Our Great and Worthy Cause

is to make the world measurably more socially just, economically sustainable and culturally vibrant through cultivating the fullest potential and best possible performance of organizations and the courageous, heroic people who lead them.

We believe that successful business leaders are heroes that do more to provide for the cultural, economic and social needs of society than politics, government or public policy ever has or ever will.

Highly effective leaders understand that contributing to society is vital to the needs of their organizations. They understand that when they take care of the world, the world can better take care of them. Customers tend to prefer to buy goods and services from companies whose interests are greater than just their profits – and this makes them more profitable. Employees tend to prefer to work for companies that provide opportunities for their good work to contribute to the benefit of something greater than enriching the company’s bottom line – and by therefor attracting the more talented and highly motivated employees – their work does enrich the bottom line. And entire industries follow the lead of those companies that illuminate the future – and revolutions are borne behind industries leaders that transform markets, people’s lives and the world.

Why We Work With Who We Work With 

We choose to work with very competent, highly driven and socially conscientious CEOs and those who (mostly) lead substantial organizations –  and understand that contributing value to your community is essential to creating value for your company.

Our approach to leadership development is founded in three core principles of 1)- Contribution is a form of human intelligence; 2)  a worthy purpose is essential realizing the potential of any human performance and 3) the only measurement of performance is performance (the consequences of how we perform).  The values that support these principles are Trust, Caring, Challenge and Growth. And the transformation of organizations and the people that lead them are founded in the understanding and development of: competence, responsibility, purpose, and growth through learning.

Our Mission is based in developing heroic leaders ( heroic defined here as having the courage to take the necessary risks in order to realize the fullest potential of opportunities that make a positive difference in the world) through development of their leadership competencies – through either peer learning (Vistage CEO peer groups / accelerated learning laboratories) – and through direct work with a leader of an organization to develop the leadership thinking, tools and actions necessary to accomplish the things required to elevate that organization’s performance to it’s fullest potential.

Our approach to leadership development is inspired by and adheres to the concepts, methodologies and tools developed by Dr. Lee Thayer* over the course of fifty years of trial-based experiential learning and rigorous field testing formulated the constructs of leadership as defined in “thinking, being, doing.”  We help leaders learn to learn in a way that is generative of the kind of thinking that is required of effective leadership. The transition from how we think to what we accomplish is made of who we are – or need to become in order to execute what needs to be done. The relationships around thinking, being and doing are the critical path to one’s performance as a leader – and the key to unlocking the potential of the people that comprise and organization – and the systems with which they operate.

Growth – is about learning, and is essential to life. Adaptation is essential to survival – and adapting requires learning what we need to know in order to successfully adapt to our ever-changing world and the environments we live in, the adversity that is an inescapable fact of life – or simply the paths we choose to take – or that choose to take us. Learning is a habit that we can (and must) develop. We are all born in the learning mode – but most eventually slip into a state of knowing – and relinquish the discomfort of learning, curiosity and uncertainty- for the comfort of our sense of certainty – that traps us inside our comfort zone. To grow into an effective leader – most people must first learn how to learn again.

Competency is core of all human performance. Competence is what unlocks potential. Competencies must be learned. Competent people are the ones who get things done. Look at people who enjoy doing what they do – and you will invariably see competence beneath how they perform. High-Performance organizations are Competent Organizations. And competent organizations are led by competent leaders: people who know what they need to know to make both necessary and possible what needs to be done. Competency leads us from ability to virtuosity – from struggling to learn our part – to joyfully playing our part in life.

Responsibility is what defines the competencies we need to have to perform our roles. Responsibility amounts to the strategic distribution of problems to those who should own them, meaning those responsible and competent to solve them. Competency alone does not create successful outcomes. Results are the outcome of matching competencies to problems ( good or bad problems to have). Since people tend to do things because they can and they must – responsibility is what tends to create necessity to perform competently.

