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Email Conor Cunneen today or PHONE 630 718 1643



KEYNOTES from this Leadership and Marketing Speaker are customized to your conference and event. Topics include



* Leadership Lessons from the McDonald’s Turnaround (Read NRN article)

* Don’t Believe your own Blarney and other Lessons to BEAT the Recession

* The Gift of GAB: How Goals, Attitude, Brand provide a Top o’ the Morning Customer Experience

* Adden Humur two you’re Presentashun! (Good speling costs moor!)

* SHEIFGAB the World: 8 Building Blocks to Employee Engagement and Productivity.



“In my close to thirty years of association work, I have NEVER seen a speaker as well received as you.”

Incentive Marketing Association


Watch this Insightful Leadership Keynote Speaker talk on VISION – You will Learn and Laugh

Watch Conor speak on The BRAND EXPERIENCE





Watch this leadership speaker on CHANGE featuring some really bad poetry!




Thoughts on Leadership from great keynote speaker and thinker – Peter Drucker

Successful leaders don’t start out asking, “What do I want to do?” They ask, “What

needs to be done?” Then they ask, “Of those things that would make a difference,

which are right for me?”



Book reviews on Leadership from Irish Keynote Speaker Conor Cunneeninclude:


Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Doris Kearns Goodwin

The book’s premise is that Abraham Lincoln was not just a great President, not just a great speaker with leadership skills, but one who also had the motivational ability to create a highly effective team comprised of many of his rivals. These were men who had hoped to become President. Instead, they took a subservient role to a President whom Goodwin writes about in hagiographic terms.


The team of rivals consisted of one time Republican presidential candidates William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Salmon P. Chase, Treasury Secretary, and Edward Bates Attorney General. The other major player in this detailed work is Edwin M. Stanton, War Secretary.


This is a very good read although the author is stretched at times to continually bring the overall premise together. The opening section of the book paints individual pictures of the major players, which I did not find particularly interesting. This I think is partly because some of the characters – Chase and Bates, at least to this reader are just not compelling in their own right. Thus it takes quite some time for the book to grasp this reader’s attention.


Although peripheral to the main story, the hardships of live during the first half of the 19th century are very obvious. Chase lost three wives and two daughters before he was forty four, while Stanton between 1841 and 1846 lost his wife, a daughter and his only brother.


Another fascinating and heart rending aspect portrayed is how the Civil War tore families apart. Four of Mary Lincoln’s siblings and three brothers-in-law fought on behalf of the Confederacy, while Chase’s son also took up arms for the seceding states.

Team of Rivals is basically a biography of Lincoln with a different twist. It is not as detailed as other works – especially in relation to some Civil War episodes, because the author tries to paint pictures of so many characters. Her portrait of Lincoln to some extent lacks objectivity. Every Lincoln weakness or vacillation has a logic or rationale.


Lincoln undoubtedly was underestimated by rivals and media. One Democratic newspaper referred to him as “a third rate Western lawyer … a fourth rate lecturer, who cannot speak good grammar.” As a lawyer and in his early presidential years, the term “inspirational” does not come to mind. To some extent, his behavior did warrant this lack of respect.


His lack of authority over his generals in the early stages of the war must have been disturbing for his cabinet. General McClellan treated him with a disdain and discourtesy that was mind boggling. Had Lincoln been more forceful with Generals Meade and McClellan, it is entirely conceivable the war would have ended much earlier. Kearns (and other writers) has tried to paint Lincoln as an accommodating, understanding head of state. It is probably more accurate to suggest as Martin Luther King did that he was at some stages a “vacillating” president. Much has been written about Lincoln’s leadership, but I think, the student of leadership can learn as much from what Lincoln did poorly as he did well.


Lincoln “grew” into the Presidency, winning over doubters and opponents slowly but surely with his down to earth, homely style. He most definitely has won over the author who paints Lincoln in very favorable terms no matter what the occasion. There is a tendency for the reader to become seduced by the portrait. Lincoln becomes more and more likeable, more and more presidential as the book develops. Ultimately, the reader does appreciate what a dreadful tragedy the death of this president was for the nation and almost certainly for what had been the confederate states. Although, no one can say for certain, it does seem likely that the assassinated president would have been able to salve much of the bitterness and hatred that followed the cessation of violence.



A.G. Lafley & Ram Charan

This is a book that provides good insightful material for the keynote marketing, leadership business speaker and executive.

