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John Potter


John Potter has an unusual and varied background which shows in his business and dinner speeches. His approach ranges from humorous to substantial, as the occasion demands, and he encourages audience participation if possible.

As Visiting Professor for Leadership Studies at the University of Exeter, John is part of the team which includes John Adair, Meredith Belbin and Warren Bennis.

Frequently invited as a keynote speaker and after dinner, John's audiences appreciate not only the wealth of his experience but also a delivery style which is relaxed, straightforward, challenging and intelligent. He also chairs and host events.

Initially qualifying as an engineer, John has worked in industry, education, the music business and the military, starting his management consultancy business in 1987 and working with national and international organisations. Based in Devon (UK) John works on a global basis with contacts worldwide and has business bases in Australia and the USA. His clients include Lloyds Bank, LIFFE, Sony, Coca-Cola and Mercedes-Benz. His topics include work/life balance, leadership, strategy and more.

For eight years, John was on the staff of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst where he was involved in the Leadership Development Programme, undertaking research which gained him his PhD in 1985. His interest in hostage psychology has lead to him being operationally involved in kidnappings, sieges and aircraft hijackings – experiences which he often includes in his talks and lectures. An expert in human beings in stressful conditions, John has scores of anecdotes at his fingertips including rescuing Chay Blyth and his management team in a snowstorm when they got lost en route to a teambuilding exercise.

John Potter's books include: 

  • The Business of Leadership (Ashgate 1997) 
  • Intelligent Leadership: creating a passion for change (co-authored with Alan Hooper: Random House 2000: with a foreword by Warren Bennis).
  • Punch above your Weight: how to succeed at what ever you want to do (Thorogood, 2015)

During his musical career John played drums for internationally known artistes including Matt Monro, Norman Wisdom, Reg Varney, Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Joe Loss Orchestra. He appeared fourteen times at Buckingham Palace with stars including Sir Cliff Richard and Tommy Steele performing for the "Not Forgotten Association", a charity for war veterans.

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