GEOFF COLVIN

Senior Editor-at-Large, Fortune Magazine and Author, “Talent is Overrated”



Geoff Colvin is an award-winning thinker, author, broadcaster, and speaker on the most significant trends and issues impacting business and the economy. As Fortune magazine’s Senior Editor-at-Large, Geoff has an insider’s perspective fueled by long-standing relationships with the world’s top leaders in business and government.

He knows what they’re seeing, thinking, and planning and reveals how they’re leading, making choices, and responding to today’s challenges in ways that others can learn from.

In his fourth decade at Fortune, Geoff Colvin’s breadth of experience is impressive. He is one of journalism’s sharpest and most respected commentators on leadership, management, globalization, regulation, corporate governance, competition, the economy, the infotech revolution, human performance and related issues. Geoff’s regular column and frequent cover stories in Fortune have earned him millions of loyal readers. His “On Leadership” series, which appears online on Money.CNN.com, provides a compelling look at what top leaders are doing to navigate uncertain times.

Geoff is also one of America's preeminent business broadcasters. He is heard every day on the CBS Radio Network, where he has made over 10,000 broadcasts and reaches seven million listeners each week. He has appeared on Today, The O’Reilly Factor, Good Morning America, Squawk Box, CBS This Morning, ABC's World News Tonight, CNN, PBS's Nightly Business Report, and dozens of other programs. He served as anchor of Wall $treet Week with Fortune on PBS, he spoke each week to the largest audience reached by any business television program in America.

As a keynote speaker, Geoff has a knack for bringing clarity to the most important and complex issues impacting business and the economy. He has spoken for scores of corporate and association conferences on six continents including dozens of high-level Fortune conferences. His speeches pull together timely insights and strategies and are tailored to deliver relevant insights that help leaders understand what the future holds.

In addition to speaking Geoff is also a brilliant panel moderator, emcee and interviewer whose subjects have included Jack Welch, Henry Kissinger, Richard Branson, the Prince of Wales, Bill Gates, Alan Greenspan, Steve Case, Tony Blair, Michael Dell, Ted Turner, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke and many others.

Geoff is a respected author whose groundbreaking international bestseller, Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, has been published in a dozen languages. The Upside of the Downturn: Management Strategies for Difficult Times was named “Best Management Book of the Year” by Strategy + Business magazine. Geoff’s next book (due in mid-2015) is called Humans are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will. It’s based on the idea in his wildly popular article in the 2014 Fortune 500 issue – “In The Future Will There Be Any Work Left for People to Do?” It will look at the trend of technology displacing more jobs than it creates and the ways people will create value for their organizations and their careers in the changing economy. The ideas have profound implications.

A native of Vermillion, South Dakota, Geoff Colvin is an honors graduate of Harvard with a degree in economics and has an M.B.A. from New York University.

  • Economy

  • Leadership & Management

  • Innovation

  • Business Trends

  • The Business Climate

  • Government Regulation

  • Global Competition

  • Secrets of High Achievers

  • Moderator/Interviewer/Emcee

  • Which critical trends will most impact your business and the economic climate?
  • What are the best leaders and organizations doing right now to grow in uncertain/disruptive times and harness the opportunities that are always present, regardless of the business cycle??
  • What are the unexpected truths about great performance and how can organizations and individuals use them to ramp up performance?
  • What are the critical jobs skills of the future for individuals and organizations in a world where technology destroys more jobs than it creates. Hint: think empathy!

A Versatile Moderator/Host/Discussion Leader

In addition to delivering compelling and topical speeches, Geoff Colvin is brilliant at being the glue that keeps the program together. He’s played that role for years at FORTUNE magazine’s most important senior executive conferences all over the globe. He’s interviewed everyone from Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani and Jack Welch to panels of high profile executives on the most challenging and sensitive of topics. Colvin’s gift is putting the focus of your program squarely where it belongs – on the person(s) he is talking to and building an understanding of the issues being discussed. He gets the most out of the participants by asking the right questions, keeping the discussion relevant and the energy high. His work is so successful that many top firms couldn’t imagine doing an important program without calling on his talents. As an attendee at a recent conference told the event organizer, “Geoff Colvin literally made this conference.”

“Leading Ahead of What’s Next”

The whole world of business is changing in deep ways – competition, technology, government’s role, and the balance of global economic power are shifting massively. These are historic and profound changes, and they’re happening fast! Successfully navigating the tumult is every leader’s great challenge today. Geoff Colvin helps leaders meet it by bringing a unique perspective based on long-standing relationships with the world’s top leaders in business and government. He knows what they’re seeing, thinking, and planning. In addition, his own work published in Fortune, the Harvard Business Review, and his bestselling books reveals what distinguishes the most successful leaders – how they lead organizations, make choices, and respond to today’s challenges in ways that others can learn from. Colvin’s presentation is as fresh as the day’s headlines and at the same time rich with specific, profound lessons. To organizations facing extraordinary challenges; to compete and win will require extraordinary leadership at every level, Colvin explains what’s important, what isn’t, and what’s next.

“The Political Circus, a Complex Economy and the Future of Your Business”

More than at any time in memory, Washington has become the center of the action for business and the economy. Taxes, spending, deficits, health care, inflation, interest rates, regulation, energy, education – all these critical issues and more are dramatically in play, affecting your organization in deep and lasting ways. One of America’s most respected business journalists, Geoff Colvin brings you the benefit of his insider access to top government and business leaders. He slashes through the bewildering spin, separating political fact from campaign fiction and explaining what’s really likely to happen in this election year and beyond. Always engaging and energetic, Colvin explains which policy decisions from the White House, Congress, and the Fed will matter most, how they will impact business and the economy, and how audiences can make sense of it all in guiding their lives and businesses.

“What the World’s Best Companies Know/Are Doing Right Now”

Geoff Colvin has an unmatched vantage point for seeing inside the world’s most successful companies. Backed by the resources of Fortune, he identifies them, reports on them, and knows their leaders. His access provides him with an insider’s perspective. It’s shown him what separates the winners from the losers. This talk is not about a set of evergreen management principles. Colvin identifies here the specific strategies and tactics that great companies are using right now to succeed in today’s turbulent business environment. There are plenty of valuable takeaways.

“Talent Is Overrated – Real Truths of Great Performance”

What if everything you know about raw talent, hard work, and great performance is wrong? Odds are that few if any of the people around you are truly great at what they do—awesomely, amazingly, world-class excellent. But why not? Why don’t they manage businesses like Jack Welch or Andy Grove, or play tennis like Rafael Nadal, or play the violin like Itzhak Perlman? Scientific research on great performance exposes what most of us wrongly believe. Geoff Colvin, author of the groundbreaking national bestseller Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else, explains the findings and relates them to real life in real organizations. He shows how most organizations value the wrong things – how passion, honesty, and learning are more valuable than hours, IQ, or “native ability.” In an engaging, entertaining way, he demonstrates that world-class performance doesn’t come from mysterious natural gifts but rather from very specific behaviors that every organization can adopt. People and organizations that learn from these principles gain a tremendous advantage, because most are still making costly errors. The same principles used by the greatest performers can be applied by all of us – and must be, if we’re to meet the challenge of rising standards in today’s global economy.