Invitation to join the Positive Organizational Leadership Project

TO:  Positive Psychology practitioners/ leaders/ consultants

FR:  Doug Gray,   

RE:  The Positive Organizational Leadership Project (POLP)


Invite practitioners/ leaders/ consultants to share digital stories of HOW they are applying Positive Psychology individually and organizationally.


  1. Leaders practice leadership.  We can all be better leaders.
  2. We can leverage technology and our communities.
  3. Relationships matter.  When we model relationships that matter, then we increase awareness and learning.


After attending  the International Positive Psychology Association conference in Montreal, Canada, in July, 2017 one theme stood clear.  Marketing and branding for practitioners using positive psychology is NOT well defined.  Market confusion abounds.  This Positive Organizational Leadership Project emerged as one initiative to help practitioners share HOW they serve clients in our global marketplace.  Join us?


(a) share this invitation broadly,  (b) schedule a 30-minute session with Doug Gray here or at   (c) receive Time Trade confirmation with calendar link (d) encourage participants to write responses to the 5-7 questions below and email them to  24 hours prior to our scheduled call so that we can each be well prepared, (e) download software and familiarize yourself with software on YouTube, (f) at the scheduled time, record 5-10 minutes of video session using  (g) send MP4 recording to practitioners for their distribution, (h) post on channel with invitation to be included in the project.

Possible questions:

  1. Self-introduction: Who are you, what do you do, where are you located, do you have a website or invitation to share with others?
  2. Self- awareness: If you have taken the assessment at, what are your top 5 signature strengths?  How would you describe yourself, at your best, using those top 5 signature strengths? (FYI, my top signature strengths are creativity, hope, perspective, honesty, zest.)
  3. Definition: One common definition of positive psychology is the science and practicing of flourishing or thriving… how do you typically define positive psychology?
  4. What attracts you to the science or practice of positive psychology?
  5. Clients: Who do you typically serve in your PP consulting work?   Please share 2-3 examples/ case studies/ successful interventions or client experiences.
  6. Trends: What trends or market opportunities do you see in the future for positive psychology consulting?
  7. Referrals: Who else can you refer me to who (a) is a Positive Psychology consultant and (b) might be willing to be interviewed in this project?

How can you help?  Share this invitation broadly.   Thank you in advance for your participation.

Here’s to you, at your best…

Nashville: A new address and 7 examples

After 7.15.14 our new address is:

3482 Stagecoach Dr, Franklin, TN  37067

704.995.6647 cell

Special Offer:  Please call for a free consultation in your Nashville area office to discuss your leaders or your business.

Why did we relocate?

1.  Personally: to support my wife’s career, and her recent promotion.

2.  Professionally:  to develop new relationships in a new geography, while continuing to provide value to clients in any geography.

Life requires adaptation to new environments.  A coaching question is:  How are you moving?

Here are 7 examples of new affiliations and movement in the last 13 months:  

  1.  The Brentwood, TN Rotary Club (a long time Paul Harris fellow) committed to “service above self.”
  2. Member of the Williamson, Inc Chamber of Commerce, in Franklin, TN
  3. The Association of Talent Development (ATD) board member in professional development (2015-15) and membership (2015-16);  created a Special Interest Group (SIG) for Consultants and hosted monthly meetings on countless topics since January, 2015
  4. Member of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)
  5. Member of the Nashville Technology Center (NTC); accepted by Launch TN grant funding program to apply for federal grant to the NIH or USDA, using consultants Mark and Catherine Henry, with mentoring from Jim Stefansic PhD, to assess the impact of telemedicine programs in rural disparities
  6. Promoted the TN-HIMSS conference in October, 2015 for healthcare leaders, Chief Technology Officers, Chief Information Officers
  7. Created and hosted monthly meetings on “Talent Analytic Trends” at local businesses, including Rustici Software, the “best technology company in Nashville” and a global leader in SCORM and Watershed, their Learning Record System; those meetings featured leaders and new technologies that are redesigning how we measure talent, careers, and human achievement.

Quite a list for 13 months in a new town.

Back to that coaching question:  How are you moving?

Call any time to discuss what is next for you, your leaders, or your business.

Who is Doug Gray, PCC?

Doug Gray

Doug Gray, PCC, is a Leadership Consultant and Executive Coach.


Coaching and Consulting Experience

Since 1997, Doug has partnered with hundreds of executive leaders in the Healthcare, Energy, Manufacturing, IT, Construction and Financial industries.  He is quick to say that he has “just enough expertise to support leaders, without too much complicating industry-specific knowledge.”  His clients agree.  Doug typically uses customized assessments to assess organizational and individual strengths.  A popular speaker and facilitator, Doug loves to facilitate experiential leadership training programs and strategic planning retreats.  His recent speaking topics include “How to Apply Positive Psychology to your Business” and “How to Increase Employee Engagement.”


Doug knows how to manage and lead teams.   Doug brings a unique background as an educator, administrator, and non-profit director to his clients. That background enables him to help leaders who are passionate and need his direct, supportive expertise.   He is regarded as an expert facilitator using Action Learning methodology.  And he will bring strategic focus, humor, and proven expertise to maximize your consulting investment.


