Kendall Lyman

Kendall Lyman

  • Subject matter expert: Changing the way we change, helping employees to own their own engagement, and teaching leaders to lead
  • Co-author Change the Way You Change! And the Employee Engagement Mindset
  • Executive educator, C-Suite coach, strategy and organizational alignment consultant                                               

Travels from Salt Lake City, Utah



R. Kendall Lyman is the founding principal of The Highlands Group, a firm specializing in strategy, organizational change, and leadership development. He helps leaders around the world to navigate change, improve employee engagement, and transform culture. He is amember of the University of North Carolinas Executive Education faculty and the Duke Corporate Education Faculty Network.

He has consulted with a wide array of organizations ranging from Fortune 500 to small and midsize firms. He has worked across diverse industries such as oil and gas,lodging,government, and manufacturing. Kendall has consulted internationally on projects in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa, and he speaks fluent Spanish. He has worked with senior leaders from Cenovus Energy, TrueCar, Lowes, RentPath, Sun Life Financial, Endocyte,, Suncor, Kelloggs, US Army Reserve, Eli Lilly, The National MS Society, US Navy, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Kendalls work with clients has been recognized nationally. The Navy Postal Group in Washington, D.C., won the Federal Mail Center Excellence Award; The Norfolk Naval Shipyard won the Virginia State Quality Award; and his participation in the work to split InterContinental Hotels Group from its parent company received the ASTD Excellence in Practice Award.
He has held executive line management responsibilities, including the Practice Leader of the Organizational Change Consulting Group
at FranklinCovey. He began his career working in marketing and sales at IBM. Kendall is co-author of the management series The Business Strategy Audit, the white paper series A Case for Change Management, the book The Employee Engagement Mindset, and the book Change the Way You Change! 5 Roles of Leaders Who Accelerate Business Performance.
Kendall lives with his wife and three children in the Salt Lake City, Utah, area. He holds a MBA from Brigham Young University.



  1. Change the Way You Change!

What do you know about change? How do you know if you’re successful at leading change? Because of the rapidly changing pace of the business world, leading change has become as integral to a leader’s success as managing the balance sheet or implementing a new customer service program. Yet research indicates that less than 30% of change efforts succeed. Why?

Most leaders lack a complete picture of how change happens. Too many continue to tinker with tactics and short-term fixes while hoping for transformation and long-term improvement. Many leaders ask others to engage and change without really understanding how to do that themselves. All too often leaders are rewarded for doing their “day job,” so they haphazardly lead change “on the side.” This results in change feeling fragmented, complicated, or theoretical by those on the front line—those who are required to implement the change.

The current approach to change is incomplete. Until leaders adopt a new approach, their results will be elusive, left to chance, and doomed to similar low success rates. In addition, change fatigue and employee skepticism will increase, reducing the chance for sustainable change and real competitive advantage. Great leaders of change positively impact business performance by fundamentally working differently from most leaders in three ways. First, they change how they think and talk about change. Second, they change their approach to change by engaging both individuals and the organization. And third, they elevate what they do as a leader and the roles they play.

In any other profession, a 70% failure rate would be unacceptable. It’s time we make it so in the professional ranks of leadership. Voters, boards of directors, employees, and customers are all screaming for change. If they are not in your industry, they soon will be. The only way to survive as a leader in the twenty-first century is to make change part of your leadership agenda. And that means making it a priority and getting good at it.

  1. Own Your Own Engagement!

The Facts: Highly engaged employees get results with energy, passion, and purpose. They stay longer, innovate faster, and execute better. They are the ultimate competitive weapon of our day. Organizations with highly engaged employees outperform their rivals in operating income (19 percent), net income growth (14 percent), and earnings per share (28 percent). Highly engaged employees are more productive (43 percent), and more likely to remain with their employers (85 percent).

The Challenge: The bad news is that only 25 percent of employees are highly engaged. Most contribute only a fraction of their talent and discretionary effort. The bigger challenge is doing something about it. Searching for the secret sauce, organizations chase everything from gimmicks to highly complex theory. Rarely does any of it work. In some cases, organizations see a boost, but it doesn’t last. What’s missing in all of this?

