Representing Today's Visionaries with Tomorrow's Ideas

Jeffrey Pfeffer


Jeffrey’s new book, Leadership BS: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time (HarperCollins, 2015), was named a finalist for the 2015 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year

Member of the Thinkers50 list of top management thinkers, also known as the “Oscars of Management Thinking,” since 2011

Named one of the World’s 50 Best Business School Professors by Poets and Quants!

praise for Jeffrey Pfeffer

“Brilliant! He should speak for hours.”

“Everyone was mesmerized-not a peep in the audience!”

“Spectacular! Tangible examples of success made his message convincing.”

Jeffrey Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University where he has taught since 1979. His research focuses on power and leadership in organizations, economics language and assumptions, barriers to turning knowledge into action, and evidence-based management.

He has authored or co-authored fourteen books and over 100 articles, including his most recent book Leadership BS: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time (HarperCollins, 2015), which was named a finalist for the 2015 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year. He has been named to the Thinkers50 list of the top management thinkers since 2011 and has been recognized as one of the world’s 50 best business school professors by Poets and Quants.

In addition to his work at Stanford, Pfeffer has taught at Harvard Business School, the University of California Berkeley, London Business School, and the University of Illinois.

A gifted and engaging speaker, Pfeffer has spoken and consulted for Fortune 500 corporations in over 34 countries. He has served as a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Time, and The Washington Post and currently writes a bi-monthly column exclusively for Fortune and He has also appeared in segments on CBS Sunday Morning, 60 Minutes, and CNBC.

Pfeffer received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University and his Ph.D. from Stanford.

Knowing-Doing – or Turning Knowledge into Action and Getting Things Done

Companies have spent millions of dollars building intranets and collaborative tools to capture and share knowledge, under the assumption that in a world in which intellectual capital is increasingly important, the company with the best knowledge management system wins.  The underlying assumption is right—intellectual capital and knowledge work are increasingly important.  But knowledge that isn’t turned into action is about as bad as action that is not informed by knowledge.

This talk focuses on the strategies for overcoming the knowing-doing gap to build a culture of implementation – and management practices that can create a company that learns from its experiences.


Building High Performance Organizations and Cultures 

The data are clear: success does not come from mergers and consolidations to increase size, from being in high technology, from being in the “right” industry, or even from being first to market with an idea. Instead, studies of companies in numerous industries ranging from automobile manufacturing to semiconductors, and research in countries including the United Kingdom, Korea, and Germany demonstrate the strong correlation between success and how companies manage their people, profits, productivity, and customer and retention.

This talk focuses on the essential elements of high performance or high-commitment work arrangements: why these practices are effective and what this means for building management systems and organizational culture.


The Paths to Power

Although power is a word that sometimes has negative connotations in organizations, building power and influence is what effective leaders do and is essential to getting things done.  Decades of research have uncovered the most effective ways of building and exercising influence, and the dilemmas and choices people face along the way.

This talk answers such essential questions as:  When is power and influence more important for getting things done? What are the individual attributes associated with being influential, and how can these be developed? What are some effective strategies and tactics for obtaining and using power? and What are some pitfalls to those in positions of power, and how can these be avoided?  The talk will help leaders at all levels and in all types of organizations develop their observational skills and their ability to analyze and exercise influence effectively, and to think constructively about power and its use in getting things done.


Managing In Tough Times:  What Companies Have Done Right, and Mostly Wrong

The most typical response to the difficult economic environment of the past few years has been to cut costs and retrench.  There have been layoffs, cutbacks in new product and new expansion initiatives, and attempts to outsource more and more activities.  But these moves have seldom considered what the feedback effects will be.

This talk will help organizations recognize that tough times present the best opportunity to gain ground on the competition, and the lessons that can be drawn from acting on those opportunities.


Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense:  Profiting From Evidence-Based Management. 

Many organizations decide what to do based on the past experience of senior leaders, ideology and belief, and the casual benchmarking of other companies.  But none of these methods represents effective decision making.  Indeed, many companies have ignored massive amounts of evidence that speak to questions such as, the effectiveness of stock options and incentive compensation, or whether “winning the war for talent” is possible or even desirable.  The fact that knowledge about what works and why is used so infrequently provides an opportunity for information arbitrage (similar to financial arbitrage) in the management of companies.

This talk will focus on how companies can employ “evidence-based management” to execute decision processes that will uncover and confront the hidden assumptions that enable leaders to lead more effectively.


Power: Why Some People Have It – and Others Don’t




Jeffrey’s presentation at Stanford

Jeffrey’s presentation at Google



companies must accurately diagnose problems


if power is so simple, why is getting it so hard?