Drew Dudley helps us understand leadership in a more nuanced, practical, and entirely hopeful way. We’ve made leadership into something bigger than us, Dudley says, something beyond us. We’ve shrouded it in arrogance—turned it into something few of us will publicly admit to possessing. Leadership, he says, is now about changing the world and nothing less. But Dudley, who has spoken at TEDxToronto and other high profile venues, has other ideas. As the founder and director of one of the largest leadership development programs in North America, he embraces the idea that leadership can't really be taught, only learned—an idea that has resonated with thousands of people over the years.
Creating Cultures of Leadership and the Power of 'Lollipop Moments'
“How many of you are completely comfortable with calling yourself a leader?”
What would happen if you asked that at your next staff meeting? What percentage of hands do you think would be raised? Leadership speaker Drew Dudley has asked that question to hundreds of thousands of people around the world, and he’s yet to find an organization where the majority of employees are willing to call themselves leaders. That’s the problem this keynote will focus on solving.
By making leadership into something bigger than ourselves, Dudley says, we fail to acknowledge the everyday leadership that affects us in innumerable ways. We need to redefine leadership as being a series of “lollipop moments”—those moments when something you've done has made someone else’s life fundamentally better. How many lollipop moments occur every day? Dudley asks. And how many go unacknowledged? The most impactful leaders and the most successful organizations put a tremendous amount of focus on everyday leadership: making sure that it is fostered, acknowledged, and rewarded.
A born storyteller with infectious energy, Dudley shares practical insights on how successful leaders create cultures of leadership in their own lives and within their organizations. Featuring examples that originate everywhere from small-town Canada to the deserts of Qatar, and characters that range from janitors to CEOs, this presentation will make you laugh, think, and reconsider the way you evaluate leadership in your life and workplace.
The Silent Battles: Life, Leadership, and Bipolar Disorder
“Have you ever watched a movie that had a big twist at the end? The next time you watch that movie, you see everything that happens in a different light. That’s how I felt looking back on my life once I learned I had bipolar disorder,” says leadership speaker Drew Dudley.
Dudley has spoken to over 100,000 people around the world about creating personal cultures of leadership. This presentation is the story of how he often felt he had no right to do so. He shares the exhilarating highs and devastating lows made possible by his disease, and talks about the challenges of managing personal and professional relationships despite fear and self-doubt. He shares the pressure he felt to deny his illness as he experienced greater success, and the difficulties he encountered in seeking, finding, and accepting help. “I’ve come to realize that we all fight silent battles in our lives,” he says. “Battles we keep quiet because we are afraid they will make us look weak, or unemployable, or an embarrassment to those we care about.”
Dudley weaves humour with insight to make this a presentation about more than mental illness: he aims to shed light on how each of us can more effectively fight the silent battles in our own lives. Blending his personal story with universal leadership principles, he provides not only a greater understanding of life with mental illness, but equips the audience with tools to become more resilient, respond better to adversity, and improve their own mental well being.
Quieting Your Inner Bully
“No matter how old you are, you're too young to settle.”
Drew Dudley wants to talk about "the list" that exists in people’s heads about what they have to do in life to consider themselves a success. This list—that we’re all guilty of having—is disempowering and often causes us to turn away from our true passions. In a sense, Dudley says, we are our own worst bullies. Adding insult to injury is the fact that bullying breeds fear: we won’t make changes in our lives because we're afraid of ending up with less than we have now, even if we aren't happy. So, we settle. With compassion and storytelling, Dudley shows us how to break out of this bullying cycle. Doing so is the only way to become better leaders, and to live happier lives. We can’t lead others until we can lead ourselves, Dudley explains. We must be able to the question, “where in my life am I settling?” and then we must refuse to do it for a single day more.
Changing the Game: Selfless Work Makes Us Happier
The working world is too often treated like a game, complete with rules to learn, bend, and break, and worst of all, a system of winners and losers. It leads people to feel, also, that we live and work in a world of scarcity—that when someone else gets a bonus, or a big break of some sort, it means there’s less for us to gain. We put great emphasis on achieving things that might be out of our control, and have less to do with our work ethic and contributions than we might think: things like promotions, bonuses, and even office recognition, which depend heavily on finances and office cohesion. Still, we focus on these goals, and convince ourselves that they are the means by which we will feel needed, secure and satisfied with our jobs.
