Who are the authors

Robert DeKoch

Phillip G. Clampitt (Ph.D., University of Kansas) holds the Blair Endowed Chair of Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he teaches in the Information Sciences program.

The Wall Street Journal and MIT Sloan Management Review highlighted his work on “Decision Downloading” which details how companies can effectively communicate decisions to those not involved in the decision-making process. Additionally, Phil is the
author of a Sage Publications best seller, Communicating for Managerial Effectiveness 6e, and co-author of Embracing Uncertainty: The Essence of Leadership and Transforming Leaders into Progress Makers. His most recent book, Social Media Strategy: Tools for Professionals and Organizations, guides professionals and
organizations through the process of developing a strategy for their social media initiatives with the goal of enhancing their organization’s effectiveness.

Along with being on the editorial board of numerous professional journals, his work has been published in a variety of journals including the MIT Sloan Management ReviewAcademy of Management Executive, and Management Communication Quarterly.

In addition to many guest-speaking opportunities in the U.S., Phil has also been invited to speak internationally at The University of Pisa, The University of Aberdeen, The University of Ulster, as well as to numerous multi-national businesses and professional organizations.

As a principal in his firm, Metacomm, he has consulted on communication and leadership issues with a variety of organizations, such as PepsiCo, Manpower, Schneider National, The Menasha Corporation, Dean Foods, The Boldt Company, Stora Enso, The U.S. Army War College, Appleton, and Nokia (see www.imetacomm.com).

Robert DeKoch Robert J. DeKoch received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Lawrence University and his Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. His career has spanned numerous manufacturing industries where he has held various management positions in operations, engineering, and research. He is currently the President and Chief Operating Officer for a major U.S. construction services firm, the Boldt Company. He is also Co-Chairman of the Board of New North, Inc., a regional economic development initiative in Northeastern Wisconsin. The initiative’s mission is to harness and promote the 18-county region's resources, talents and creativity for the purposes of sustaining and growing the regional economy. Throughout his career, Mr. DeKoch has focused on developing work environments for high involvement and continuous learning. He has instituted progressive communication processes in the workplace to promote understanding, focus and alignment. He strives to build organizational relationships that foster innovative thinking, recognition of achievement, and genuine teamwork. He co-authored the book Embracing Uncertainty: The Essence of Leadership and leadership articles in various journals.



Who is recommending the book?

Mark Gardner Transforming Leaders into Progress Makers is an engaging and practical study of the key elements of leadership and what one must do to move an organization through change and to a more successful place. By way of excellent examples, reinforced by the real life experiences of the authors, one will be exposed to what it takes to lead and move an organization to a higher level of performance. The book is written in a way that makes it hard to put down and holds one’s interests. This should be required reading for anyone who is in a leadership position and searching for a comprehensive source and guide for success in the world of business or life in general.

Mark Gardner, President and CEO of Sappi Fine Papers North America

Angela Brenton Transforming Leaders into Progress Makers: Leadership for the 21st Century will quickly become required reading for all who aspire to organizational leadership. Phil Clampitt and Robert DeKoch have crafted an insightful and practical approach to leadership development. Packed with organizational examples from their extensive business experiences, the book draws from a broad array of literature in management, science, arts and technology to explore change, innovation and other strategic leadership issues. The book is hard to put down.

Dr. Angela Brenton, Dean of the College of Professional Studies at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock

George Reed This work contains concepts and insights that advance the study and practice of leadership. It is to be celebrated equally for its humility as well as its assertions. Here there are no false claims of certainty, demonstrating that the authors practice what they preach. Instead of punctuating their work with a declarative statement of truth, they enjoin the reader to refine and explore. Yet just as we accept the caveat and invitation we should not overlook the helpful exploration that lies within this book. The authors are in search of a more sustainable form of leadership, a project that could be the next great platform of leadership theory.

Dr. George Reed, Professor, School of Leadership and Education Science at the University of San Diego

Jeanette Terry In Transforming Leaders into Progress Makers, Clampitt and DeKoch offer leaders insightful analyses of the key challenges associated with achieving tangible, sustainable progress in large, complex and often decentralized organizations. I found the chapters dealing with the Focused Flexibility Mind-Set and Enlarging the Circle of Engagement to offer particularly useful insights that I can apply in leading my firm.

The book is filled with rich and diverse business examples that challenge the reader to re-evaluate long-held “truths” about how to move an organization ahead, in spite of inevitable roadblocks along the way.

I found Transforming Leaders into Progress Makers to offer valuable recommendations and tools for addressing the quintessential leadership challenges: knowing when to invest precious resources in improving existing systems and methods, and when to take the organization into unchartered territory that offers promise, but no guarantees. Readers are led through a series of case studies and check lists that propel them along the path to achieving significant, sustainable change within their organizations.

Jeannette Terry, President and CEO of Tercon Consulting; Director of Americas for Global Leadership Alliance

Rick Fantini The increasing volatility of the business and political environments require new models to lead effectively in the 21st century. Clampitt and DeKoch go far beyond the typical tomes on leadership by providing readers with an innovative model that challenges the conventional wisdom on leadership. Transforming Leaders into Progress Makers makes a compelling argument that effective leadership in the 21st century is not a simple personality trait but a complex process of leading an organization through different phases of development and effectiveness. Clampitt and DeKoch enhance the reader’s understanding of their model by providing compelling examples of leaders who have transformed their organizations into highly effective, successful organizations; true Progress Makers.

