Welcome to Leading Smart. I’m Chris Williams [CLWill] and I’ve spent years leading teams, studying organizations, and consulting with executives. My life’s passion is understanding how to manage and lead in the Brainpower Age.

Leading people is hard. Leading people when they mostly work with their brains is the most difficult challenge most managers will ever face. The work is hard to track, feedback is always subjective, and most of the tried and true HR tools just don’t work.

That’s where Leading Smart comes in. Here you’ll find lots of resources to help you manage in the new Brainpower Age. From short essays, a podcast, videos, and an upcoming book, there will be plenty of practical help and advice on how to be a better leader, to build better teams.

Welcome, I’m glad you’re here.


On Time

The flop sweat caught me off guard. Driving to a doctor’s appointment, I was running just a couple minutes late. Yet I was filled with panic and driving like a jerk, darting from lane to lane and cursing people for driving too slowly. This for an appointment I was paying for, and where I’d likely …


Coming very soon to your favorite podcast app will be the Leading Smart podcast.

I’ve been fortunate enough to know and work with some of the smartest people in the world. I learned immensely from them, and I want you to learn from them too.  That’s where the podcast comes in.

I’ll be sitting down with experts in an array of disciplines and industries to learn as much as we can. We’ll talk through the many issues leaders face in the Brainpower Age. How did they get where they are today? What does it take to build a team that is successful? How do they manage those teams when the goals are soft but the deadlines are hard?

These same challenges exist across a broad range of disciplines and industries. Whether it’s in the corner office, the classroom, the courtroom, or the studio, the challenges of managing teams of smart people are many.

I have a million questions, I’m sure you do too. Stay tuned for the Leading Smart podcast and we’ll try to ask them all together.


I’m writing a book, tentatively called Out of Control?! It’s based on my years of seeing projects take a sharp curve into the dumpster and wondering why no one saw it coming.

In a way, I’ve been working on this book for over 20 years. It began back when I was the Director of Development for Microsoft, in charge of software development best practices across the entire company. I was asked to figure out why several prominent projects had failed, seemingly out of the blue. There’s no need to name names, but if you think back to the late 90s I’m sure you can imagine the projects I mean.

I interviewed several dozen VPs, managers, and team leaders, and found that — yes indeed, you can tell when a project is out of control. I wrote a paper on the subject, which was widely praised, and highly useful. I hear tell it’s still being found useful today, twenty years on.

Continue reading “Book”



With over 40 years of business experience, ranging from the smallest startups to the Fortune 500, I have seen a wide range of ways to build and manage teams. I have been an individual contributing member of project teams, a middle manager of substantial parts of major projects, and the leader of some huge teams — as many as 1,000.

I have personally seen the best and the worst.

From this experience, I have personally seen the best and the worst — the new boss without a clue and some of the most experienced and enlightened managers in the world. Throughout it all, I’ve learned a great deal. Leading Smart on CLWill.com is my expression of that experience, my vehicle to share the lessons I’ve learned with the world. I hope you find it useful.