Stratford Sherman serves senior leaders as a thinking partner, advisor, facilitator, and coach. Widely published on leadership and organizational change, he understands the interplay of business and human dynamics. Strat is focused on change, learning, and growth – for individuals and organizations. He works where successful execution of business plans depends on people.
Listed among 50 top coaches in the U.S., Strat co-authored “The Wild West of Executive Coaching” for Harvard Business Review. His 1993 study of the transformation of GE under Jack Welch, Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will, written with Noel Tichy, has been ranked among the 100 best business books ever written.
Earlier in his career, Strat served on the Board of Editors of Fortune magazine. As a senior reporter/writer (1977-1997), he enjoyed extraordinary access to CEOs and C-level executives of the world’s biggest companies, across a wide variety of industries, during an era of convulsive change. His role was to listen, probe deeply, understand these executives and their organizations – then crisply explain what he’d learned, in deeply-reported, fact-checked articles delivered to 900,000 readers. These skills have since proved useful in other contexts.
While learning first-hand from such extraordinary leaders as Bill Gates, Andy Grove, Jack Welch, and Warren Buffett, Strat watched companies die, jobs destroyed, and experiments fail. He also observed new technologies, businesses, and industries emerge. Increasingly, his writing focused on the fundamental question of change: What enables individuals and organizations to adapt and thrive?
By definition, adaptive organizations must master the ability to change. Early on, Strat recognized that organizational change is the sum of individual choices, made freely, one by one. The art of orchestrating voluntary commitment to shared goals requires a special sort of leadership. Discovering the nature of that leadership, and learning how to nourish it, became Strat’s life work.
By 1997, Strat had decided to stop writing about organizations and start helping them. Thoughtful and creative by nature, he is gifted at three things: learning, understanding, and communicating. Since leaving journalism, he has developed, tested, and refined unique methods, while delivering results for clients. By now, after many years, his approach is simple, extremely practical, and proven.
Along the way, Strat served as senior vice president of Executive Coaching Network (EXCN), and on the board of the Leader to Leader Institute, founded by Peter Drucker. Strat has delivered some 100 keynote addresses, facilitated scores of C-level conferences, and taught seminars about large-scale organizational change on six continents. He has appeared on “Charlie Rose,” “The News Hour,” and “Marketplace,” as well as CNN, Fox, and many other news outlets.
The diversity of Strat’s life experience informs his work. Indeed, often he is most useful to clients who are very different from him. If his adult life has a theme, it is the integration of seemingly opposed ideas.
The son of a refugee, with a Harvard B.A. in English, Strat intended to be a writer. He was introduced to business at age 23, when compelled to take operational responsibility for a collapsing family-owned company. Since then, he has strived to integrate warmth and compassion with ice-cold realism. Strat has spent most of his long career in the company of top-level business executives, launching and running two companies himself. At the same time, he has spent his adult life on the long path toward self-mastery, through meditation, aikido practice, and various forms of study. Married for thirty years, he has practiced meditation even longer.
An adventurous traveler, Strat became a scuba diver during a year living in the West Indies. He speaks French. A passionate consumer of filmed entertainment, Strat enjoys blogging about movies. His personal service has ranged from teaching meditation in prisons to volunteering with hospice patients. When he’s not commuting to Accompli’s San Francisco digs, Strat lives with his wife in a creaky Connecticut farmhouse built in 1739. They are parents of two admirable young adults.
Strat’s clientele has included Allianz, American Express, Amerigen Pharmaceuticals, AVEO Oncology, Biogen, Boehringer Ingelheim, CALA, Capital Group, Cardinal Health, CareFusion, Catalent Pharma Solutions, Cisco, Clover Health, Collegiate Academies, Comprehend, Dow Jones, Everwise, GE Crotonville, GE Healthcare, Google, Guardian Life, Hearsay Social, Herman Miller, ImmunoGen, Microsoft, MobileIron, The New York Times, OpenAI, Percolate, PlanGrid, l’université Paris Sorbonne CELSA, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and Y Combinator.