Scott Sonenshein

Professor of Management, Rice University, Expert on Resilience, Resourcefulness, Organizational Change, author of STRETCH, co-author of Joy at Work with Marie Kondo


Scott Sonenshein is the Henry Gardiner Symonds Professor of Management at Rice University and the bestselling author of Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less – And Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined (2017).  His latest book, co-authored with Marie Kondo, is Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life (April 2020).  His award winning research, teaching, and speaking has helped Fortune 500 executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals in industries such as technology, energy, healthcare, retail, education, banking, manufacturing, and non-profits.

He holds a Doctorate in organizational behavior from the University of Michigan, a Masters of Philosophy in management studies from the University of Cambridge, and a Bachelor of the Arts degree from the University of Virginia. His research appears in the very top academic journals and has contributed to several topics in management and psychology, including change, creativity, personal growth, social issues, decision making, and influence. Scott sits on five distinguished editorial boards and is a former associate editor of his field’s top publication, the Academy of Management Journal.


THE NATURE OF WORK NOW:  How Resilience & Purpose Unlock Success

Scott knows how to create inspiring and effective workplaces and shares his original research about the nature of work in the post-pandemic era so you can attract, retain and motivate the best talent. He unpacks a vision of the future in which leaders and employees openly share control over when, where, and how work is done.  Resilience becomes the most critical business skill and building a purposeful organization is a top priority for leaders. This format includes a brief keynote (20-25 min) followed by an interactive, customized Q&A based on your audience’s unique challenges and objectives (35-40 min). This session is inspired by Scott’s two most recent conversations with colleague and friend, Brené Brown, on her hit podcasts:

LESS IS MORE:  Turning Constraints into Opportunity

Conventional wisdom says that the more resources we have—bigger budgets, larger teams, or more experience—the more we can do. What if the opposite is true? Using Scott’s groundbreaking research on resourcefulness, you’ll learn how to leverage your biggest constraints to deliver your best performance. Drawing insights from his Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Stretch, Scott shows you how to achieve and sustain success because of (not despite) limitations around time, money, and people. This inspiring talk gives you tools to embrace resource constraints to make the most out of what you already have on hand.

KEEP IT SIMPLE: How to Create Joy at Work

Based on his New York Times best-selling book co-authored with Marie Kondo, Joy at Work, Scott teaches you how to eliminate waste and inefficiency that drain your team’s morale and your organization’s bottom line. He shows you how to transform tasks to deliver satisfaction and success, restructure meetings to boost energy and productivity and align work with a greater purpose. You’ll leave motivated and inspired to make choices about how to regain control of your days, discussions, and decisions.

BOUND TO FAIL:  How Leaders Sabotage Organizational Change and How to Fix It

70 percent of change initiatives fail. Why?  Employee resistance. But research shows that reaction is not automatic, and is often a response to violations of trust and harmful expectations.  Drawing from two decades of researching and teaching organizational change, Scott shows you how to pre-empt resistance and empower employees to be advocates of change. He uses science to explain and powerful stories to illustrate how to marshal the support needed to ensure that your organizational change effort is successful.



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Scott’s Joy at Work presentation and workshop garnered the highest attendance out of all of our January virtual appearance offerings.  Working with New Leaf and Scott was a breeze and his flexible, customer-oriented approach to meeting our needs was very much appreciated.  For organizations looking to identify how to create more Joy at Work and why that is essential in these times, Scott’s session is invaluable.

- Target Corporation

Scott Sonenshein brings a perfect mix of book smarts, clarity, and charm to engage and inform his audience on the fascinating complexities of human behavior in the workplace.  His talk and subsequent Q&A session at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center lasted one hour, felt like only 10 minutes, and left all of us wanting him to continue.  We all learned something we could use that very afternoon!

- MD Anderson Cancer Center

As an early digital disrupter of the blinds industry, we know about the necessity of stretching. So Scott’s presentation at our Leadership Development Day not only resonated, but did so in a powerful and fresh way that motivated us to do even more.