Purpose is what defines us. Purpose informs our habits of thinking and our focus, our actions and inactions and ultimately our lives. Purpose is what take us from being effective and efficient – to becoming fully efficacious – as people and as organizations. Purpose is the crux of leadership – because to guide anyone or anything requires not just a sense of direction – but an understanding of why that direction is the right direction to move in. The most successful, most competent leaders serve a purpose, they literally perform in service to their worthy cause – and the greater that cause, the more likely they are to build an organization that can achieve the aims of that cause. Lee Thayer notes that great leaders don’t “have a cause,” they are “had by their cause.”

While all these factors matter, what matters most to choosing who we work with – is their sense of purpose.

Not everyone understands the role that their purpose plays in their performance – but having a sense of what their greater purpose is – provides the foundation for all the leadership work required for building and growing high-performance organizations. There are leaders who benevolently adopt causes – many of them tremendously important causes; and there are leaders who exist because their cause gave birth to them. Some leaders are truly born – but it is what you do with what you are born with that matters. Our mission to cultivate what you have – to help you become what you ought to be.

One of our selection criteria is an exploration of purpose.  Those who wish to join the BullFrog Leadership Develop Program – and embark on the journey with us – must have a clear sense of purpose – and know “why” they do what they do.

Our own purpose is steeped in the essential relationship between Leadership and The Arts. To Learn more – please follow this link.

** see below for more about Dr. Thayer


The BullFrog Leadership Development Program (TBLDP)

The success of a leader is defined by the accomplishments of his or her organization. And the boundaries of that organization are defined by the limitations of it’s leadership.

We don’t develop leaders, we develop leadership. Leaders are simply people who  are positional within an organization. Some are born into the position, some design it for themselves – and some are elected out of popularity contests or even election processes that may or may not be based on suitability or deign to presume they are in service to anything but their own personal interests. Leader is a description confined to certain responsibilities without any directive as to how well the leader must perform his or her duties. We prefer to see leadership as a role to be performed – with absolute and measurable accomplishments that become the standards for their performance. Developing leadership amounts to adopting competencies, habits and an understanding of the roles and tasks associated with realizing one’s own fullest potential as a leader. The role of the leader is always aspirational – it is a journey that demands constant development and life-long learning. The growth of the organization will invariably depend on the growth of it’s leaders and their leadership. Leadership cannot be taught, it must be learned – just as it cannot be given – it must be earned. The BullFrog Leadership Development Program is a process of learning through guided self-discovery and observing the world through different lenses and new perspectives.

We are looking to partner with CEOs

…who are curious, purpose-driven, committed to self-learning and personal growth – and who believe they are or can be heroic leaders – to join us on a lifetime journey to make the world better.

We must be highly selective in choosing who can join TBLDP. It takes a special person, someone with tremendous drive, a competent intellect and a purpose driving them in order to commit to such a journey – and be willing and able to stay the course.  There are no quick-fixes, recipes or secret shortcuts to building High-Performance Organizations (HPOs). Like any virtuoso, their performance is not solely based on talent or understanding – but on a lifetime of dedication and practice, of sacrifice and a vision to be constantly improving – not by conventional standards – but by setting the bar higher for themselves than anyone else could set it for them. Virtuoso leaders don’t lead by convention – they lead by invention. The BullFrog Leader’s Journey is not a roadmap – but a challenge to invent the way forward – and create a future that is always better tomorrow than it is today.

A Unique Opportunity for One Outstanding Candidate

(Someone who is willing and able to commit to learning to be a leader who can build a sustainable high-performance organization: that does everything it does better than anyone else —- and improves upon that every day — to gain and adaptively maintain a sustainable competitive advantage.)

Philip Liebman, Founder and CEO of The BullFrog Group, a Fellow at The Thayer Institute – has studied directly under Dr. Thayer – to enhance his understanding of organizational performance engineering and improve his efficacy as a Leadership Performance Catalyst through the Masters Class at The Thayer Institute. To complete the Master of Leadership Arts and Sciences certification he is required to complete a Practicum that involves partnering with one CEO (and their organization) to transform the thinking, direction and quality of execution in order that they can build and grow a sustainable high-performance organization.

