Manfred Kets de Vries

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Distinguished Authority on Leadership Development and Organisational Change; Award-Winning Academic and Best-Selling Author/Editor of over 50 Books; Professor, INSEAD

Biography

Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries brings a different view to the much-studied subjects of leadership and the psychodynamics of individual and organizational change. Bringing to bear his knowledge and experience of economics (Econ. Drs., University of Amsterdam), management (ITP, MBA, and DBA, Harvard Business School), and psychoanalysis (Membership Canadian Psychoanalytic Society, Paris Psychoanalytic Society, and the International Psychoanalytic Association), Kets de Vries explores the interface between management theory, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, executive coaching and evolutionary psychology. His specific areas of interest are leadership (the bright and dark side), career dynamics, talent management, entrepreneurship, family business, cross-cultural management, succession planning, stress, C-suite team building, executive coaching, change management, management consulting, and organizational development.

The Distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change at INSEAD, Kets de Vries has been the Founding-Director of INSEAD’s Global Leadership Center. In addition, he is Program Director of INSEAD’s top management program, “The Challenge of Leadership: Creating Reflective Leaders” (and has received INSEAD’s distinguished teacher award six times). He has also held professorships at McGill University, the École des Hautes Études Commerciales, Montreal, the European School for Management and Technology (ESMT), Berlin, and the Harvard Business School, and he has lectured at management institutions around the world. The Financial Times, Le Capital, Wirtschaftswoche, and The Economist have rated Manfred Kets de Vries among the world’s leading management thinkers and among the most influential contributors to human resource management.

Kets de Vries is the author, co-author, or editor of 50 books, including The Neurotic Organization, Leaders, Fools and Impostors, Life and Death in the Executive Fast Lane, The Leadership Mystique, The Happiness Equation, Are Leaders Made or Are They Born? The Case of Alexander the Great, The New Russian Business Elite, Leadership by Terror, The Global Executive Leadership Inventory, The Leader on the Couch, Coach and Couch, The Family Business on the Couch, Sex, Money, Happiness, and Death: The Quest for Authenticity, Reflections on Leadership and Character, Reflections on Leadership and Career, Reflections on Organizations, The Coaching Kaleidoscope, The Hedgehog Effect: The Secrets of High Performance Teams and Mindful Leadership Coaching: Journeys into the Interior, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger: Executive Coaching Challenges and Telling Fairy Tales in the Boardroom: How to Make Sure Your Organization Lives Happily Ever After, Riding the Leadership Roller Coaster: A Psychological Observer’s Guide, Down the Rabbit Hole of Leadership: Leadership Pathology of Everyday Life. His latest book is tentatively called Being a CEO Whisperer: Meditations on Leaders, Life, and Change.

In addition, Kets de Vries has published more than 400 academic papers as chapters in books and as articles (including digital). He has also written approximately 100 case studies, including seven that received the Best Case of the Year award. He is a regular writer for a number of magazines. Furthermore, his work has been featured in such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Fortune, BusinessWeek, The Economist, The Financial Times and The Harvard Business Review. His books and articles have been translated into thirty-one languages. He writes regular blogs (mini-articles) for INSEAD Knowledge, the Harvard Business Review, and Het Financieele Dagblad. He is a member of seventeen editorial boards and has been elected a Fellow of the Academy of Management. He is a founding member of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations (ISPSO), which has honored him as a lifetime member. Kets de Vries is also the first non-US recipient of International Leadership Association Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to leadership research and development (being considered one of the world’s founding professionals in the development of leadership as a field and discipline). In addition, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Germany for his advancement of executive education. The American Psychological Association has honored him with the “Harry and Miriam Levinson Award” for his contributions to Organizational Consultation. Furthermore, he is the recipient of the “Freud Memorial Award” for his work to further the interface between management and psychoanalysis. He has received the “Vision of Excellence Award” from the Harvard Institute of Coaching. Kets de Vries is also the first beneficiary of the INSEAD Dominique Héau Award for “Inspiring Educational Excellence.” In addition, he is the recipient of two honorary doctorates.

Kets de Vries works as a consultant on organizational design/transformation and strategic human resource management for leading U.S., Canadian, European, Middle Eastern, African, and Asian companies. As a global consultant in executive leadership development his clients have included ABB, ABN-AMRO, Aegon, Air Liquide, Alcan, Alcatel, Accenture, ATIC, Bain Consulting, Bang & Olufsen, Bonnier, BP, Cairn, Deutsche Bank, Ericsson, GE Capital, Goldman Sachs, Heineken, Hudson, HypoVereinsbank, Investec, KPMG, Lego, Liberty Life, Lufthansa, Lundbeck, McKinsey, National Australian Bank, Nokia, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Origin, SABMiller, Shell, SHV, Spencer Stuart, Standard Bank of South Africa, Unilever and Volvo Car Corporation. As an educator and consultant, he has worked in more than fifty countries. In his role as a consultant, he is also the chairman of the Kets de Vries Institute (KDVI), a boutique strategic leadership development consulting firm.