In the early 1990’s P&G was the number two laundry company in the world with a 19 per cent share. Today, it has a 34 share – nearly double its next competitor. Not bad, not bad at all. This book will help you understand how this consumer behemoth was able to achieve this result and many others.

I will be very surprised if THE GAMECHANGER does not become required reading in many Fortune 500 executive suites. It is not because there is anything dramatically new in it, but because it provides a good look at how Proctor & Gamble turned itself around from being a slow moving organization, poorly rated by analysts to one of the most respected consumer goods companies on the planet.


Credit for much of this turnaround goes to Chairman and CEO A.G. Lafley who took office in June 2000.


The co-authors, Lafley and Charan are corporate superstars. Lafley’s co-author is an in demand consultant and keynote speaker on Leadership and Innovation. Lafley’s contributions to the book are particularly interesting as he provides some excellent case study material on how innovation drove growth for key P&G brands.


The most consistently captivating theme is the reference to “The Boss.” No, not Bruce Springsteen, good and all as he is. The Boss is the consumer and if Lafley is to be believed, Proctor & Gamble  spends its life trying to satisfy the Boss. I particularly like his phrase of placing a “laser-sharp focus on consumers.”


The authors tell us that Innovation is an integrated management process with the customer absolutely at the center. Eight drivers work together to fuel profitable, customer oriented growth. These are

Motivating Purpose and Values

Stretching Goals

Choiceful Strategies

Unique Core Strengths

Enabling Structures

Consistent and Reliable systems

Courageous and Connected Culture

Inspiring Leadership


These eight drivers have fueled P&G’s growth as the company focused on two “moments of truth,” (Interestingly, no acknowledgement to former SAS CEO Jan Carlzon whom I thought was responsible for popularizing this concept in a book of the same name).  These are at time of purchase and time of usage.


Appropriately, as one of the most global of companies, P&G examples come from many different countries and product categories. Immersive in-store and in-home research has gained in popularity at the expense of the standard focus group. This deep dive research allowed P&G to dramatically grow share for Downy Single Rinse (fabric softener) in Mexico, Hugo Boss fragrances and SK-II skin care brand in Japan. I write about the Toyota concept of Genchi Genbutsu (Go to the source and learn) in my book Why Ireland Never Invaded America

One of the underlying themes throughout the book is that Innovation is cultural. You either live it or you don’t. P&G’s commitment to innovation has even seen it create a joint venture with a major competitior – Clorox. The two got together to create improved product performance for the Glad brand of household bags.


This book is not just about P&G. Other companies referenced in some detail include Nokia, Marico India, Best Buy, Lego, Honeywell and HP. Charan devotes a full chapter to “How Jeff Immelt made Innovation a way of life at GE.” Given GE’s ongoing struggles, the most apt sentence in this chapter is “It has taken time for GE’s people and investors to be convinced.” Ya think! Maybe the key lesson in this chapter is Innovation is not easy, no matter what your financial and commercial muscle is.


Overall, a very good read. Whether it will change your company and business depends on you and how aggressively you buy into the cultural aspects of creating an innovative company.


Chapter titles

How and Why innovation at Proctor & Gamble changed its Game

What P&G’s Innovation Transformation means for You

The Customer is Boss

Where to Play, How to Win

Leveraging What You do Best

Organizing for Innovation

Integrating Innovation into your Routine

Managing the Risks of Innovation

Innovation is a Team Sport

The New Job of the Leader

How Jeff Immelt Made Innovation a Way of Life at GE


Companies and brands mentioned which might be of interest to a keynote business speaker include:



Bed, Bath & Beyond



Best Buy







Parachute Aftershower







Worth Reading: Books on Leadership by Keynote Speaker s


The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You

Author: John C. Maxwell, a thoughtful writer on Leadership and an in demand keynote speaker

Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization

Author: John Wooden. In his day, a great keynote speaker on teamwork and leadership

See also: The Essential Wooden: A Lifetime of Lessons on Leaders and Leadership


Are you a conference organizer and event planners who is looking for an insightful, inspirational keynote speaker (also an award winning humorous speaker) on

* Foodservice

* Financial Services

* Pharmaceutical

* Hospitality

* Employee Engagement

* Leadership

* Customer Service




Contact Conor Cunneen today by email or phone this Irishman with a brogue that “would charm the mane of a donkey!” at 630 718 1643

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