Dr. Geoff Smart Chairman & Founder of ghSMART, New York Times bestselling author of Who, Leadocracy, and Power Score, and the most popular public speaker on the #1 topic in business.
Geoff’s professional mission is to help leaders hire and develop talented teams that deliver results.
Geoff is Chairman & Founder of ghSMART, a leadership consulting firm whose Credo begins, “We exist to help leaders amplify their positive impact on the world.” The firm was named one of the "world’s top firms" in Broderick’s The Art of Managing Professional Services, and was profiled in Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto, Tom Peters’ The Little Big Things, and George Anders’ The Rare Find. ghSMART is the subject of two Harvard Business School Cases, titled "ghSMART & Co.: Pioneering in Professional Services."
Geoff is co-author, with his colleague Randy Street, of the New York Times bestselling book Who: The A Method for Hiring. Shanghai Daily named Who a "Top 5 Business Book in China" and Canada's Globe and Mail named it the "#1 Best Business and Management Book of 2009." Geoff is author of the Wall Street Journal bestsellers Leadocracy: Hiring More Great Leaders (Like You) into Government, which won the 2013 IPPY Gold Medal for Best Business Book of the Year, and Power Score: Your Formula for Leadership Success. In the 1990s, Geoff co-created the Topgrading brand for talent management.
As a social entrepreneur, Geoff is the Founder of two 501c3 not-for-profit organizations. SMARTKids Leadership Program™ provides a customized program of 10 years of leadership tutoring and a $100,000 scholarship to top students with leadership potential from low-income communities. Second, The Leaders Initiative™ seeks to elevate humanity by identifying, developing, and deploying society's greatest leaders into government. Geoff and his ghSMART colleagues volunteer as leadership advisors in the fields of education, public health, and government. Geoff has also served as Leadership Advisor and Chief Talent Officer for the State of Colorado, a 33,000-employee, $24b organization.
Geoff earned a B.A. in Economics with Honors from Northwestern University, an M.A., and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Claremont Graduate University, where he was mentored by Peter F. Drucker. Geoff was elected to Sigma Xi, the honorary society for holders of doctoral degrees, and is a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).
What do you do best?
Hire talented teams.
What makes you the best?
I always felt that “who” was on a team was the most important thing that led to its success. So I earned a Ph.D. in Psychology, studying hiring and leadership under Peter Drucker at Claremont. Then I founded my firm ghSMART, which I started in my grad school dorm room. We help leaders amplify their positive impact on the world. The firm has grown to 10 offices across the U.S. over 20 years. We advise Fortune 500 CEOs, all 10 of the 10 biggest private equity firms, 12 billionaires, and 3 sitting U.S. Governors, on their top leadership challenges. The firm has been called tops in the industry of leadership consultants, and we’ve gotten shout-outs from Tom Peters, Business Week, Broderick in her book Art of Professional Services: Lessons from Top Firms, in Pete Peterson’s memoir American Dreamer, in Atul Gawande’s Checklist Manifesto, and a bunch of other happy clients and fans.
How will you stay the best?
By continuing to do learn from my clients and colleagues, and do research and write books and give talks. Our first book, Who, is #1 on amazon in the category of “hiring.” Our second book, Leadocracy, won the IPPY Gold Medal for business book of the year. Our third book, Power Score, just hit The Wall Street Journal bestseller list as a top 10 business book.
What are your aspirations: business & personal?
Personal: To be an awesome dad. I have 4 kids and we love to cook, travel, and ski together. My 8 year old daughter makes a “Hershey’s Chocolate Chicken” dish that is to die for.
Business: To guide ghSMART’s consulting business to beat Bain as the best place to work, and clear $100m+ by 2025 with a global footprint, and launch a software products business that achieves that same scale of impact in the same time frame.
What fascinates you?
How people go through their lives without a sense of purpose or plan. Just sort of gliding through the misery. Gallup says only 12% of people love their jobs. That’s a freaking pathetic statistic. I love to help more people love their jobs, and to find their ideal path in life.
If you can dream it, you can do it.
Aside from family and friends, Peter Drucker (for being a tough mentor), Marshall Goldsmith (who taught me about advising CEOs), and Wendy Kopp for having the guts and vision to found Teach for America.
Eze, a mountaintop fortress town in the South of France. La Jolla. And Vail Colorado.
I don’t obsess over products. I prefer to focus on relationships and experiences. But I guess I appreciate the iPhone, Whole Foods (for their conscientious capitalism mission and delicious breakfast burritos), and air conditioning.
Dining, doing fun activities, and traveling with my 4 kids, my significant other, and her 3 kids. Blending families seems hard but this has been a really enjoyable process so far. I’m also passionate about learning about digital technology, predictive analytics, and making “machines” work for me and my colleagues right up until the singularity happens in 2045, at which point we’ll all be working for the machines.