Speech Topics

To give you an impression of the scope of John’s work, his core speech topics are outlined below. This list is by no means exhaustive; all topics can be adapted on request to fit a specific audience or industry. All topics can be offered as keynote, seminar or executive session. The level of depth depends on the length and purpose of the session, as well as the request and the composition of the group.


Core Speech Topics

Leading from the Inside Out

Leadership is about influence. John has uncovered a pattern in the way successful leaders influence others: above all, they are not afraid to take stands on their strongest convictions and they have learned to speak from the heart about what matters to them. Each of us tends to have more influence than we realize on the groups that we participate in. John explains how anyone, at every level of an organization, can learn to have a wider and more profound impact. And, whereas leadership development commonly focuses on models, examples and guidelines, John contends that the keys to truly successful leadership are self-knowledge and self-awareness. Based on his pioneering Sadowsky Method of leading from the inside out, outlined in his forthcoming book, John shows examples of people who have learned to inspire their worlds, and how we can all do it.


  • John’s unique perspective on how successful leaders lead
  • Why leadership is not a mysterious gift, but something each of us can develop by committing ourselves to it
  • Discover that you have more influence than you think and learn to exercise it
  • How you can benefit from the proven Sadowsky Method of leading from the inside out and the ASPIRE-checklist
  • How you can learn to influence others by expressing who you are and what you stand for

A Sense of Deeper Purpose: How to Build High-Performance Teams

In high-performance teams, people are on a heroic journey with a purpose. They feel that they are accomplishing something far greater than their daily tasks; they are slaying dragons, saving the world, or discovering magic elixirs. In this vein, winning leaders are often able to craft and tell the stories that supply the emotion—the sense of pride, of importance, and of deeper meaning—that spurs the group to greater heights.

John explains how the most successful leaders use stories of identity to build and maintain their teams’ cultures. John will tell you some surprising tales from companies he has worked with; groups of individuals that seem able to find deeper meaning even in the most mundane tasks. He will show how virtually anyone can use the power of collective stories of identity to align a team and foster its growth.


  • How stories of collective identity can build a culture of commitment to a higher cause
  • A step-by-step process for aligning your team around a set of shared concepts and goals

Storytelling to Make a Difference

Since the beginning of time, story has been the most powerful form of communication known to mankind, far more persuasive than logic and rational argument. John speaks about how we can all learn to use the age-old art of storytelling to influence our teams, our organizations, and our worlds. John’s pioneering Sadowsky Method of leading from the inside out teaches individuals and organizations how to use their core stories of identity—the stories of who we are, what we stand for, why we do things the way we do, and what makes us unique—to move others from indifference to engagement, and from inertia to action.

Based on his successful book The 7 Rules of Storytelling (available in French and Spanish), John will give both historical and current examples of successful storytelling leaders. He will also explain how we can all use storytelling to have a more impact on those we seek to influence.


  • Why storytelling is so powerful
  • How people have used storytelling effectively in the past and the modern day
  • The difference between authentic storytelling and manipulative storytelling
  • How to find and convey your personal stories of identity
  • How you can use storytelling to influence your teams, your organizations, your worlds.
  • How you can benefit from the Sadowsky Method of leading from the inside out and the ASPIRE-checklist

Using Personal Stories to Grow your Company

This topic covers why personal stories of identity are the entrepreneur’s most powerful communication tool, and how you can use these effectively in your professional lives. All of us can learn to use the stories of “who we are”, “what we stand for”, and “why we do things the way we do” to have a profound impact on our worlds in a myriad of ways: inspiring those around us, recruiting top employees, building a corporate culture, aligning our teams, winning clients, or raising funds.


