Rice expert available to discuss leadership development, stepping outside one’s comfort zone in 2018


David Ruth

Jeff Falk

Rice expert available to discuss leadership development, stepping outside one’s comfort zone in 2018

HOUSTON — (Jan. 9, 2018) – The beginning of a new year often prompts people to take stock of their career and skills and to set goals. Rice University’s Tom Kolditz, a leadership scholar and director of Rice’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders, is available to discuss the critical things to consider when aspiring to develop one’s leadership skills.

Kolditz recently discussed his insights, including the importance of stepping outside one’s comfort zone, with Brandeis University professor and leadership expert Andy Molinksy. Click here to watch the video of their conversation.


“In the Doerr Institute at Rice, getting students to stretch outside their comfort zones is an effective tool for creating measurable development gains,” Kolditz said. “The new year brings personal development in focus for many people seeking to grow in 2018.”

Kolditz, a retired brigadier general, told Molinsky one of the most important first steps in developing leadership capacity is to look for “stretch” opportunities. “There’s an expression in the military: ‘Horses get ridden,’” Kolditz said. “If you show early on that you can get things done and that you can be successful, you become the go-to person, you become the fireman for units that are having problems or not functioning well. You wind up working a lot harder for the exact same pay as another person in your grade. But in terms of career advantage, it makes a big difference to be stretched, to be challenged and, in some cases, even to be made successful by other people, and that’s where mentors come in to be protective and supportive.”

Kolditz biography:

Prior to joining Rice, Kolditz taught as a professor in the practice of leadership and management and director of the Leadership Development Program at the Yale School of Management.

A retired brigadier general, Kolditz led the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at West Point for 12 years. In that role, he was responsible for West Point’s teaching, research and outreach activities in management, leader development science, psychology and sociology and was appointed professor emeritus after retirement. His career has focused on either leading organizations himself or studying leadership and leadership policy across sectors.

Kolditz served for two years as a leadership and human resources policy analyst in the Pentagon and for a year as a concept developer in the Center for Army Leadership. He was the founding director of the West Point Leadership Center. He was instrumental in the design and formation of the Thayer Leader Development Group and is the managing member of Saxon Castle LLC, a leader development consultancy. Kolditz is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal, the Army’s second-highest award in order of precedence, and recently received the Warren Bennis Award. He is the author of “In Extremis Leadership: Leading As If Your Life Depended On It,” which explains how leadership lessons and principles in dangerous settings also apply to leading in business and everyday life.

Kolditz holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Vanderbilt University, three master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Missouri.

To schedule an interview with Kolditz, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at 713-348-6775 or jfalk@rice.edu.

Rice University has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio. ReadyCam is capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world 24/7.


This news release can be found online at http://news.rice.edu.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

Related materials:

Tom Kolditz bio: https://doerr.rice.edu/content/tom-kolditz-0

Photo link: http://news.rice.edu/files/2017/09/170426_-Doerr_fitlow_085-1658web.jpg

Photo credit: Rice University/Jeff Fitlow

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.