Transforming Leaders into Progress Makers is one of the few books on leadership that will provide insight and enjoyment to the highly placed executive as well as the student who is preparing to lead in the 21st century.

Rick Fantini, Executive Vice President for Appleton Coated

Terri Pawer Phil Clampitt’s and Bob DeKoch’s Transforming Leaders into Progress Makers is an insightful examination of balance and decision making translated into tangible action. They introduce the concepts of “Calculated Boldness” along with “Focused Flexibility.” Leaders must constantly balance exploring the future possibilities for their organization with spending time on refining current, known practices. And leaders must balance the fear of the unknown for their employees with the comfort and stability of current habits. Underpinning their theory are practical tools to help leaders make the right day-to-day choices and transform themselves into true “Progress Makers.” This is a must-read for navigating these extremely uncertain times and moving your company forward.

Terri Pawer, COO of Dental City
Michael Sadoff Transforming Leaders into Progress Makers is an enjoyable journey throughout history -- from great leaders of the past to current day executives. The stories of success (Netflix) and failure (why Sears didn't become Amazon.com) lead you to reflect not only on the current structure of your organization, but the future and what other platforms might emerge. Progress Makers has important lessons for our times.

Michael Sadoff, Investment Advisor/Co-owner - Sadoff Investment Management LLC

Jim Luckman Progress Makers by Phil Clampitt and Robert DeKoch takes the reader on a thought provoking journey that encourages one to question our conventional view of leadership. At the very highest level, the authors provide a framework for thinking about how to establish the basic strategic direction through questioning how to balance the current platform vs. exploring the next competitive platform for your business. Next, they redefine your business world from a static manageable effort into a dynamic model which demands a leadership style that is fundamentally different from our current experience. Finally, the leadership model shifts from controlling the work to enabling your organization to quickly respond to the ever changing landscape. This is a great, enjoyable read with many real life examples to support the concepts.

Jim Luckman, Partner, Lean Transformations Group, LLC



Who are the progress makers?

One of the special research projects involved interviewing leaders who we deemed to be progress makers. We used three criteria to select these people:

  1. They must have assumed leadership positions over an extensive time period.
  2. They must have moved their organizations forward by both exploring and refining.
  3. They must have had extensive experience moving from one platform to another.


Vicki Wilson
Owner & President of Door County Coffee & Tea
  O.C. Boldt
Chairman of The Boldt Company
H.R. McMaster
Brigadier General
U.S. Army
click here for profile
  Ron Reed
Former Chief Education Officer of Discovery Channel
Laura Hollingsworth
President & Publisher of the Des Moines Register,
West Group President of Gannett's U.S. Community Publishing Division


Other Progress Makers Featured in the Book

A.G. Lafley Former CEO of Procter & Gamble
Albert Einstein Theoretical Physicist
An Wang Former CEO of Wang Computers
Andrea Jung Chairman and CEO of Avon
Andy Grove Former CEO of Intel
Anne Mulcahy Chairman and Former CEO of Xerox
Atul Gawande Surgeon and MacArthur Fellow
C.S. Lewis Author and Middle Ages Scholar
Cathy Fleuriet* Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness at Texas State University
Chris Fortune* Owner and President of Saris Cycling Group
Curt Herztark Inventor of the Curta Calculator
David Stern NBA Commissioner
Doug Hall Founder of Eureka! Ranch
Duncan Smith U.S. Navy SEAL
Edward Deming Founder of the Quality Movement
Ernest Shackleton Polar Explorer
Franklin Roosevelt 32nd President of the United States
Frederick Taylor Founder of the "Scientific Management" School of Thought
Freya Stark Author and Middle Eastern Explorer
George C. Marshall Former Secretary of State
George Reed* Professor of Leadership Studies
Georgia O'Keefe Artist
Gordon Moore Former CEO of Intel
H.R. McMaster* Brigadier General, U.S. Army
J.F. Kennedy 35th President of the United States
Jack Welch Former CEO of GE
Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon.com
Jimmy Wales Founder of Wikipedia
John Mackey CEO of Whole Foods Market
Jonas Salk Developer of Polio Vaccine
Laura Hollingsworth* President & Publisher of the Des Moines Register, West Group President of Gannett's U.S. Community Publishing Division
Leonard Bernstein Composer and Former Conductor of the New York Philharmonic
Mary Kay Ash Founder of Mary Kay
Mike Cowen* Chairman of Sportable Scoreboards
Nancy Thompson* Executive Recruiter
Oprah Winfrey Media Mogul
Oscar Boldt* Former CEO of The Boldt Company
Pat Summitt University of Tennessee Women's Basketball Coach
Richard Feynman Theoretical Physicist
Ron Reed* Former Chief Education Advisor for Discovery Channel
Rosalind Franklin DNA Scientist
Ruth Kirschstein Former Director of the National Institutes of Health
Sir Winston Churchill Former Prime Minister of Britain
Steve Jobs CEO of Apple (Fortune's CEO of the Decade)
Tom Boldt CEO of The Boldt Company
Vicki Wilson* Owner of Door County Coffee & Tea
Walter Wriston Former Chairman & CEO of Citibank



 Are you a Progress Maker?
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