The Solution: A closer look at high engagement reveals two remarkably consistent patterns: (1) The highly engaged take personal and primary responsibility—they own their own engagement; and (2) the highly engaged apply six drivers as personal patterns and only expect the organization to play a support role. In addition, most high performance organizations incorporate the same six drivers as deep organizational systems.

Drivers of Engagement: The Six Drivers of Engagement™ represent the integration and distillation of all major streams of engagement research and practice. On an individual level, they represent “personal processes”. On an enterprise level, they represent “organizational systems.” Most approaches to engagement are narrow, incomplete, and temporary. This keynote will help you learn what drivers will better enable engagement of your people and what it will take to create an organization that will enable that engagement.


3. Building a High Performing Senior Leadership team. The Great team fantasy revealed!
Effective teams always outperform less effective teams! We all want to be a part of a great team, but the truth is that most of us have been on very few! What is it that makes the difference and how can you as a leader create the conditions for a highly productive team? This is the subject of this provocative, well-researched, dynamic, and practical presentation.

  1. Creating a Culture of Excellence.
    The culture that you have created as a leader is yours, it follows you around, and is a direct result of the direction, communication, interpersonal skills, and systems that you set in
    motion with your company or team! Understanding the parts of this unique puzzle that we call a “culture” is the main focus of this talk. We will look at three specific elements that are critical to success.
  • The landscape of your leadership influence—how you model the culture you are trying to create
  • The effectiveness of your leader teams at L-2 and L-3 levels
  • The unique organization systems, strategy, processes, measures of success, and execution disciplines that you as the leader set in motion.
  1. Your Winning Strategy.
    This talk is aimed at sales teams, sales agents, and sales managers across a variety of businesses. The focus of the keynote is on four things that all sales and individual performers desire:
  • How can you strengthen and solidify your role as a trusted advisor to your clients?
  • What actions/strategies can you initiate to improve your sales and productivity in the next year?
  • What actions can you take to build and sustain a high performing team to support your performance in the next year?
  • What can you do to ensure you execute on the ideas you have selected and be sure your team does the same?

This is a fast paced, highly practical, and easily applied talk/workshop. It is highly interactive and people leave with concrete actions they can take to improve.

  1. The Landscape of My Leadership Influence
    This session is designed to provide a lens or perspective for the participants to examine their leadership influence quotient in the organization. It is based on exploration, assessment, and action in five critical areas:
  1. Network Matrix Leadership. What is the key matrix of people that make up your leadership landscape including stakeholder groups who either you influence or need to be influenced by your leadership? Is your Net-Matrix structured correctly? And what is the quality of the relationships in this matrix? Exercises examine all three questions including what needs to start/stop/change to have focused plan of action to improve.
  2. Show-Up. What is your leadership presence? How do you show up as a leader? We will share research about high performers in this area, and allow people an opportunity to examine this critical social capital currency for their own leadership. People will leave with specific actions to differentiate their leadership presence.
  3. Whole-Systems Perspective. What is driving (or inhibiting) your results? Research shows that leaders who “pop their heads up” and look at problems and opportunities from an enterprise point of view are much more successful. Leaders who understand and work on issues that are interconnected add the most value.
  4. Human Capital. What practices enable human capital? Here we will examine how you can use networking, and “water cooler skills” to provide a basis for your influence. This area is based on some important research from HBR/MIT team matrix research.
  5. The Leadership Point of View. Where do you have the greatest influence as a leader? The purpose of this lens is to help leaders focus their actions and commit to moving ahead as leaders.