The Dutch government has made Manfred Kets de Vries an Officer in the Order of Oranje Nassau. He was the first fly fisherman in Outer Mongolia (world champion hucho taimen) and is a member of New York’s Explorers Club. In his spare time, he can be found in the rainforests or savannas of Central and Southern Africa, the Siberian taiga, the Ussuri Krai, Kamchatka, the Pamir and Altai Mountains, Arnhemland, or within the Arctic Circle.

Manfred Kets de Vries is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, conference talks and advisory/consulting services through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Videos

Books & Research

Down the Rabbit Hole of Leadership

(Palgrave Macmillan, October 2018)

Riding the Leadership Rollercoaster

(Palgrave Macmillan, December 2016)

Mindful Leadership Coaching

(Palgrave Macmillan, April 2014)

The Hedgehog Effect

(Jossey-Bass, December 2011)

The Neurotic Organization

(Jossey-Bass, August 1984)

Intro Video

Video ThumbnailFrom hero to zero - when leaders turn bad: Manfred Kets de Vries at TEDxAmsterdam - youtube Video

A-Z Name

Kets de Vries, Manfred

Biography

Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries brings a different view to the much-studied subjects of leadership and the psychodynamics of individual and organizational change. Bringing to bear his knowledge and experience of economics (Econ. Drs., University of Amsterdam), management (ITP, MBA, and DBA, Harvard Business School), and psychoanalysis (Membership Canadian Psychoanalytic Society, Paris Psychoanalytic Society, and the International Psychoanalytic Association), Kets de Vries explores the interface between management theory, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, executive coaching and evolutionary psychology. His specific areas of interest are leadership (the bright and dark side), career dynamics, talent management, entrepreneurship, family business, cross-cultural management, succession planning, stress, C-suite team building, executive coaching, change management, management consulting, and organizational development.

The Distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change at INSEAD, Kets de Vries has been the Founding-Director of INSEAD’s Global Leadership Center. In addition, he is Program Director of INSEAD’s top management program, “The Challenge of Leadership: Creating Reflective Leaders” (and has received INSEAD’s distinguished teacher award six times). He has also held professorships at McGill University, the École des Hautes Études Commerciales, Montreal, the European School for Management and Technology (ESMT), Berlin, and the Harvard Business School, and he has lectured at management institutions around the world. The Financial Times, Le Capital, Wirtschaftswoche, and The Economist have rated Manfred Kets de Vries among the world’s leading management thinkers and among the most influential contributors to human resource management.

Kets de Vries is the author, co-author, or editor of 50 books, including The Neurotic Organization, Leaders, Fools and Impostors, Life and Death in the Executive Fast Lane, The Leadership Mystique, The Happiness Equation, Are Leaders Made or Are They Born? The Case of Alexander the Great, The New Russian Business Elite, Leadership by Terror, The Global Executive Leadership Inventory, The Leader on the Couch, Coach and Couch, The Family Business on the Couch, Sex, Money, Happiness, and Death: The Quest for Authenticity, Reflections on Leadership and Character, Reflections on Leadership and Career, Reflections on Organizations, The Coaching Kaleidoscope, The Hedgehog Effect: The Secrets of High Performance Teams and Mindful Leadership Coaching: Journeys into the Interior, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger: Executive Coaching Challenges and Telling Fairy Tales in the Boardroom: How to Make Sure Your Organization Lives Happily Ever After, Riding the Leadership Roller Coaster: A Psychological Observer’s Guide, Down the Rabbit Hole of Leadership: Leadership Pathology of Everyday Life. His latest book is tentatively called Being a CEO Whisperer: Meditations on Leaders, Life, and Change.

In addition, Kets de Vries has published more than 400 academic papers as chapters in books and as articles (including digital). He has also written approximately 100 case studies, including seven that received the Best Case of the Year award. He is a regular writer for a number of magazines. Furthermore, his work has been featured in such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Fortune, BusinessWeek, The Economist, The Financial Times and The Harvard Business Review. His books and articles have been translated into thirty-one languages. He writes regular blogs (mini-articles) for INSEAD Knowledge, the Harvard Business Review, and Het Financieele Dagblad. He is a member of seventeen editorial boards and has been elected a Fellow of the Academy of Management. He is a founding member of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations (ISPSO), which has honored him as a lifetime member. Kets de Vries is also the first non-US recipient of International Leadership Association Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to leadership research and development (being considered one of the world’s founding professionals in the development of leadership as a field and discipline). In addition, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Germany for his advancement of executive education. The American Psychological Association has honored him with the “Harry and Miriam Levinson Award” for his contributions to Organizational Consultation. Furthermore, he is the recipient of the “Freud Memorial Award” for his work to further the interface between management and psychoanalysis. He has received the “Vision of Excellence Award” from the Harvard Institute of Coaching. Kets de Vries is also the first beneficiary of the INSEAD Dominique Héau Award for “Inspiring Educational Excellence.” In addition, he is the recipient of two honorary doctorates.

