Dr. J. Stewart Black: Professor of Management Practice in Global Leadership and Strategy at INSEAD

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J. Stewart Black is Professor of Management Practice in Global Leadership and Strategy at INSEAD. He specializes in leadership, strategy, change, globalization, human capital and stakeholder engagement.

Professor Black is a co-author of the textbook, Management: Meeting New Challenges, and more than a dozen other highly regarded books, including It Starts with One: Changing Individuals Changes Organizations; Sunset in the Land of the Rising Sun; Leading Strategic Change: Breaking through the Brain Barrier; International Business Environments; Global Explorers: The Next Generation of Leaders. He has also authored over 50 articles in both managerial and academic publications, including: Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Workforce, International Business, Mobility, Personnel, Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Human Resource Management, Human Relations, Group & Organization Studies, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Asia-Pacific Journal of Management, and Journal of International Business Studies.

Dr. Black has written more than 40 cases on a variety of companies, including Apple, Black & Decker, Cleveland Clinic, Disney, Gulfstream, Honda, JetBlue, Komatsu, Motorola, Nokia, Pepsico, Southwest Airlines, Wal-Mart, and many others.

Over his career Dr. Black has worked with a variety of for-profit and non-profit organizations in all major regions of the world but has spent more than half of his career living and working in Asia. Much of his consulting has involved working with senior teams to analyze their environment, formulate strategy, and align organizational and leadership capabilities to achieve business objectives. Past clients include Alstrom, BASF, Essilor, Federal Express, Goldman Sachs, ING, IBM, Kellogg, NASA, P&G, Pepsico, Shell, Sony, among others.

Dr. Black received his Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Black started his career on the faculty at the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, Dartmouth College.  He subsequently was a professor at the University of Michigan, Thunderbird, and IMD in Switzerland.

What do you do best?

I’m reasonably adept at taking complicated issues and boiling them down to their essential elements that can make a difference in practice.

What makes you the best?

Excellence in anything is a function of some natural talent, hard work, coaching from others, and opportunity—some of which you make and some of which comes your way via dumb luck.

How will you stay the best?

When I look around at the best across many different professions who stay at the top of their game, I see a common pattern of hunger born in part out of an inner desire to improve and in part out of a natural curiosity about how to do that.

Biggest success?

My biggest success was convincing my wife to marry me despite most people (especially her family) telling her it was a bad idea.

What are your aspirations?

Personal: We have five children, so you hope that you help them build a character that will serve them well in life.

Business: I hope to eventually write a book that more than my mother buys.

Most challenging moment?

Two: When my mom had a heart attack and then a few years later when my dad also had one.

What fascinates you?

Light:  Its dual properties of particle and wave are mind bending—if I had been smarter I would have become a physicist.  

Favorite Motto:

Life is long; don’t waste it living someone else’s idea of it.

Favorite People:

My wife and my parents—constant inspirations to me.

Favorite Places:

The mountains and the beach—though not at the same time.

Favorite Products:

I’ve been an Apple fan since 1983—including for many years when it wasn’t cool to be.

Current Passions:

Skiing—having lived in Utah, Colorado, and Switzerland, I’m spoiled, but I’m not complaining.