A representative list of leadership coaching engagements and clients include:

  • CFO and 20 leaders in finance and accounting, Fortune 500 energy construction company, who needed to embrace a redesign without losing productivity
  • team of EVPs tasked with redesigning the IT needs of their F100 healthcare company
  • MD struggling with burnout who needed confidential consulting (e.g. anonymity from his employer and insurer)
  • CEO in a technology company recently promoted to replace the founder
  • President and 18 members of executive leadership team, Fortune 500 energy construction company, who needed to demonstrate alignment within 6 months
  • SVP and site managers at a nuclear power construction site who needed to increase alignment with business partners and avoid negative media
  • SVP in functional but de-centralized group who needed to assimilate 20 leaders, using action learning methodology in direct meetings, coaching, and SharePoint to drive accountability
  • Small business owner of a franchise who needed to fire an employee after 11 years of good service
  • SVP, global bank, who needed to reorganize a division
  • VP, global bank, seeking career opportunities
  • newly hired VP who needed to develop radical transformation of a functional group that required external coaching and team building leadership training using a customized app
  • Newly promoted director who lacked interpersonal skills to manage 33 people
  • Founder of an IT company who was not able to develop new business

Business/Organizational Leadership Experience

Doug has been a successful business owner since 1997; he knows the challenges and “what works.”  He co-developed the Leadership Development Institute at the University of Maryland, College Park and taught there for 7 years, and he is a former adjunct faculty member at several colleges including NC State University.  He directed a non-profit agency in Washington, D.C. for 9 years and grew it 900% while managing 120 people.  As a former world-class athlete, Doug knows that the rigor of change requires regular support from experienced consultants, plus a dash of humor.


Education and Training

Doug’s graduate research at Dartmouth College included development of an assessment to determine risk tolerance and risk aversion.  That theme of mitigating risk in business and leadership has prevailed in his continued learning from clients and colleagues in the safety, consulting, executive assessment, and leadership development industries.  He is certified in the Hogan suite, DISC, several 360’s, several EI assessments, and 5 coaching certification programs.  Since 2000, Doug has been a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coaching Federation.  A perpetual learner, he is a doctoral candidate at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Organizational Leadership.  His research interests include the effect of positive psychology on business leaders, managers, and executive coaches.


Publications and Appearances

Doug loves to share his expertise as a speaker, facilitator and a writer.  As a keynote speaker, he has addressed annual meetings, executive retreats, and nonprofit leaders.  As a facilitator, he has partnered with clients to design experientially memorable leadership training solutions that range from boot camps to strategic off-sites to contests using customized mobile apps.  As an author, he has frequently been published in journals ranging from the American Society of Safety Engineer’s Professional Safety to Financial Advisor to webinars and hundreds of guest blogs.


He is a published author of articles on leadership development, physician burnout, healthcare, analytics, safety and productivity.  Doug has published two books:  Passionate Action; 5 Steps to Creating Extraordinary Success in Life and Work (2007), and Adventure Coaching; A Guidebook for Action-Based Success in Life and Work (2006) that can be purchased here and here.


Consulting Value Proposition

“Developing smarter leaders.  Faster.”

Doug will not waste any of your time or resources.  He expects you to achieve great results.  And he always guarantees exceptional value.

Call him now at 704.995.6647  or contact us here or schedule your initial consultation here.


For biographies on other Action Learning Associates, Inc leadership consultants and executive coaches, contact us here or review the list of our partners here.  We also provide scaled solutions for any-sized organization, anywhere in the world.

How to develop Strategic Partnerships that work

Most strategic partnerships fail.  The often publicly stated reason is that there was some “inequity in resources.”  That is rubbish.   The private reason is that the potential partners did not have clear role definitions.  


Great coaches should be able to help you develop successful strategic partnerships.  Sadly, too few coaches have enough expertise to explain the following.


I invite you to adapt and forward this post.  This formula works.


Let’s imagine that two consultants agree to partner on a consulting project.  They each have something mutually beneficial to contribute.  And the net result will exceed whatever they could provide individually.  In short, they need one another.  They need a formula to define clear role definitions.


Typically there are 3 phases in any consulting project:  sales, technology/unique solution, and delivery.  (Adapt this formula as you see fit for any project or partnership, but try to keep it simple.)  Assume that each phase is worth 1/3 of the total value to the consulting project.  If the project is worth $90,000 then the sale is worth 1/3 or $30,000, the technology is worth 1/3 or $30,000, and the delivery is worth 1/3 or $30,000.


Example #1:  Assume that Matt brings expertise in sales and delivery.  Assume that Doug brings expertise in technology and delivery.


So they agree to the following formula:


Matt provides 80% the sale of $30,000 for a total of  $24,000.  Matt does not provide any direct value for the technology.  Matt provides 50% of $30,000 or $15,000 for the delivery.  Matt’s total compensation for the consulting project will be $39,000.


