He’s a skydiving instructor and an American retired Brigadier General who has over two decades of experience in leadership roles on four continents. He’s a highly respected author, scholar, and educator who integrates his personal experiences into the first-hand study of leadership—and creating broader impact.
I am personally thrilled to announce that Thomas Kolditz will receive the 2017 Warren Bennis Award for Excellence in Leadership at Linkage’s Global Institute for Leadership Development® (GILD). Established by the Linkage team in 1999 to honor Bennis’ legacy, this Award honors a recipient who demonstrates courage, endurance, capability and success in his or her field and is an inspiration for current and aspiring leaders. Bennis, known fondly as the “Dean of Leadership Gurus,” co-founded Linkage’s GILD 21 years ago. He was an exemplary leader who practiced, studied, wrote about and taught leadership for decades. Each year we invite a new Award winner to address the 500 senior leaders who attend from around the globe.
This year’s recipient couldn’t be more deserving of this recognition. After more than 25 years in leadership roles, including heading up leadership training at Yale and West Point and authoring the highly acclaimed In Extremis Leadership: Leading As If Your Life Depended On It, Tom’s most recent venture is helping to equip undergraduate students at Rice University for real-world leadership as the founding Director of the Ann and John Doerr Institute for New Leaders.
The Doerr Institute is a four-year, customized learning experience designed to provide all students at Rice, regardless of their major, with the skills, training and confidence to develop their leadership skills—and ultimately make a measurable difference in the world. The program emphasizes real-world leadership opportunities and strives to combine proven, timeless techniques with modern next-generation practices. Since its inception in 2015, 25% of the student population have engaged with the program.
“Most of a person’s capacity to lead is learned,” Kolditz said. “Seventy percent of that is gained through experience, not classrooms, so the opportunities to lead teams at Rice are essential to the success of the Doerr Institute,” he said. “Self-reflection also has a significant impact, so it’s important that students are matched with professional coaches who can shape and enable them to ask thoughtful, analytical questions about their goals and performance.”