As an organization designer and researcher, I develop frameworks, methods, and tools to 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 my first adult job with the U.S. Air Force to Vice President for a $1.3 billion in-vitro diagnostics manufacturer with operations in forty countries to Director of the Monfort Institute at the University of Northern Colorado to Managing Partner of an international consultancy on leadership and design for sustainable excellence. Currently, I am the Designer and Founder of the Organization Design Studio™ Ltd. – digital learning and applications lab for organization designers.
As a designer, my work has ranged from designing a wide variety of organizational systems to aircrew inflight emergency procedures to websites and educational experiences. My organization design activities have been focused on helping leaders design, build, and transform organizations to create the organizations they really want, and society needs. Specifically, organizations that produce sustainable value for multiple stakeholders. Research and experience have produced frameworks and various tools and techniques to help leaders become organization designers. I share the frameworks, methods, and tools through various media, including practitioner books, articles and videos, and digital learning and application labs.
Over the years, I have worked with a variety of industries and clients, including (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 is focused on exploring Leadership + Design = Sustainable Excellence using a variety of research methods, including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed. I have combined my experience and research to create flexible frameworks that help leaders reimagine, redesign, and transform their organizations. The management design framework originally emerged from practice and was later refined using case study research methods. The leading transformation framework emerged from research with Baldrige Award Recipient CEOs and was further developed by incorporating experience and findings from additional research projects. For more see the conference papers and journal articles.
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
I enjoy working with graduate students (working adult executives and entrepreneurs) 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 teaching graduate-level business courses at the University of Fredericton, Canada and Boston University. As the Director of the Monfort Institute, business 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 fifty 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.
Organization Excellence Award Programs (selected)
Served as judge/examiner for various 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, UAE | 2016
- Judge | Colorado Performance Excellence Award (Now Rocky Mountain Performance Excellence) | 2005 – 2008
- Judge | Robert W. Carey Organizational Excellence Award (Veterans Affairs Healthcare) | 2005 & 2006
- Honoured Assessor | JRD (TATA) QV Award based on the TATA Business Excellence Model (TBEM) | Mumbai and Kolkata, India | 2004 & 2005
- Chair Judges Panel and Lead Judge | U.S. 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 2,225 meters (7,300 ft) in Monument, Colorado, USA, with my wife, Penny. 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
Founder @ OrgDesignStudio.com
Monument, Colorado USA or a Coffee Shop Somewhere Around the World