Accordingly, we are prepared to partner with one extraordinary CEO – to work closely with for an extended period of time – under the guidance of Dr. Lee Thayer- as the participating company in the Practicum project.

This immersive 15-month program will be performed four phases, beginning with 6-months of one-on-one weekly coaching and directed self-learning. It will provide you with a thorough and deep understanding of what it takes to transform your company into a High Performance Organization, and then be prepared to accomplish this. The following phase will be coaching involving the invention and execution of the concepts and tools and engage in the transformation of the organization to a point that the ongoing management of that process is sustainable by virtue of the changes already in place within the organization. You will become conversant in the core concepts proved in Dr. Lee Thayer’s ( see below) work with CEOs over the past 50 years, develop the required tools to execute these concepts – and work collaboratively to create an organization that is better at everything it does than any other organization – and continuously improves every day.

Addressing a core thesis at the foundation of this project is to demonstrate that performance is always driven by purpose ( or lack thereof). That the necessary habits of thinking, the competencies required, the inventiveness and elasticity of our efforts – are only possible when we have a commitment to something great and worthy. The average leader may aim for profitable growth ( and generally produces mediocre results)  – but the extraordinary leader understands that profit is the result of accomplishing what causes profits and produces world-class and aspirational results). While the average leader may try to shape people to meet the needs of their organization, the extraordinary leader develops people to their fullest potential – even when they may not recognize what that is themselves. The average company may survive tough times while the High Performance Organization thrives in the toughest of times – and tackles problems and challenges with a courageous sense of duty to needs of their great, worthy cause through the ability to chose the problems they prefer to have and solve – and create the future they want to see.

To learn more about the specific requirements and program details, please use this link.

 **About Dr. Lee Thayer and his work:

Dr. Thayer’s career as a pioneer and influential innovator in the design and development of high-performance organizations – and in the kind of leadership required of the top executives to achieve that – has spanned more than four decades. It has often been observed that he has rattled more CEO’s cages than anyone else.

Having come from a high-level executive position in industry himself, coupled with his experience as a jazz performer and arranger and his university degrees in the humanities, engineering, and psychology, Dr. Thayer has developed a revolutionary and practical framework for understanding what it takes to lead the way to creating great organizations, expressively in the “how” as much as the “why”. He and his CEO partners often have to invent the pushes and pulls required to achieve the kind of excellence that others can’t figure out how to copy.

Early on in his career, he served as consultant to several of the Fortune 500 and other notable companies, such as IBM, AT&T, Westinghouse, Boeing, Curtiss-Wright, Pratt-Whitney, McDonnell Douglas, Phillips, Shell, General Motors, Sealtest Foods and Hallmark. He has consulted with the U.S. Air Force, the Postal Service, numerous banks and other institutions, universities around the globe, and West Point.

He has consulted behind the now well-known success story at Johnsonville Foods – which Tom Peters referred to as “the most remarkable example of organizational transformation” he had ever seen.

He has taken his extraordinary problem-solving skills to the Scandinavian countries (esp. Finland and Norway), to Australia, to the UK and most European countries, and to Canada, Mexico and China. Today, he limits his work to small to medium-sized organizations where, as he says, the impact is more immediate and measurable.

His other “career” as a distinguished university professor in major universities both here and abroad (e.g., the Harvard Graduate School of Business, The University of Amsterdam, Queensland University of Technology in Australia, Universidad Complutense in Mexico, etc.) was an ongoing research project he “put up with” for thirty-five years, before “retiring” in 1991 to devote full time to his passion which, as he has described it in interviews, is

 ...to help committed CEO’s and other top executives transform themselves into leaders and their organizations into healthier, more vigorous and more adaptive high-performance organizations.

Doing so, many have observed, has brought life back into those organizations, and has lifted the quality of life of its employees, both at work and at home.