  • An understanding of why our personal stories have such power to influence others
  • How you can find the personal stories of identity that express your true nature and passion
  • How you can improve your storytelling through deliberate practice
  • How you can use your personal stories of identity to grow your company

How to Free Ourselves from the Myths of Leadership

Leadership is one of the most studied and the least understood phenomena in history. John speaks about how distorted images, or myths, of leadership prevent us from fully developing our leadership potential. John argues that knowing these myths means that we need not be constrained by them. John will share with you persistent myths and stereotypes about leadership, which he encountered during his search for the qualities of outstanding leaders. Based on his pioneering Sadowsky Method of leading from the inside out, outlined in his forthcoming book, he then demonstrates how we can free ourselves from these myths to become more effective leaders.


  • John’s ideas about what makes leaders effective
  • What are the qualities that outstanding leaders share
  • Why society has so many myths and misguided notions about leadership
  • How you break free from the myths and become a more effective leader

Creating and Telling your Brand Story

Storytelling is the most powerful form of communication known to man, and advertisers have known this for decades. At the same time, relatively few companies and brands today use this tool effectively. John speaks about why certain brands have been more successful than others at creating and managing their e-reputation, and at building a true community of followers, often without spending vast resources.

Based on his pioneering Sadowsky Method of leading from the inside out, outlined in his forthcoming book, John explains the similarities between coaching a leader and coaching a brand, by showing how people can be moved from indifference via interest to engagement. He shows that the tools for developing and fostering an engaged brand community are accessible to everyone.


  • How successful brands craft their stories
  • What you should consider when building your brand story
  • How your brand can benefit from the Sadowsky Method of leading from the inside out and the ASPIRE-checklist
  • How to identify users, enthusiasts and influencers
  • How to engage your brand community in broadcasting your story

Opening our Minds to Issues of Cross-Cultural Business and Management

Doing business, teaching, and advising companies around the globe for more than 20 years, has shown John the importance of cross-cultural understanding in a myriad of situations, from large industrial contract negotiations to day-to-day management. Cultures have diverse notions of time; personal space; hierarchy; manners of interaction; and how work is organized and performed. In this talk, John helps you to open your mind and understand the complexity of crossing cultures. He presents a straightforward framework we can all use when managing, selling, and conducting business internationally.


  • How to better understand and communicate with different cultures
  • How to avoid classic mistakes when doing business internationally
  • Awareness of your cultural ‘decoder’ and how this effects your thoughts and behavior
  • A valuable framework for opening your mind to cross-cultural issues

Developing a ‘Systems Thinking’ Mindset for Better Management and Leadership

Leaders are people who influence groups, organizations and systems. All of us can lead in our groups, from any level of an organization, with or without formal authority. John shows you that by recognizing and understanding broader patterns of meaning, you can improve levels of engagement in your groups, break down ‘silos’, improve collaboration, encourage lateral thinking, and open doors to creativity. Based on his rich experience in coaching leaders, John contends that systems thinking is a skill that the most successful people in organizations share. He will show you how everyone can learn to benefit from systems approaches, in all aspects of life.


  • An understanding of what systems thinking is, and how it can help you understand how effective organizations work
  • How systems approaches can give you a more agile and creative mind
  • A new mindset that will transform the way you lead your groups

A Double-Edged Sword: Leadership Issues for Middle Managers

Studies have shown that the most frustrated people in the company are middle-managers. Common themes in their comments are feeling ‘stuck in the middle’, overworked and underappreciated. However, middle managers often have more influence than they think, both with their teams and their bosses, and can learn to exert that influence. John will provide a clear framework for enabling middle managers to become more engaged, appreciated and effective professionals.


  • How to recognize and use the influence that you have
  • How to define a culture and a clear purpose for your teams
  • Managing up: how to manage your boss to get the freedom and resources you need
  • "John Sadowsky is an outstanding speaker. At our Annual Conference, the audience would not let him stop talking, so we let him go on. I had never seen that before with any other speaker."
    Maurice BonazGovernor of Rotary International for the Savoye-Mont Blanc Region
  • "John Sadowsky has emerged as a voice with profound understanding of communication in the 21st century."
    Seth KahanAuthor of Getting Change Right and Expert Blogger for Fast Company