“As a leader, accountable for multiple enterprise-wide leadership development programs focused on the c-suite and upper levels of leadership, Kendall has always been the number one choice for strategic transformation, change and leadership initiatives. He has this unbelievable talent in being able to systemically diagnose the realities of an organization by synthesizing and focusing on the elements that matter. This quickly translates into a succinct strategy that appropriately matches the unique requirements of the particular landscape. That in and of itself is a talent. However, Kendall takes it to the next level by combining his intellectual horsepower with an extremely high EQ, layered on by a wonderful sense of humour.  Kendall seamlessly navigates stakeholder requirements by shifting, adapting and navigating client and/or situation nuances without compromising good design/delivery principles. He has mastered the art of offering an alternate perspective that builds and enhances the outcomes and esteem of all. Once in the session itself, Kendall captures the heads and hearts of the room by weaving relevant stories, quotes, research, client examples and personal experience to enable the audience to viscerally experience the intended learning/outcomes to ensure the session’s impact is realized long after the experience in the room; on the job, in the moments, times and places that matter.” Lisa Strogal, former Manager of Leadership Development, Cenovus Energy

“I have worked with Kendall for more than a decade as executive development educators and organizational consultants. Our work together has spanned multiple Fortune 200 clients and included executive teams through director level leaders. He is highly collaborative, insightful about organizational issues and leadership needs, and a valuable thought partner. Kendall have an uncanny ability to become “one of us” while also maintaining an independent professional perspective. Two specific strengths include saying what is hard to hear and constructively challenging leaders to think about their behavior and how to lead in new and innovative ways.” David Leonard, Director of UNC Executive Development

“I wanted to say thank you for the tremendous role you had in helping our little nonprofit see something bigger in ourselves and do some remarkable things through our strategic work. Most notably was growing revenue year-over-year during such a hard economic time, including one of those Wildly Important Goals you helped us set to launch an individual donor program. We did that and raised an additional $3.2M in the last few years for MS research. We also expanded our footprint by establishing two official clinical partnerships (of only 40 nationwide) and grew our chapter’s territory … and so much more. Your partnership with our board and finesse in helping us to define key drivers and goals have been referenced time and again as the foundational work that launched our success. I’m personally grateful, as are so many others, for your partnership with us.” Annette Royal-Mitchell, Former Chapter President, National MS Society

“Kendall combines extensive expertise in organizational development with an engaging personality to produce great results. He is masterful at formulating messages in ways that resonate with every individual on a team—a skill that makes him one of the most effective facilitators around. He also has the ability to navigate complex dynamics between and among diverse team members to cultivate common ground and yield constructive, focused action. Kendall operates with integrity, produces high-quality results, and is a joy to experience.” Deb Chromik-Rahlstan, Executive Director, Transparent Learning, Inc.

“The program was very well thought out and prepared. Facilitation incredible—fun and thought provoking. Very informative, very professional. Truly the best training session I have participated in.” Conference Participant

“Moving from university professor to CEO of a startup was a daunting task made easier with the wisdom and guidance of Kendall Lyman. Kendall was down-to-earth and practical as we developed strategies and interventions to get the fledgling organization on the right path. Framing the process in light of leading organizational theory, Kendall also provided the “why” behind the “how.” Further, he helped me identify where my own leadership skills needed to be honed and guided me as I put new behaviors into practice. EthicsGame’s strong infrastructure and thriving culture is due in no small part to Kendall’s knowledge and skill as he helped a diverse leadership team successfully launch a new venture.” Catharyn A. Baird, Founder/CEO, EthicsGame

“Kendall has keen insight and a unique, personable way of facilitating that really captures an audience. Because he is so personally grounded, he has the latitude to flex with the audience and move the message to them vs. trying to move the audience to them. I have seen many lead facilitators over the years and Kendall ranks among the very best.” Marianne, Lepre-Nolan, CEO, Marianne Lepre-Nolan Inc.

