About Me

I’m Chris Williams, aka CLWill. I’ve had a lifelong fascination with organizations and how they work.

With over 40 years of organizational experience, ranging from the smallest startups to the Fortune 500, I’ve 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’ve written code, run my own businesses, lead teams of technical and business professionals, and been the VP of HR at Microsoft at the height of the dot.com boom.

Along the way, I have been fortunate enough to get to know some of the smartest people on the planet. That’s one of the amazing advantages of working at leading edge companies at the height of their popularity. They attract some of the best and brightest, and I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the very best. 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.

About Leading Smart

Throughout it all, I’ve learned a great deal. This web site, and the Leading Smart podcast, are my expressions of that experience, my vehicles to share the lessons I’ve learned with the world. The articles, the podcast, the guidance, the upcoming book, etc., are all a way for me to support leaders.

The Hit Man
To hear how my job in the car stereo business started my fascination for the challenges of building and managing teams, listen to my podcast The Hit Man.

I’m particularly focused on leaders in this Brainpower Age who are finding it a challenge to build and lead teams of knowledge workers. In this era where output is not widgets but largely concepts and ideas, leadership is harder than ever.

Building teams has always been a delicate art, but when the work is so complex and hard to define it is even harder. Add in the needs of the workers to be motivated and passionate about their jobs, and it becomes a true challenge. That kind of leadership is my specialty.

Leadership Docent?

“Docent” comes from the Latin word “docere”, meaning to teach. The broader definition is “someone who promotes learning”. Such as at a museum, where tours are usually lead by a docent. They don’t teach you how to paint, they point out the lighting, the brush strokes, the progression of painters from one era to the next.

Docent: someone who promotes learning

A “coach” on the other hand is someone who takes an active role in directing the game. They send in plays, marshal the team, hire and fire the players. That’s not my role.

And a “mentor” is someone in your organization who can draw you under their wing, and guide you as they, too, succeed. They can help you to understand the specifics that culture, and to navigate the local minefields. Someone from outside just can’t help you there.

No, I’m a docent, a guide, a mirror, a sounding board. I’ll help you see what can work, provide plenty of ideas, and offer lots of feedback. All to help you and your team be their best.

How I can support You

I would love to help you and your organization excel in this Brainpower Age. See the Guidance page for more information on the sessions I can provide, even in this time of remote learning, to help you and your team.

I’ll work with you to develop a customized plan that includes these sessions, extended consultation, or whatever you have in mind. Just shoot an email to info@clwill.com and we’ll start working on a plan to make you a better leader in the Brainpower Age.