Cy Wakeman is a drama researcher, global thought-leader, and New York Times best-selling author who is recognized for cultivating a counter-intuitive, reality-based approach to leadership. Backed by 20 years of unparalleled experience, Wakeman’s philosophy offers a new lens through which employees and executives alike, can shift their attention inward, sharpen their focus on personal accountability, and uncover their natural state of innovation simply by ditching the drama.
Deemed “the secret weapon to restoring sanity to the workplace,” Wakeman has helped companies such as Google, Facebook, Viacom, Uber, NBC Universal, NASA, Pfizer, Johns Hopkins, Stanford Health Care, Keurig Dr. Pepper, AMC Theatres, White Castle, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and countless others learn to navigate our rapidly changing world using good mental processes to harness energy wasted in workplace drama and reinvest that effort into achieving profound business results.
As a highly sought-after conference headliner, Cy Wakeman holds a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation from the National Speaker’s Association, placing her within the top 3% of speakers. She’s a regular contributor on Forbes.com, Success.com, The Huffington Post, and Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global. She’s been featured on the TODAY Show, the AskGaryVee Show with Gary Vaynerchuk, Cheddar TV, The New York Times, Business Insider, The Daily Muse, SHRM.com and many more. Voted in the top 100 leadership professional to follow on twitter for 7 years in a row, Wakeman also came in at #23 on the Global Gurus 2019 list of top 30 Leadership Professionals around the world.
Wakeman has published three books, the latest of which is No Ego: How to Cut the Cost of Drama, End Entitlement and Drive Big Results (2017). Cy also hosts her own No Ego podcast, a Facebook Watch show, Life’s Messy, Live Happy, and adds weekly video content on YouTube to address leaders’ biggest challenges in the workplace.
Session length: 45 minutes
Most leadership philosophies are grounded in two completely faulty assumptions — “change is hard” and “engagement drives results.” Those beliefs have inspired expensive attempts to keep change from being disruptive to employees. What these engagement programs actually do is create and reinforce feelings of victim-hood and leave employees unprepared to adapt to real changes that are necessary for the health and profitability of their enterprises. Rather than driving performance and creating efficiencies these programs fuel the Emotional Waste, Entitlement, and Drama that drags down organizations. This is backwards. And expensive.
Over the past three years, Reality-Based Leadership, in partnership with the Futures Company, conducted proprietary research in our client organizations such as Cisco, Medtronic, New York Presbyterian, The Nebraska Medical Center and Bayer. The findings affirm what we’ve observed in our 20+ years of experience doing Reality-Based work in hundreds of organizations: when employees indulge in distracting drama, learned helplessness, low accountability, lack of self-awareness, and ego-driven behavior it comes at a significant cost to their organizations. We now know it can easily consume up to three months per year of each employee’s time — potentially billions of dollars annually in the U.S. alone. That's the Drama Quotient.
At Reality-Based Leadership, we propose a radically different approach to leadership. Changing the ways leaders think and the strategies they use in their work is a serious and critical economic issue. A leader’s role shouldn’t be — cannot be — to motivate employees. That is a choice employees make. Instead, a leader helps others develop the great mental processes they need to eliminate self-imposed suffering and choose to be accountable for driving results.
It is time to redefine leadership with science and research, to teach leaders strategies and tools that will actually work in their modern workplace. Leaders and organizations deserve to have a new understanding of what greatness looks like and how it can be fueled. No Ego delivers that call to greatness for all. It provides the roadmap to thinking differently about leadership and employee roles and actually delivering results, not in perfect circumstances but in today’s world.
Session length: 90 minutes
We are certainly in challenging times in our business world today. We have been in challenging times in the past and we will be faced with challenging times again at some point in the future. Here’s the reality check - The fact that times are challenging is not the source of our pain. The source of our pain is the absence of great leadership based in reality.
We must become willing to admit that our way of leading is simply not working – not creating the results or the quality of life that we would like. These times are calling for a new type of leader. We need leaders who are willing and able to recreate mindsets - their own and the mindsets of others - in order to change circumstances and lead in a new and revolutionary way.
A Reality-Based Leader is one who is able to quickly see and radically accept the reality of the situation, conserve precious team energy, and use that energy instead to impact reality. Better yet, a great Reality-Based Leader anticipates the upcoming changes and capitalizes on the opportunity inherent in the situation without drama or defense.
Session length: 90 minutes
For over 30 years, leaders have been taught how to soften hard news to reduce resistance and get “buy-in” to key strategic initiatives. Perhaps you’ve felt compelled to apologize for “all the change” that constantly rocks your organization. You’ve spent hours perfecting a process to approach, communicate and reinforce a new process, project or work situation, and yet our teams are at times battle fatigued, remaining unaligned with overall strategic objectives and ill-prepared to deliver on organization goals of the near future.
Resistance to change is among the top five generators of drama and emotional waste, and according to our research, it adds up to almost 2.5 unproductive hours per day per employee. To this, I issue a new call to greatness for readiness, which can be achieved by debunking the change myths that have fueled the need to sympathize with and coddle employees, preventing readiness for change.
So, what’s next? How can leaders stop making change least disruptive to their people and instead deliver up ready, willing and able teams who ensure that change is least disruptive to the business? How can leaders move their teams beyond surviving change and call their teams to thrive in changing times and fuel innovation? Abandoning “change management” and focusing on “business readiness” gets people fluent in the now and ready for what’s next – vital to creating and sustaining great results.
This high energy session will reveal the modern leader’s role to deliver teams and talent that are ready for what’s next. Leaders will walk away with simple tools and practical strategies to ensure their teams are able to greet change with a “good to know,” quickly adapt, and deliver on the needs of the organization to meet the competitive demands of the market and customers. After all, change isn’t hard – it’s only hard for the unready.