“Thanks for a great experience. Over my very long career I have been privileged to attend many seminars and I can say emphatically this was the best ever. The pace was great, the topics relevant and timely, and the organization superb. Thank you!” Conference Participant

“I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with Kendall to implement organization change and transformation. From the very first phone call I had with him, I can recall his distinct professionalism and business acumen let alone the depth of understanding of our business. Whether he was coaching a senior executive or facilitating a team meeting, his impeccable preparation along with his ability to understand the measurable objectives for each ‘moment of truth’ continues to impress me to this day. Kendall’s affable nature and sense of humor allow him to enlist the cooperation of team members, which led to extremely effective, meaningful, and productive meetings. People like Kendall don’t come along very often, and it’s a rare breed that not only understands the theory behind organizational change and transformation, but who can practically apply it to effect positive change within an organization. He is definitely in that small, unique, and dare I say, eclectic group. Not only am I a better person for having the opportunity to have worked with him, but I truly believe our company today is also a better organization because of his work.” Doug Storbeck, Director, Business Process Improvement, Carlson Companies

“This is certainly the best leadership program that I have attended. Fantastic and super facilitation. Very knowledgeable. Excellent, well planned, well thought out, great flow, interesting throughout.” Conference Participant

 “We recently completed our year-long Endocyte University—an internal leadership development program customized to build the next generation of leaders in our organization. What a success! We partnered with The Highlands Group who brought models, surveys, and tools focused on building leadership capability. They created a development process that included individual assessment, classroom and team application, and peer-to-peer coaching. Leaders engaged in topics such as situational leadership, communication and dialogue, emotional intelligence, and change management. One leader sent us a note after graduation saying:

‘I wanted to take the time to thank you for all the insightful and immediately applicable knowledge you provided us through our year-long leadership program. I hope I speak for all members of our management team when I say that the techniques, lessons, and tools that you provided us with will prove invaluable and enable us to work better and more effectively as a team moving forward. From a personal perspective, I have been implementing several techniques with my team members and other managers that have been of significant help in negotiating and effectively managing conversations and personal interactions. Thank you for all of your hard work.’

Partnering with Kendall has been both fun and rewarding. I look forward to creating our next development program that will help us meet our leadership objectives.” Kathy Parker, VP Human Resources, Endocyte

“After working with Kendall, we have definitely seen a marked improvement in the atmosphere of the team and company overall. I think the executive team sessions have provided great benefit to the organization and its collective focus. There’s almost no disruptive chatter occurring, there’s a feeling of leadership that’s developed as well, and there is a level of increased support and growing respect. It’s been a painful journey for the team—it takes a lot of courage, strength, and commitment to change instead of giving up. Thank you for changing nearly everyone. The minority that don’t change will always struggle and usually find themselves alone against those that are willing to move forward. The numbers will ultimately win.” Tim Schrader, Director of Sales and Marketing Viance Treated Wood Solutions

“A number of years ago, our Navy Postal Facility (that provided mail to the Navy facilities in the National Capital Region) was the source of nearly daily customer complaints and significant employee issues. In nine months of working The Highlands Group, the organization went from arguably the worst within the Department of Defense to the unquestionable leader. Today, the organization is the standard by which other similar facilities are judged. Department of Defense postal leadership now encourages other postal operations to visit and learn how to do things the right way. In addition, GSA awarded the group with a GSA Best Practices award. And the most significant result is that these changes and improvements have lasted over time. The operation has NOT returned to the status quo since ALL members of the team are involved and active in the process of constant improvement.” Rick Dowling, CDR, USN (retired) Officer-in-Charge, Fleet & Industrial Support Center Norfolk, DET Washington, DC

“As our organization was undergoing a massive transformational activity involving all key enterprise functions like Finance, IT, Strategic Sourcing, HR, and others, Kendall was instrumental in assisting the creation of the right strategies, and most importantly assisting with the complex task of change management. He stood shoulder to shoulder with our team, and helped create an end-to-end strategy to map the necessary activities for change management as it pertained to my Strategic Sourcing Transformation. Unlike other consultants I have worked with, Kendall actually remained an active participant in the implementation of the changes. He has remained a great partner of our organization.” Larry Taylor, C.P.M., Vice President, Enterprise Strategic Sourcing, Carlson Companies

“Thank you again for your amazing work with our Vice Presidents. I met with several of them and they are still singing praises of the program. Directors told me they don’t know what you did, but they are seeing a difference in their leaders. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going!” Ginny Hunter, Lowe’s, Manager Leadership Development