Insanity of Leadership, Matt Whiat

Leadership is the awesome responsibility to look after the people in your span of care. The work of this leadership exists in the relationship between people. After all, a job in any organization should offer more than a paycheck. It should offer an empowering and rewarding environment through which people have the opportunity to discover and develop their gifts and talents and contribute them toward a shared vision. Just like a family. Yet often there is a great divide between how we treat people in our organizations and how we treat family members. What if this divide didn’t exist? Find out what happens in military boot camp when you focus on intrinsic motivation and what a child learning to ride a bike can teach us about recognition and celebration in our organizations.

Matt Whiat wakes up each day to put people in the driver’s seat so that passion and opportunity meet. As a co-founder of the Barry-Wehmiller Leadership Institute, Matt draws on over 20 years of leadership experience as a former military officer, helping organizations create cultures that put people and business in harmony. One of Matt’s missions was to escort Simon Sinek into Afghanistan. Matt became a believer in Simon’s work and Simon walked away with an idea, which later became his book, “Leaders Eat Last.” Simon and Matt later collaborated in the Department of Defense’s first TEDx event, showcasing “those who serve others.” One of the speakers was Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry-Wehmiller. When Matt heard Bob’s story he decided he wanted to join him to build a world where everyone matters. Matt served in the United Nations to bring peace to Liberia, worked with NATO partners for operations in Afghanistan, commanded a basic training squadron and was on The Joint Staff at the Pentagon.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at