Doug provides 20% of the sale of $30,000 for a total of $6,000.  Doug provides 100% of the technology for a total of $30,000.  Doug provides 50% of $30,000 or $15,000 for the delivery.  Doug’s total compensation for the consulting project will be $51,000.


This formula assumes that each consultant will mutually benefit one another and their client.  


Your partnership agreements should also assume that they are beneficial to all parties.


Last week I received a proposal to partner in a new venture.  I used this formula in the following manner:


Example #2:  Tom brings expertise in sales.  Sue brings expertise in delivery.  Doug brings expertise in technology.


After due diligence and some realistic fact finding, I proposed the following formula for $300,000 gross revenue in year 1.


Tom provides 80% of the sale of $100,000 for a total of  $80,000.  Tom provides 10% of the technology value of $100,000 for a total of $10,000.  Tom does not provide any direct value for the delivery.  Tom’s total compensation for year 1 of this project will be $90,000.


Doug provides 10% of the sale of $100,000 for a total of  $10,000.  Doug provides 90% of the technology value of $100,000 for a total of $90,000.  Doug provides 20% of $100,000 or $20,000 for the delivery.  Doug’s total compensation for year 1 of this project will be $120,000.


Sue provides 10% of the sale of $100,000 for a total of  $10,000.  Sue does not provide any direct value to the technology. Sue  provides 80% of $100,000 or $80,000 for the delivery.  Sue’s total compensation for year 1 of this project will be $90,000.


Call me if you have any questions about this formula.  Or read Alan Weiss’ The Million-Dollar Consulting.  He has developed this formula and deserves any credit for its success.


Yes, my clients have used this formula.  Yes, I have used this formula.


But most people leap into a business “partnership” without using such a formula.  Hence, most businesses fail.


Do not become another statistical failure.  Hire a great coach.  Today.

2 rules for Power, Sales and Greatness

Recently I read an article that inspired me to share these 2 rules:

1. Never give power away to an event that has not yet occurred.   Humans are motivated by fear and greed, as well as faith and service. When I am slow to call a sales prospect, I am giving away my power. When I am slow to develop a new project, I am giving away my power.  Fear leads to fright, freeze, or flight.  (Those 3 ancient responses that humans share with all mammals…) Instead, I can choose to be fearless.  To live in faith toward serving others.  Why would I ever give away my power?

2. Get great.   Many people talk about great figures in history, as if familiarity is a reflection of greatness.  Some were my professors and colleagues.  That is B.S.  I have met hundreds of leadership coaches and speakers. Few of them are great people. I have had hundreds of teachers from all walks of life.  Few of them are great people.  The only purpose of human life is to get great.  Nothing else matters.  I can get great at serving others.  I can get great at loving my family.  I can get great at purposeful work.  I can get great in countless ways… Action leads to learning.

So, some coaching questions are:

1.  “How are you choosing to be fearless?”

2. ” What are you doing to get great?”

Then share your answers with an accountability partner.  If you are stuck, hire a great coach.  Today.

Last week I met a great writer.  He opened with, “Frankly, I am the best copy editor I have ever met.”  He sells fiction online.  And writes corporate copy.  And has never done anything else… He is great.  Call me if you need a great writer named Patrick.

What do you think others are saying about you and your work?

How to use mobile app contests to promote business development and cross selling

Did you know that over 90% of apps are downloaded once, then not used again?  That fact bothers me.

We have technology that enables us to BUILD relationships.  Look at the use of Linked In and internal social sites for business development.   Look at our ability to schedule tasks, and calendar priorities, and key performance indicators…  However, lazy people complain about the accountability of Salesforce or any Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.  Or they may complain that investing in technology is like investing in a money black hole, where the value is indistinct and endless.  That fear bothers me.

We use technology to build relationships.


Image of apps on any device with a browser

Image of apps on any device with a browser


Last week I met with2 attorneys tasked with generating $1.5MM annually for their  firm.  They stated, “The #1 priority for us is business development.  We talk about cross-selling.  But we rarely do it.”  Like any firm with specialized skills, they track billable time (BT) and working time (WT).

I asked, “How valuable would it be for you to develop new business with your existing clients in other practice groups throughout the firm?”

They said, “Invaluable.  If you can help us develop new business you will solve a massive problem.”

During lunch, I shared an app that I had created for them.  They downloaded it immediately.  Their comments were like popcorn:  “This is a no brainer.  We can start with our practice group.  Imagine monthly business development workshops at the larger offices.  Teams of 3-4 pay $100 to play for the day in a business development contest.  Each team member must be in a different practice group.   Corporate finance will be forced to talk with real estate, or environmental, or product liability.  Those teams will upload content throughout the day.  And answer questions based on a client case study.  And populate or CRM system on Sharepoint.  And then at 4:00 we will score the teams on a question like “Which of these teams is most likely to generate new business for our firm?”  Recurring monthly business development workshops.  Facilitators in the conference room for scheduled BD sessions.  Technology designed to build relationships.”

What is the value to you and your company?  $500,000 in new services?  $1MM?  More?

We provide business development consulting expertise, and customized technology that forces your team to use technology to build relationships.

Why wait?  Call us today at 704.895.6479.