Business Leader, Author & Founding Member of Fast Company
For two decades, Polly LaBarre has used her writing and speaking to help make organizations more resilient, innovative and inspiring - and to embolden and equip leaders at every level to make a meaningful impact. LaBarre’s work is driven by three core questions: How can organizations change the way they change in order to become endlessly adaptable and gain an advantage over time? How do you embed innovation as a DNA level capability inside an organization? How do we unleash and organize human potential in ever more powerful ways? With her partners (including Gary Hamel) at the Management Lab (MLab), LaBarre works with leading organizations to make real progress on those ideas and accelerate the development and adoption of a post-bureaucratic, 21st century management model. Read More >
Fit for the Future: Tapping into the Genius of Everyone
Making Innovation A Team Effort
Inspiring Performance At Work
End of Leadership: You're Not a Leader Because You Have a Title
Mavericks at Work: Accountability and Autonomy
The big question leaders face today is: Are you changing as fast as the world is changing? If your answer is “No, not really,” you’re not alone. The “modern” organization was designed over a century ago to control processes, people and deviation from the norm. How can entrenched organizations change their DNA? Polly’s mind-flipping insights show audiences how to evolve their management model – the most powerful source of competitive advantage – and build an organization that is endlessly adaptable, relentlessly inventive, and genuinely inspiring.
Experimentation, risk-taking, and variety produce game-changing innovation. Polly shows how to make every management process a catalyst, not a wet blanket, for innovation. She shares how the world’s most innovative organizations/leaders are strengthening their innovation DNA. They’re laying out the welcome mat for new (even dissenting) ideas, upgrading the innovation skills of every person in the organization, building in the crucial space and slack needed, creating a robust set of innovation metrics and tools, and leveraging new social technologies in service of invention, bureaucracy-busting and experimentation.
For too long, the ruling ideology of too many organizations has been control – controlling people, information, and deviations from the norm. That’s exactly the wrong design for generating the innovation and engagement required to thrive in the 21st century. Now, leaders must focus on mobilizing and unleashing the full imagination, passion, and initiative of every person inside the organization. In this presentation, Polly introduces audiences to fresh ideas and “positive deviants”—the organizations and leaders riding the waves of change by busting bureaucracy, instituting radical autonomy, rethinking the work of leadership, promoting artistry and creativity, and cultivating trust and well-being.
The Web is transforming management models as profoundly as it already has business models. Polly LaBarre shows leaders how progressive companies are already using the new social technologies and undergirding principles of the Web to reinvent how they do strategy, allocate resources, make decisions, lead, engage, develop, and reward people. In this talk audiences learn how to expand the scope of employee freedom - to connect, contribute, create, choose, and to challenge - open up the organization, trade hierarchy for meritocracy, cultivate community, build collaboration, and court serendipity – all without sacrificing scale, efficiency, and discipline.
Polly’s presentation builds on the key theme of the new era — leadership is no longer a function of your title or where you sit in the organization; it’s a function of your capacity to get things done with other people. You’re a leader today because you have followers — not the other way around. At some point or another then, everybody in the organization has a chance to exercise his or her leadership capability. Polly offers practical ways to embed 21st century leadership capability across the organization by rethinking values, breaking down bureaucracy, increasing engagement, banning orthodoxy and welcoming mavericks, misfits and heretics.
If we want originality, invention and game-changing disruption — we need people who ignore rules, flout convention, defy the gravity of the status quo, question constantly, and experiment fearlessly. In a world of non-stop competition and rampant commodification, mavericks are the people who invent the future and create the most value. You don’t have to be a born maverick — or a disruptive startup — to push your organization, your industry, or the world into the future. You just have to think (and act) differently. Polly’s “maverick manual” shows how to replace rules with values, hack the status quo, embrace and connect misfits and troublemakers and make a system-wide impact – even when you don’t own the system.
Polly LaBarre has designed and hosted events, led panels, interviewed celebrated thinkers & doers on stage and on television, and earned accolades for her ability to connect the dots and draw out valuable insights during her interactions. Whether hosting, interviewing one-on-one or moderating a panel discussion, Polly will help create a lively and informative forum for the issues you want to explore.
"Polly was the perfect addition to our conference. Her keynote was the ideal complement to those that both preceded and followed her. She was very approachable, engaging and a true pleasure to work with—both for the accompanying speakers and the technical and production teams. The rave reviews continue to roll in."
"I would like to tell you that the Planetree audience loved your presentation! Great job! I heard comments that you were the best keynote we have ever had by far! Thank you again for the presentation and also meeting with our staff afterwards. It was sensational!"
"Thanks so much, Polly was a HUGE hit. We couldn’t have asked for a better suited speaker. So much so that a lot of our attendees are asking for the video footage of the day so they can re-watch it."
"Thanks so much for coming to Santa Barbara for our NBC retreat. You were both energetic and inspiring – and, trust me, I would have been thrilled to have one or the other! You gave us a lot to think about and you set the perfect tone for a lot of the issues that are facing us right at this moment."
"Thanks again for speaking at our Women’s Leadership Forum. Your remarks made quite an impact with our younger leaders, in particular. I spoke with several of them later and they were so energized by your talk, they are off implementing change!"
"Many thanks for the session you ran for us on Friday. As you could tell, it was energizing and fun and I really think it helped to move the ball forward for us. Not only did it surface some great ideas we can adopt immediately, but we learned how to hack problems and opportunities which I hope will become part of our DNA!"