Co-Founder, Management Lab, Corporate & Organizational Structure Expert
Speaking Style: Energizing, Engaging, Actionable, Impactful
Travels From: New York
Fee Schedule: 2, 3
For more than 20 years, LaBarre has used her writing, business consulting, and speaking to help organizations unleash and organize human potential in ever more powerful ways.
Polly is a co-founder of the Management Lab, a “think-and-do” tank dedicated to rebooting management for the 21st century. Along with her partners at MLab (pronounced “M-Lab”), Polly has developed a pioneering method and platform for changing how large organizations change. They run large-scale, real-world experiments in “hacking management” to build the deep organizational capabilities crucial for thriving in a creative, disruptive world: adaptability, innovation, and inspiration.
In addition to running global “management hackathons,” MLab has also built the Management Innovation eXchange (MIX), the world’s largest community of management innovators, created a clearinghouse of management hacks and innovation stories, and launched a series of events.
Polly has traveled the world to study and work with the courageous contrarians, management mavericks, and pioneering progressives who are inventing the future of organizations and business. While these are organizations of every stripe that hail from every realm of endeavor, they do share a common credo: that all change is against the rules; that the future belongs to the mavericks, the misfits, and the heretics daring enough to stand up to the status quo; that inspiring, unleashing, and amplifying human creativity, passion, and resourcefulness is the most important work of all; that the most winning organizations are animated by an utterly distinctive and deeply-felt point of view – a set of ideas with the power to fundamentally reshape the sense of what’s possible; that work is personal, values rule, freedom is a bigger game than power, and nobody wins unless everybody wins.
Early in her career, Polly was part of the founding team of Fast Company magazine. There she played a central role in the remarkable success of a magazine that recast the conventional wisdom on power, competition, work, leadership, innovation, and change. The magazine introduced the world to a new universe of organizations and leaders whose management models were as distinctive as their business models were disruptive.
Polly is the co-author of the award-winning book Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win, which was a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and BusinessWeek bestseller. Published in over 20 territories, Mavericks was a “Business Book of the Year” for the Financial Times, the Miami Herald, and The Economist, which called the book “a pivotal work in the tradition of In Search of Excellence and Good to Great.” CNN, CNBC, and GMA all created series around the book.
Polly’s writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including Fast Company, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review online, Fortune.com, the McKinsey Quarterly, and she has served as business and innovation correspondent for CNN.
A MAVERICK AGENDA FOR INVENTING THE FUTURE
How to disrupt like an insurgent
When the world stands still, size, strength, and stability offer an advantage. But in a world of relentless change, it’s the most creative and disruptive organizations that win. The challenge: most organizations are programmed to safeguard the status quo. So, how do you unleash your organization’s inner insurgent? How do you build a company with the drive to disrupt the status quo and the capacity to change ahead of change? Polly unpacks a set of actionable strategies drawn from her research and work inside some of the world’s most successful and innovative organizations. Audiences learn a completely new mindset for changing the way they change.
The end of leadership as we know it
The era of the heroic, all-knowing, all-powerful leader is over. Leadership is no longer a function of your title or where you sit in the organization. It’s a function of your capacity to get things done with other people. In this presentation, Polly shows what this actually looks like in practice at bold and successful organizations that have transformed their leadership mindset and reaped the rewards. She offers fresh and practical approaches using vivid storytelling. You’ll walk away understanding the most important things you need to do to “leader-proof” your organization.
TURN YOUR COMPANY INTO A LAB
Creating a culture of everyday, everywhere experimentation
Catching the future depends less on planning for what will come next and more on continuously experimenting with what could come next. In order to innovate and adapt in this creative, disruptive economy, every organization must develop the capacity (and the appetite) for experimentation and even failure. Despite the life or death stakes, this is not natural behavior for most organizations. Polly shows how the best companies today manage this. Her rich stories and practical perspectives and practices show how you can spread the mindset and methods of experimentation. Audiences leave knowing the five strategies for turning their organization into a lab for perpetual innovation.
