Alain Gauthier Biography

Alain Gauthier’s current focus as an author, consultant, facilitator, educator, and coach is on evolutionary co-leadership development and collective learning as prerequisites for cultivating deep and lasting change in and across organizations. A graduate from H.E.C. (Paris) and an M.B.A. from Stanford University, he has served over the past 45 years a large variety of client organizations in Europe, Japan and North America.  He first worked as a senior associate of McKinsey & Company in Europe, then as a partner of a Paris-based consulting firm, and is currently Executive Director of Core Leadership Development and Founder of the Global Transforming Ensemble, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Over the years, he has broadened his experience from strategic management and organizational design to leadership, partnership, team, and network development, as well as organizational and societal learning. Prior to his move from France to California in early 1986, he was general manager of an international publishing firm, while developing and teaching business policy courses, and conducting research on leadership and cultural change at the Lyons School of Management.

Over the last twenty-five years, Alain Gauthier has concentrated his consulting, facilitating, educational, and coaching work on new approaches to collaborative leadership development and organizational learning issues, such as how to:

  • clarify, share and enrich an organization’s purpose, values, and vision as a prerequisite for more innovative and sustainable strategies, effective teamwork and stronger individual involvement;
  • build or reinforce people’s commitment to their work and organization, while acknowledging individual differences and approaches;
  • arrive at a systemic understanding of current reality as a basis for challenging prevailing mental models, and redesigning structures and systems to channel individual energies toward inspired collective performance;
  • engage in essential conversations on questions that matter within the organization and with its key stakeholders, using large-group dialogues such as the World Café;
  • develop creative leadership at all levels that enable accelerated individual growth, team learning, generative dialogue, and open innovation;
  • adopt a developmental perspective in growing an organization’s human capital, starting with senior executives and using state-of-the-art instruments to assess individual and organizational levels of development.

To this end, Alain conducts two major types of seminars in North America, Europe, Japan, and Africa: cross-sector leadership development workshops and in-house executive team-building sessions around shared visions and values, while challenging thinking and behavioral habits. In both cases, the approach calls for a preliminary clarification of one’s desired contribution and for an understanding of the individual and collective structures that limit people’s creative potential; it also combines systems thinking, personal mastery, and dialogue in building a shared vision of sustainable success, assessing reality, and committing to a few key priorities and ground rules.

His clients have ranged from large international corporations such as ABB, CarnaudMetalbox, EADS, Hewlett-Packard, Nissan, Shell and Sony to a number of not-for-profit healthcare and educational institutions, several large global consulting firms, medium-size industrial companies and service firms, as well as two young presidents organizations. In the last ten years, he has designed and facilitated partnership and co-leadership capacity-building workshops for teams representing the public, business and civil society sectors of more than twenty developing countries, in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and several UN Agencies, including UNICEF. He contributed to the development of The Partnering Toolbook with GAIN and the International Business Leaders Forum. Four years ago, he conducted a global survey of the most innovative leadership development programs that integrate personal, interpersonal and systemic change for leaders and other change agents who work across sectors on challenging societal issues. As founder of the Global Transforming Ensemble with other senior educators and consultants, he is currently researching and supporting new forms of evolutionary co-leadership that are emerging in vibrant communities and organizations around the world.

Alain also delivers presentations and keynote addresses on organizational learning, systems thinking, and leadership development in North America and Europe. He is a co-founder and member of the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL) in Boston as well as a co-founder of SoL France and Bay Area SoL, a trustee of Pathways to Peace, and Executive Committee member of the Club of Budapest in Paris He has recently co-facilitated with Peter Senge in Paris the SoL workshop Leading and Learning for Sustainability.

Alain has supervised and prefaced the French adaptation of Peter Senge’s highly acclaimed book The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of The Learning Organization, as well as two of its sequels: The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook and The Dance of Change – The Challenges of Sustaining Momentum in Learning Organizations. He contributed to The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook and is a co-author of four other books: Leadership is Global: Co-creating a More Humane and Sustainable World, Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transformative Leadership, The Handbook of Top Management Teams, and Learning Organizations: Developing Cultures for Tomorrow’s Workplace. Alain has designed and taught courses at John F. Kennedy University for their Organizational Leadership Program, is a visiting professor for the Master’s program in personal development and coaching at Paris II University, as well as a course designer for the Giordano Bruno Globalshift University. Although based in the San Francisco Bay Area, he devotes more than half of his time to work outside the United States.