As an Organization Designer + Researcher + Teacher, I help leaders learn how to design, build, and lead organizations that create sustainable value for multiple stakeholders: investors, customers, employees, suppliers and partners, society, and the natural environment. During the last 40+ years, I have enjoyed a wide variety of experiences working in and with commercial, non-profit, education, and government organizations in Europe, Asia, Pacific Rim, Middle East, and the Americas. Experiences have ranged from Vice President for a $1.3 billion in-vitro diagnostics manufacturer with operations in 40 countries to Director of the Monfort Institute at the University of Northern Colorado to an international consultant on leadership and design for sustainable excellence.
As an organization designer, I have collaborated with leaders to design a wide variety of organization systems and processes including leadership, strategic management, integrated product development, production systems, work placement strategies, supplier selection and certification, workforce development, performance measurement and analysis systems. As a designer of organizations and systems, my work has focused on helping leaders design, build, and transform organizations to develop three essential organizational competencies – strategic leadership, execution excellence, and organizational learning and innovation. Former clients include (selected):
AlloSource | ASTD (now ATD) Board of Directors | Boeing Commercial Airplanes | Boeing Airlift and Tanker | British Airways | Colorado Springs Utilities | Defense Depot San Joaquin | Department of Energy | Kawasaki Robotics | Kisko Senior Living | Lockheed Martin | Long Beach Unified School District | MedCentral Hospital System | Motorola Life Sciences | NAVSEA Inspector General (IG) | PRO-TEC Coating Company | Poudre Valley Health System | The Ritz Carlton | TATA Consultancy Services | TATA Sons Limited (India) | The Franklin Mint | Tripler Army Medical Center | U.S. Technology Resources | VA Cooperative Studies | Virtjoule Inc.
For me, organization design is a theory-led discipline where research and empirical evidence inform the design process. As a social scientist, my research agenda is focused on exploring the formula Leadership + Design = Sustainable Excellence. I have combined my experience and research to create flexible frameworks that help leaders reimagine, redesign, and transform their organizations. The Design Framework originally emerged from practice and was later refined using case study research methods. The Leadership Framework emerged from research with Baldrige Award Recipient CEOs and was further developed by incorporating experience and findings from additional research projects. These two award-winning, peer-reviewed frameworks form the Leadership & Design Framework that is the foundation of the Organization Design Studio™.
As a teacher, I work with graduate students (working adult executives and entrepreneurs) who are interested in gaining additional advanced knowledge, skills, and abilities that they can immediately apply in the real world. I have served in several roles in business education from a visiting professor at the University of Trieste, Italy to Executive Professor of Management at the Monfort College of Business (2004 Baldrige Award Recipient) to my current roles as Senior Faculty at Sandermoen School of Business, University of Fredericton, Canada and Faculty Member at Boston University. As the Director of the Monfort Institute, a research, executive education, and applications lab at the University of Northern Colorado developed an Executive Leadership Development program ranked #25 among University Leadership Programs in the United States by Leadership Excellence (2012). I also served on over 50 doctoral dissertation committees including as a visiting professor at Tulane University, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and Pepperdine University, Graduate School of Education and Psychology.
- [Re]Create the Organization You Really Want! Leadership and Organization Design for Sustainable Excellence.
- Organization Diagnosis, Design, and Transformation: Baldrige User’s Guide, Co-author, 5th ed.
- Organization Diagnosis, Design, and Transformation: Baldrige User’s Guide, Co-author, India edition.
Journal Articles (selected)
- How Much Does Your Organization Weigh? in INNOVATION, Journal of Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA).
- Healthcare Performance Excellence: A Comparison of Baldrige Award Recipients and Competitors.
- Leadership for Quality and Innovation: Challenges, Theories, and a Framework for Future Research.
- A Framework for Leading the Transformation to Performance Excellence Part 1: CEO Perspectives on Forces, Facilitators, and Strategic Leadership Systems.
- A Framework for Leading the Transformation to Performance Excellence Part 2: CEO Perspectives on Leadership Behaviors, Individual Leader Characteristics, and Organization Culture.
- CEO Attitudes and Motivations: Are They Different for High Performing Organizations?
- Management System Design for Sustainable Excellence: Framework, Practices, and Considerations.
- Complex System Design: Creating Sustainable Change in the Mortgage-Finance System.
- Building Bridges Between Researchers and Practitioners: A Collaborative Approach to Research in Performance Excellence.
Two-time recipient of the Gryna Award from the American Society for Quality for “authoring the paper that made the largest contribution to the extension of understanding and knowledge of the philosophy, principles, or methods of quality management during the past year.”
- 2014 Gryna Award | American Society for Quality (ASQ) | Quality Management Paper of the Year | A Framework for Leading the Transformation to Performance Excellence Part 2: CEO Perspectives on Leadership Behaviors, Individual Leader Characteristics, and Organization Culture | Quality Management Journal | 2013
- 2013 Gryna Award | ASQ | Quality Management Paper of the Year | Management System Design for Sustainable Excellence: Framework, Practices, and Considerations | Quality Management Journal | 2012
Organization Excellence Award Programs (selected)
Served as judge/examiner for a variety of organizational excellence programs in North America, Asia, and the Middle East. Also served as a member of the Baldrige Award Recipients (BAR) Consortium Leadership Team (2006- 2014).
- Expert Assessor – Sheikh Khalifa Government Excellence Award Program – Dubai, 2016.
- Judge | Colorado Performance Excellence Award (Now Rocky Mountain Performance Excellence) | 2005 – 2008
- Judge | Robert W. Carey Organizational Excellence Award (VA Healthcare) | 2005 & 2006
- Honoured Assessor | JRD (TATA) QV Award | Mumbai and Kolkata, India | 2004 & 2005
- Chair Judges Panel and Lead Judge | Army Communities of Excellence Award | 2003 & 2004
- Examiner, Senior Examiner, Alumni Examiner (9 years) and Facilitator of Examiner Training | Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award | 1996 – 2005
- Founding Member of the Executive Committee and Chair, Board of Examiners | Hawaii State Award of Excellence | 1994-1997
- Editorial Board | Chronicle of Leadership and Management | Baldrige Foundation | 2020 – Present
- Editorial Advisory Board, Quality Management Journal, American Society for Quality, 2007-2016.
- Associate Editor, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal. Volume 5, Number 1. 2011.
- Reviewer, Decision Sciences Journal, 2012 – 2015.
- Reviewer, Academy of Management Annual Conference Papers, 2014 and 2015.
- Reviewer, International Leadership Association, Annual Global Conference, 2015.
- Institutional Review Board (IRB), University of Northern Colorado, 2007-2014.
- Section Chair, American Society for Quality (ASQ) Alaska Section 608, 1993-1994.
I live at 7,300′ (2225 meters) in Monument, Colorado with my wife, Penny. We have three grown children and one grandson. We love to travel. In addition to Colorado, we love spending time in Italy, Paris, and Hawaii.
JOHN LATHAM | Ph.D., MBA | Organization Designer + Researcher + Teacher
Founder @ Organization Design Studio.com
Monument, Colorado or a Coffee Shop Somewhere Around The World