THE HUMAN EDGE
Unleashing the most powerful force in business
For every leader unsettled by rampant disruption, unbounded competition, relentless commodification, there is a powerful antidote already inside the organization: the untapped audacity, imagination, energy, resourcefulness, curiosity, intuition, and artistry of its people. Those fundamental human qualities are the engine of the creative economy – the source of all value. And yet, too few organizations are designed to unleash, mobilize, and amplify that human edge. In this presentation, Polly takes audiences on a journey to the far front edge of organizational life and offers a look deep inside the “positive deviants” gaining advantage from their human edge. The lessons Polly draws from their success will inspire organizations looking to transform their cultures and position themselves for the future.
THE MIND OF THE INNOVATOR
Make creativity a habit and become an innovator-for-life
If you want to create the future of your organization, your industry, or your profession – there’s no better place to start than supercharging your own creative capacity. The good news: we are all born with some kind of creative genius. The tough news: as we advance through our achievement-oriented, data-driven institutions – we tend to grow out of our creativity rather than into it. In this captivating presentation, Polly will introduce the core creative mindsets and habits that set the greatest artists, inventors, and creators apart. She’ll share a wealth of strategies and portable practices to help you see more, see differently, find answers in the most unexpected places, experiment fearlessly and tap into your powerful intuition. The goal: to help you turn creativity into a way of life.
- Aerospace Industries Association
- Fast Company
- Farm Credit Services of America
- The New York Times
- Wall Street Journal
- Harvard Business Review Online
- Mckinsey Quarterly
“Polly hit it out of the park. She was warm and well received. Attendees loved how she kept the concepts simple and digestible. We loved having her.” – Senior Director, HireVue
“She is truly gifted in making connections and keeping all engaged.” – Business Specialist, Baldrige Performance Excellence Program
“We could not have had a better presentation to close out our Wednesday session. Your insight on innovation in the workplace as well as how we can better incorporate innovation into our core company DNA was a hit!” – President and Chief Executive Officer, Aerospace Industries Association
“I had high expectations, but you completely exceeded them! You were absolutely brilliant on all fronts: content, delivery, timing, storytelling, and more. Everyone I talked to cited your talk as the highlight of our conference.” – CEO, Perkins+Will
“Polly was FABULOUS!!! Articulate, provoking, exciting, strategic, practical, humble…a good representation for women!!! Everything I was hoping for. I would recommend her!” – Vice President, Farm Credit Services of America
“I would like to tell you that the Planetree audience loved your presentation! Great job! I heard comments that you were the best keynote we have ever had by far! Thank you again for the presentation and also meeting with our staff afterwards. It was sensational!” – Chief Creative Officer, Planetree
“Thanks so much, Polly was a HUGE hit. We couldn’t have asked for a better suited speaker. So much so that a lot of our attendees are asking for the video footage of the day so they can re-watch it.” – Director of Marketing, Vision Critical
“Thanks so much for coming to Santa Barbara for our NBC retreat. You were both energetic and inspiring – and, trust me, I would have been thrilled to have one or the other! You gave us a lot to think about and you set the perfect tone for a lot of the issues that are facing us right at this moment.” – Chairman, NBC Entertainment
“Thanks again for speaking at our Women’s Leadership Forum. Your remarks made quite an impact with our younger leaders, in particular. I spoke with several of them later and they were so energized by your talk, they are off implementing change!” – Vice President, Narrowband Communications and Program Manager, Lockheed Martin
“Polly was the perfect addition to our conference. Her keynote was the ideal complement to those that both preceded and followed her. She was very approachable, engaging and a true pleasure to work with – both for the accompanying speakers and the technical and production teams. The rave reviews continue to roll in.” – Regional Vice President Marketing, INFOR
“Many thanks for the session you ran for us on Friday. As you could tell – it was energizing and fun and I really think it helped to move the ball forward for us. Not only did it surface some great ideas we can adopt immediately but we learned how to hack problems and opportunities which I hope will become part of our DNA!” – Sarah Dunn, Global Human Resource Officer, COACH