Jon Gordon may very well motivate you when he speaks tomorrow at the Victoria Theatre — but don’t call him a “motivational speaker.”
“That’s not what I am,” Gordon said in an interview Monday. “People often want to lump you in that category.”
His arena is “leadership.”
An author of 15 books and noted leadership speaker, Gordon will be at the Victoria Wednesday, as part of the University of Dayton Center for Leadership speaker series.
“My main core work is about developing positive leaders, helping leaders be positive leaders and helping to build great teams,” he said.
His clients have included the Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Dodgers and Rams, Clemson football — and businesses like Southwest Airlines, Northwestern Mutual, Publix supermarkets and many others, including Fortune 500 companies. He has also worked with the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
“I’m also passionate about schools,” he said. “I really try to transform the school district from a negative place to a positive environment where people can do their best work.”
His presentation is called: “10 Rules To Fuel Your Life, Work & Team With Positive Energy.”
His books include best-sellers such as The Energy Bus, The Carpenter, Training Camp, You Win in the Locker Room First and The Power of Positive Leadership.
One of his animating ideas seems to be: There’s little point in pessimism.
“You’re not going to be a great leader if you’re pessimistic,” Gordon said. “There’s an optimism and belief that leaders must have.”
He also touches on the power of culture and how culture can permeate everything in a team’s or organization’s environment.
“Culture drives everything,” he said.
But he has no “magic bullets” or miracles on offer, he cautioned.
“I spoke to the Cleveland Browns two years ago,” he recalled with a laugh. “I didn’t help them very much.”
“Love and accountability” are the keys, as he put it. He recalled a conversation with Alan Mulally, former president and chief executive of Ford Motor Co. “Jon, you got to love ‘em up,” he said Mulally told him.
Gordon throws out another caution. He challenges his listeners and readers, he insisted. “This is not polly anna. This is not rah-rah. These are real principles that make great leaders great.”
For tickets and information on Wednesday’s event, visit https://victoriatheatre.com/shows/jon-gordon/
The speaker series is a partnership between the UD Center for Leadership, the Dayton Development Coalition and the Victoria Theatre Association.