Dean Williams is the author of “Leadership for a Fractured World: How to Cross Boundaries, Build Bridges, and Lead Change” and “Real Leadership: Helping People and Organizations Face Their Toughest Challenges.”
Originally from Australia, Dean was a faculty member at Harvard University’s Kennedy School for two decades, based at the Center for Public Leadership. In recognition of his teaching he regularly received “the most influential course award.” Thousands of students have been through his courses.
At Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, he was responsible for the World Leaders Project – a research initiative that drew lessons and insights on leadership from prime ministers, presidents, and CEOs. He also chaired the popular executive education course called “The Global Change Agent Program,” where aspiring change agents from around the world gathered each year at Harvard to enhance their capacity to lead and orchestrate change. Dean has also twice served as a visiting professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore.
Dean has worked with many corporations on building leadership capacity and developing managers to be global change agents. Some of the companies he has worked with include Dunn and Bradstreet, The New York Times, Aditya Birla Group, Aetna Life and Casualty, Suncorp, M & T Bank, Amdocs, Sunway, Royal Air Cambodge, and Singapore Airlines.
He has also done considerable advisory work with governments and the social sector. He served for five years as the Chief Adviser to the President of Madagascar, leading one of the most innovative development reforms in Africa that was supported by The World Bank. In East Timor he helped build the leadership capacity of the former guerrilla fighters, the civil society and the new government and advised the President and Prime Minister during a difficult period of transition. In Nigeria he has advised and trained senior government officials on how to lead change. In Myanmar, he led a comprehensive analysis of the leadership demands and adaptive challenges facing the nation. In Brunei, over two years, Dean served as the representative adviser for the Harvard Institute for International Development, working on the reform of the civil service. He was also the chief consultant for the transformation of state educational system for Queensland, Australia. He has trained government officials and social sector leaders in Singapore, Turkey, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Mongolia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, India, Greece, The United Kingdom, Ukraine, Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico.
He earned both Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Harvard University, specializing in human development, leadership studies, and organizational change. He researched high performance work systems and innovation initiatives in a variety of different corporations, studied adaptation and change with the Penan tribe in the jungle of Borneo, and researched extensively a unique process of leadership development at the Matsushita Seikei-Juku in Japan.
He continues to work with businesses, governments, the social sector, and international institutions on building leadership capacity to respond to the demands of leading in a complex and crazy world.