Thomas Kolditz

  • Brigadier General (Ret.)
  • Executive Director, Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University
  • Behavioral Psychologist and Extreme Leadership Expert

Tom Kolditz is the founding Executive Director of the Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University. He designed and directed the core Leader Development Program at the Yale School of Management, served as the chairman of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at West Point, and was the founding director of the West Point Leadership Center. A highly experienced leader, Brigadier General (retired) Kolditz has more than 26 years in P&L level supervisory positions, serving on four continents in his 34 years of military service.

Brigadier Gen. Tom Kolditz shows how extreme life-and-death situations can offer profound lessons for leaders in any setting. Gen. Kolditz’s research reveals that the leadership skills and principles evident in dangerous settings also apply to leading in business and everyday life, making this program applicable to both personal and professional success.


 
  

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In Extremis Leadership, Leading As If Your Life Depended On It

The contemporary operating environments for both government and business is characterized by volatility, complexity, and uncertainty—perfect conditions for crises to emerge. Brigadier Gen. Tom Kolditz shows how extreme life-and-death situations can offer profound lessons for leaders in any setting. ...

The contemporary operating environments for both government and business is characterized by volatility, complexity, and uncertainty—perfect conditions for crises to emerge. Brigadier Gen. Tom Kolditz shows how extreme life-and-death situations can offer profound lessons for leaders in any setting. Gen. Kolditz’s research reveals that the leadership skills and principles evident in dangerous settings also apply to leading in business and everyday life, making this program applicable to both personal and professional success.

Dodging Bullets: How to Avoid Crisis

Few people want to be put into a position of being crisis managers, so how can leaders prepare organizations to avoid crises before they occur? Gen. Kolditz will take the audience through specific processes and techniques to help leaders anticipate and prevent crises and have a more effective, more ...

Few people want to be put into a position of being crisis managers, so how can leaders prepare organizations to avoid crises before they occur? Gen. Kolditz will take the audience through specific processes and techniques to help leaders anticipate and prevent crises and have a more effective, more empowered work force every day.

Lessons from Sky Diving and High Risk Activities

Gen. Kolditz has lead thousands of civilian sky diving jumps and leads West Point’s elite Black Knights. Through heart-stopping real-life stories of leaders in these extreme situations, Dr. Kolditz insists that leaders at all levels can improve their effectiveness. In this program he share his knowl ...

Gen. Kolditz has lead thousands of civilian sky diving jumps and leads West Point’s elite Black Knights. Through heart-stopping real-life stories of leaders in these extreme situations, Dr. Kolditz insists that leaders at all levels can improve their effectiveness. In this program he share his knowledge about leading with influence, and communicating with purpose. He also has a variety of additional high-risk situations he shares that are ideal settings to seek and find great leaders, assess how they might be different, and gleans valuable insights for extraordinary leadership in everyday lives.

Bring Innovation Leadership to a Legacy Organization

Learn best practices, tools and processes for effective organization design, Identify key steps for mobilizing your desired organizational structure. . Learn how to lead change in organizations, especially those that are tradition-bound and extraordinarily resistant to change. Tom Kolditz draws on f ...

Learn best practices, tools and processes for effective organization design, Identify key steps for mobilizing your desired organizational structure. . Learn how to lead change in organizations, especially those that are tradition-bound and extraordinarily resistant to change. Tom Kolditz draws on first hand experience and multiple cases of innovation and change in organizations using a unique indirect strategy that was successful when more common change management strategies had failed.

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Biography

Tom Kolditz is the founding Executive Director of the Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University. He designed and directed the core Leader Development Program at the Yale School of Management, served as the chairman of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at West Point, and was the founding director of the West Point Leadership Center. A highly experienced leader, Brigadier General (retired) Kolditz has more than 26 years in P&L level supervisory positions, serving on four continents in his 34 years of military service. He is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association and is a member of the Academy of Management. He serves as a senior advisor to the Future of Executive Development Forum. His most recent book, titled In Extremis Leadership: Leading as if Your Life Depended on It, was based on more than 175 interviews taken on the ground in Iraq during combat operations. He has been named as a leadership Thought Leader by the Leader to Leader Institute and as a Top Leader Development Professional by Leadership Excellence. He holds a BA from Vanderbilt University, three master’s degrees, and a PhD in social psychology from the University of Missouri. In 2009, he was named to the Council of Senior Advisors, Future of Executive Development Forum.

A skydiving instructor since 1980, General Kolditz served as the senior instructor for the West Point Sport Parachute Team.  He weaves his personal experiences and abilities as a soldier, skydiver, and scholar into the first-hand study, analysis, and practice of leadership in dangerous circumstances—in extremis leadership—and how such leadership can inform the practice of leading in more ordinary settings. His most recent book, titled In Extremis Leadership: Leading as if Your Life Depended on It, was based on more than 100 interviews taken on the ground in Iraq during combat operations.

General Kolditz has presented leadership content to more than 150 governmental, corporate, and social sector audiences worldwide. As a professor, he has led academic seminars or given lectures to students from: Babson, Wellesley, and Olin Colleges, the University of Missouri, Columbia University, Duke University, Yale University, the Military Psychology Center of the Israel Defense Forces, Peking University, the Beijing International MBA program, Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, seven national and international service academies and more than ten major metropolitan law enforcement, firefighting, and public service academies and assemblies.

General Kolditz has appeared on ABC World News, ABC 20-20, Al Jazeera, MSNBC, CBS, NPR, Calgary Today, Morning Ireland, and conducted interviews with the New York Times, the Associated Press, Time, Discovery, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Washington Post, La Razon, and more than a dozen national and international news agencies.

General Kolditz holds numerous degrees, including a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology from Vanderbilt University, as well as Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Social Psychology, a Master of Military Arts and Science, and a Masters in Strategic Studies.