But what if we focused on other goals, like making an impact on society and adding value to it, without being sure that we'll receive anything but a pat on the back? Could this more selfless work model actually be more compassionate and fulfilling? Drew Dudley says, it can. In optimistic and inspiring talks, Dudley pushes his audiences to embrace the world of work as a world of abundance, where there is satisfaction and fulfillment enough for everyone who is adding value to their industry. Rather than making money and promotions our goal (which really means putting your fate into the hands of someone else), Dudley urges us to work toward a happiness that can’t be bought, or framed, or praised by someone else's standards. By doing so, you CAN be in charge of your own success.
Thank you, Drew for your inspiring words. I truly believe that if we all asked ourselves the six value add questions every day, we will all be more fulfilled and enrich the lives of those around us. Numerous members of our group have let me know how your words yesterday have impacted them in such a positive and inspirational way. One of my colleagues has already taken the steps to repair a relationship with an old friend. You are an amazing individual and we are so lucky to have spent our Leadership Retreat morning with you.
Coaching Association of Canada
We have received such positive feedback and praise for your exceptional conference presentation. Your captivating session, professionalism, and enthusiasm in sharing your experiences was noted by many. We appreciated your preparedness and ease with which we worked to coordinate your session. Several delegates commented that they sourced relevant and applicable takeaways from the conference, specifically from your Celebrating Everyday Leadership session which was referenced numerous times throughout the remainder of the conference. Thank you for contributing your insights to positively shape our conference delegates’ experience.
HIEC Conference Halton Industry Education Council
I don't normally do this, but we have never had a keynote speaker that everyone ranked so high in our evaluations! You received 5.30 out of 5.00 on the evaluations and the individual feedback was awesome too. I put some of the comments below: - Drew Dudley was an amazing speaker he has articulated the traits in a leader that I believe in! Great event! - There is not enough words to express the value in hearing Drew Dudley. A true wow moment in my day...my lollipop moment! - Drew was awesome! - Drew Dudley's speech was extremely motivational. It taught me different ways to look a simple life accomplishments. His words gave me a sense of a different future for myself and how I may want to start living my life ("one interaction at a person at a time"). The good you do always comes back to you in one way or another. His words made me wonder if the things I am aiming for in life are actually worth. I also loved and felt motivated by everyone who stood in front of us and said a few words. - Drew Dudley is very inspirational! Judging by the captivating audience, he didn't just empower me but everyone so thank you for making my day. - Thank you for Drew! Truly inspiring and refreshing as usual HIEC has another great event!
Beaming. That’s the only way I can describe the faces of the United Way staff team as Drew began to speak at our community celebration event. Drew took the time to learn about our organization and the goals of our event in advance, and the result was a seamless, poignant, and unbelievably relevant message that really hit home with our guests. Drew is relatable and inspiring, and he made each and every person in the room feel appreciated and valued (which was our top goal for the night.) Thank you, Drew—for your amazing effort, of course—but mostly for making our faces hurt from smiling so much.
Drew blew us away. We had 400+ people at the event and usually, by Saturday afternoon, we've lost a lot to distractions - hanging out with friends, gone off to do sponsor stuff, whatever. But on Saturday afternoon at 3:30, we still had most attendees eagerly awaiting the last session. We were scheduled to start right then, but we decided to push it back by 15 minutes - people were enjoying talking to the sponsors and each other, so I wanted them to not feel rushed. We started at 3:45 and I had asked Drew to keep it high energy, given that this was the end of a long tiring schedule. Within 5 minutes, Drew had the place in stitches. Within 10 minutes, he had the place in tears. He pulled out every story he had, I think. He worked with the audience and challenged them. He fed off their energy and they off his. He managed to take every lesson, every learning, everything we'd said over the last two days and bring it home. There was not a dry eye in the place. When he sat down, the audience stood up and would probably still be applauding if he hadn't said it was getting embarrassing. It was, beyond a doubt, the perfect ending to our conference. Drew is an absolute gem. We are finalizing our post conference survey and will share with you and Drew any feedback we receive once we send it out. I expect it will be a lot.
Drew Dudley’s presentation was excellent and we were very pleased to have him speak. He was also great with our team and the conference attendees. Working with Lavin was easy to make the arrangements for his session. Overall it was very smooth and a positive experience!
Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association
Drew delivered a great balance between humour and content which kept the audience engaged for the entire presentation. There were many questions at the end which is also an indication of how well the audience received Drew’s message. From the survey we conducted Drew received a rating of “excellent” from 84% of attendees which is an amazing result. The other 14% gave his a good rating, we had nobody who indicted they felt this was not worthwhile to attend. Prior to the event Drew made himself available to ensure he understood our conference goals and the nature of our audience. His dedication to preparing the presentation to suit our needs is clearly indicated in the survey results. Drew was easy to work with and extremely professional. A number of our members indicated they want to hire Drew for their own events so we would have no hesitation in recommending him to another organization.