.

Based on his book Humans Are Underrated, which The New York Times calls “profound,” Colvin’s talk is inspiring, entertaining, mind-opening, and highly practical. Read Less ^

Panel Moderator, Discussion Leader, Emcee/Host

Geoff Colvin’s unique gift is his ability to brilliantly moderate panels, lead onstage interviews and host/emcee. He’s played these roles for more than two decades at Fortune magazine’s most prestigious conferences worldwide. Top corporations and associations regularly utilize Geoff because he has a gift for getting the most out of participants; asking the right questions, listening intently to what’s being said on stage and responding to that -- keeping the discussion relevant and the energy high. He is so skilled that many top firms can’t imagine doing an important program without him. As an attendee at a recent conference told the event organizer, “Geoff Colvin literally made this conference.”