Kets de Vries works as a consultant on organizational design/transformation and strategic human resource management for leading U.S., Canadian, European, Middle Eastern, African, and Asian companies. As a global consultant in executive leadership development his clients have included ABB, ABN-AMRO, Aegon, Air Liquide, Alcan, Alcatel, Accenture, ATIC, Bain Consulting, Bang & Olufsen, Bonnier, BP, Cairn, Deutsche Bank, Ericsson, GE Capital, Goldman Sachs, Heineken, Hudson, HypoVereinsbank, Investec, KPMG, Lego, Liberty Life, Lufthansa, Lundbeck, McKinsey, National Australian Bank, Nokia, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Origin, SABMiller, Shell, SHV, Spencer Stuart, Standard Bank of South Africa, Unilever and Volvo Car Corporation. As an educator and consultant, he has worked in more than fifty countries. In his role as a consultant, he is also the chairman of the Kets de Vries Institute (KDVI), a boutique strategic leadership development consulting firm.

The Dutch government has made Manfred Kets de Vries an Officer in the Order of Oranje Nassau. He was the first fly fisherman in Outer Mongolia (world champion hucho taimen) and is a member of New York’s Explorers Club. In his spare time, he can be found in the rainforests or savannas of Central and Southern Africa, the Siberian taiga, the Ussuri Krai, Kamchatka, the Pamir and Altai Mountains, Arnhemland, or within the Arctic Circle.

Manfred Kets de Vries is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, conference talks and advisory/consulting services through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Speech Topics

The Essence of Effective Leadership

This lecture examines the characteristics of charismatic and transformational leaders, the competencies, practices and roles that distinguish effective from ineffective leaders, and how executives can develop more effective leadership qualities. Discussion covers topics such as the corporate values that encourage and reinforce effective leadership in a global organisation and the implications of operating in a multi-cultural, global environment.

The Rationale of Irrationality

Like anyone else, leaders are capable of acting irrationally. This lecture shows that there is a rationale behind irrationality that needs to be acknowledged and dealt with. Many well-intentioned and well thought-out plans derail in organisations around the world because of the unconscious forces that influence our behaviour. This lecture delves into the types of irrational behaviour of executives and how to identify and manage them. It focuses on the value of keen observation and emotional intelligence as a part of the executive skill set. Emotionally intelligent people are better equipped to manage irrational behaviours and are likely to be more effective as leaders.

Leadership’s Rainbow

Leaders are prominent figures who stand in the glow of the spotlight. They are subject to, and influence the gaze of a wide range of observers, both inside and outside the organisation. But the shadow a leader casts over the workplace is less visible, even though it can darken the lives of many. The theme of this lecture is to provide insights into the darker side of leadership and to address different aspects of leadership dysfunction. What makes leaders derail? What factors trigger leadership failure? Are there warning signs? What effect does failed leadership have on corporate culture, organisational structure and patterns of decision-making? What can be done to change dysfunctional leadership to an effective one?

High-Performance Teams & Organisations

This lecture focuses on creating and managing high-performance teams. The creation of strongly aligned teams, in turn, becomes the basis for creating high-performance organisations. What are the ingredients for a high-performance team? How can an organisation’s culture support the creation of such teams? How can an organisation become a ‘best place to work’ in which people perform at their very best? What features make a particular culture unique? What changes to organisational culture make a company more effective? The class also deals with the process of successful individual and organisational change.

The Trigger Zone

This lecture adopts a neuropsychodynamic approach of personal and organisational life by looking at conscious and unconscious neural stimulation of behaviour. It integrates neurosciences, psycho-analysis and management studies in an excellent and highly accessible way and answers the question of why behavioural change begins and ends within our brain.

The Psychology of Happiness

This lecture addresses the question of what happiness is and how to deconstruct this elusive concept. Several essential aspects of happiness are explored including someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for. The lecture also addresses the need to achieve balance in life which includes resolving the dichotomy between outward and inner success. The importance of play in people’s lives is examined along with the role of stress—another important topic in the happiness equation. In the search for happiness, people have to strive for authenticity and an effort needs to be made to know oneself.

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Recommendations

“I can’t imagine that there are many courses of this nature. If one is willing to take on truths about oneself, this is the course to take. Passionate and insightful. It is obvious that Manfred loves his work and cares about us as people.”

    — Lisa Forshey, ABSA Bank, South Africa

“Manfred is superb at helping CEOs understand their current environment and understand themselves much better. The forum helps you feel less lonely as you discuss common issues and threats. You assess more deeply what you are trying to achieve. We shared our mistakes and learnt from the different tracks that are possible. Manfred’s leadership of the group enabled us to help each other to open our eyes around the issues we had. There is a huge impact from having input from people who are detached and supportive. There were no barriers. Everything was there to be discussed and to be helped.”

— Ron Bolger, Former Managing Partner, KPMG Ireland

“I had recently taken on new responsibility. The new leadership position put me into a stressful environment, adding to worries about my work-life balance. It was a lonely place and I was becoming frazzled. It was hard to find a proper mentor. My Chairman recommended Manfred’s course. It was a major commitment of time but I found it a liberation to be there. The experience has been staggering and a complete eye opener. I realized I was assuming burdens that I did not need to take on. The discussions give you a wealth of common sense to work from.”

— David Ross, Chief Executive, Arthur J. Gallagher

 

 

 

 

 

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