Max Brown

Leadership Vertigo

Why Even the Best Leaders Go Off Course and How They Can Get Back on Track

Leaders have a profound impact on the way people work. If they understand how to use positive emotions, demonstrate genuine concern for the employee’s wellbeing, and appreciate them as human beings, they can dramatically improve the work environment and business results.

Why does this matter?

The majority of workers want to engage and do great work provided the opportunity. The challenge is that those in leadership positions often alienate people instead of inspiring them. While it often isn’t intentional, too many in leadership positions don’t understand how to bring out the best in others.
In fact, many don’t even know that they don’t know how to bring out the best in others. The truth is that, at times, we will all falsely believe that we are doing a great job when we’re actually going off course. This is Leadership Vertigo.

So, how do we counter it and how do we get back on track?


  • Flourishing is not a solo endeavor. Creating an environment where people want to give their best requires a sense of belonging. Real leaders celebrate when they help others succeed. This all begins with respect and recognition.


  • Energy and emotions are contagious. Real leaders understand the power of positive experiences to counter balance the negative forces that constantly work to disengage. A positive climate is the enabler for forgiveness and gratitude.


  • We all have blind spots, and we will all fall short. Authenticity and awareness are paramount to success. Too many leadership “skills” are merely techniques that are perceived as gimmicks because they aren’t real. Real leaders hold up the mirror.


  • Actively serving others creates meaning. This requires courage and vulnerability to listen, understand, and act. The power of humility enables us to say, “I don’t have all the answers.” Real leaders learn and influence by asking questions.


Max is a speaker, leadership coach and author. As a partner at the Institute for Enterprise Excellence (IEX) and a senior advisor to the Shingo Institute at Utah maState University, Max works with leading organizations to create sustainable and meaningful results.

Over the past twenty years, Max has made nearly three thousand presentations and met with leaders in locations all around the world. He’s taken clients rappelling off the Great Wall of China, facilitated at the Parliament of World Religions Conference in Spain, and spoken in hundreds of cities including Athens, Bangalore, Beijing, Dublin, Hong Kong, The Hague, Mumbai, Paris, New York, Shanghai, Singapore, Toronto, Vancouver, and Sydney . . . Nebraska.

Max regularly presents at one of GE’s highest-rated leadership programs sharing insights from his book, “Leadership Vertigo: Why Even the Best Leaders Go Off Course and How They Can Get Back On Track.” He is a recommended “all-star” keynote speaker from the International Association of Business Communicators and his keynotes consistently receive rave reviews from clients like: 3M, American Express, Southwest Airlines, The Nature Conservancy, HSBC and the Canadian Federal Government.

He has a certificate in Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University, a master’s degree in Organizational Learning from George Mason University, and graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University. He also speaks Mandarin Chinese after seven years of living in Taipei and Shanghai.
Max and his wife, Sally, are the proud parents of two amazing kids.