As an organization designer, researcher, and educator, I develop frameworks, methods, and tools to help leaders design, build, and lead organizations that create sustainable value for multiple stakeholders, including customers, employees, suppliers and partners, investors, society, and the natural environment. My approach to organization design is holistic and systems-based addressing the multiple aspects of the organization that influence stakeholder behavior including structural elements (systems, strategy, scorecard), culture (rituals, symbols, and heroes), and leadership (intent, activities, and style).
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, the Pacific Rim, the 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 over 40 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, the founder of the Organization Design Studio® a digital learning and application lab helping leaders learn how to [re]design and [re]build the organizations they really want and society needs.
Design work has ranged from designing leadership and strategy (guidance) systems to customer, operations, and supplier/partner (value creation) systems to the workforce, measurement, and analysis (enabler) systems. My design work is informed by multiple disciplines, including systems theory and thinking, design thinking, organizational excellence models, stakeholder theory, leadership theory, sustainability, anthropology, as well as the organization and country culture. Research and experience have produced frameworks and a variety of tools and techniques to help leaders become organization designers. | blog | books | studio
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 | U.S. Department of Energy | Kawasaki Robotics | Kisko Senior Living | Lockheed Martin | Long Beach Unified School District | MedCentral Hospital System | Motorola Life Sciences | U.S. Navy 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 combination of organizational design and leadership to create sustainable value for multiple stakeholders. I use various research methods, including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed, to produce insights into what works, what doesn’t work, and under what conditions. | research | papers | presentations
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.”
- 2013 Gryna Award | ASQ | Quality Management Paper of the Year | Management System Design for Sustainable Excellence: Framework, Practices, and Considerations | Quality Management Journal | 2012
- 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
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) and Graduate Faculty at Boston University, to my current role teaching graduate business courses at the University of Fredericton, Canada.
As the Director of the Monfort Institute, a 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). 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.
Organization Excellence Award Programs
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 (U.S. 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, Site Visit Leader, 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 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, Philadelphia, 2014 and Vancouver, 2015.
- Reviewer, International Leadership Association, Annual Global Conference, Barcelona, 2015.
- Institutional Review Board (IRB), University of Northern Colorado, 2007-2014.
- Section Chair, American Society for Quality (ASQ) Alaska Section 608, 1993-1994.
Current home base is at 2,225 meters (7,300 feet) at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Monument, Colorado, United States.
JOHN LATHAM | Ph.D., MBA | Organization Designer | Email