Leadership on Point


April 15, 2019 webmaster


For Immediate Release
Contact: Cathy Brundage
E-mail: cbrundage@cfar.com
Phone: 215-320-3200

PHILADELPHIA, PA—As of April 1, 2019, Richard Levin & Associates (RLA), one of the most recognized names in executive coaching, has formally joined The Center for Applied Research, Inc. (CFAR), a management consulting firm specializing in strategy, change, and collaboration. By adding RLA’s expertise to the firm, CFAR will enhance its already robust set of offerings—helping their clients to unlock the potential in their people, explore new ways of thinking about their businesses and organizations, and develop new skills to sustain lasting improvement.

Together, the consultants at CFAR and the coaches at RLA will use their collective expertise to guide clients in achieving their highest aspirations across the many industries that the two firms currently serve—including healthcare, family and owner-led enterprises, foundations, non-profit organizations, and higher education. They will use their distinct yet complementary skills to help senior executives develop and lead high performing organizations, as well as help executives tell their company’s story, clearly communicate their vision, and build their organization’s capacity to lead transformative change.

“RLA and CFAR have had tremendous success in the past as strategic partners,” said Debbie Bing, CFAR President and Principal, “Bringing RLA formally under the CFAR umbrella is a natural evolution of an already successful relationship—one that will ultimately help us deliver even more value to our clients.” Richard Levin echoed Bing’s sentiments, stating, “We are excited to be part of a consulting firm that shares our core values of respect, trust, and compassion.” Both have been named by Forbes as America’s Best Management Consulting Firms for the past three years (four for CFAR).

RLA and CFAR help effect change and enhance performance while sustaining the distinctive culture and values of the organizations with which they work, continuing to help organizations achieve their highest aspirations and develop their executives into motivating, inspiring, and successful leaders.


Originally a research center inside the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, CFAR was established as a private management consulting firm in 1987. CFAR advises organizational leaders across a broad industry spectrum, including healthcare, family- and owner-led businesses, higher education, and foundations.

CFAR supports executives wrestling with issues of strategy, collaboration, change management, and leadership transitions, and is known for a distinctive consulting approach that blends business analytics with behavioral science expertise and research. The firm has published numerous articles and books, including its latest book on culture and change entitled The Moment You Can’t Ignore: When Big Trouble Leads to a Great Future, published by Public Affairs (www.themomentyoucantignore.com).

CFAR serves clients from offices in Philadelphia and Boston. For further information, please visit www.cfar.com.

ABOUT Richard Levin & Associates

Richard Levin & Associates is the country’s first and most experienced network of leadership and executive coaches, consultants, and facilitators. The company is a global organization of close to 40 practitioners with expertise in media, presentation skills, communication, strategy, and executive coaching. Approximately half of the firm’s clients are leaders of Fortune 500 companies and professional firms, while the other half consists of government and not-for-profit leaders.

Richard Levin & Associates coaches and trains senior executives on the fundamentals of leadership in the digital age: communication, strategic marketing, motivation, interpersonal skills, customer service, infrastructure development, and team building. Its network includes a cadre of outstanding consultants with years of experience in business, television, psychology, and education, developing executives into motivating, inspiring and successful leaders. For further information on RLA and its global network of coaches, please visit www.richardlevinassociates.com.

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Good News from Richard Levin & Associates

April 26, 2018 Richard Levin


It is with both happiness and humility that I share the good news that Richard Levin & Associates has been named by Forbes for the second year in a row as one of America’s best management consulting firms. What makes me truly happy about this is that we are the only executive coaching firm on the Forbes list, and we were nominated through an independent and confidential survey of  business executives who were asked by Forbes to identify the best management consulting firms out of nearly 50,000 small and large consultancies nationwide.

Richard Levin & Associates (RLA) is truly a dynamic and diverse community. Our team includes more than 35 (more…)

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It’s Time to Act: Ending Sexual Harassment in Nonprofit Organizations

February 28, 2018 Richard Levin

By Richard J. Levin and Sara E. Miller

“That’s simply the way he is. Just don’t find yourself alone in an elevator with him!”

We heard this from the CEO of a nonprofit organization who was given advice about a key donor during her first day on the job. She was receiving “the talk” so many nonprofit professionals have heard before, as if to explain away predatory behavior as the cost of doing business.

In listening to clients and confidants, we have learned that inappropriate sexual behaviors and repugnant power dynamics are playing out not only in Hollywood and government, but in the nonprofit space as well.


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Disrupting Healthcare: The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts

December 22, 2017 Richard Levin


The business of healthcare is ripe for disruption. Especially conducive to change is the stubborn practice of building or adhering to silos that don’t adequately encourage collaboration. In healthcare, silos foster the continuation of tenacious traditions that fail to acknowledge the patient as a wholistic being, like separating dentistry from the rest of medicine or viewing departments or specialties as if they are disconnected from the larger organizations of which they are part.


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RLA Named Among Best Management Consulting Firms

May 4, 2017 Richard Levin

Richard Levin

It is with both modesty and humility that I share the good news that Richard Levin & Associates has been named by Forbes as one of the best management consulting firms in America.

What makes me truly happy about this is that we were nominated by an independent and confidential survey of 1100 business executives who were asked by Forbes to identify the 100 best management consulting firms out of nearly 50,000 small and large consultancies nationwide. I am also pleased that our good friends at CFAR, the extraordinary consulting firm with whom we have a deeply valued alliance, made the Forbes list for the second year in a row.

Richard Levin & Associates is truly a dynamic and diverse community. Our team includes more than 35 leadership coaches and management consultants who have created a warm, welcoming culture of collaboration and creativity. They are compassionate, wise, kind people with deep experience in business and organizational behavior. Most important, perhaps, is that we are forever mindful of strengthening our commitments to civil discourse and inclusivity while encouraging leaders to enhance their positive impact, both personally and professionally.


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How Many Hats Does a CIO Need to Wear?

October 21, 2016 Joe Wolke

Technology leaders earn their keep when they help their organizations use technology as a competitive advantage. Success is no longer measured just in availability, speed and uptime: one must now add resiliency, security, scalability, affordability and, most of all, the flexibility to meet business needs that have yet to be defined. These leaders must understand differentiators in their businesses; they need to know real capabilities in the IT marketplace as well as the best providers of those capabilities; and they need to know how to staff and manage high-performing teams who can assure consistent and reliable delivery of those services. They need to be:

  • Technology specialists who know and understand what is real and what is hype
  • Authorities in security, protecting the information that drives the company as well as meeting regulatory compliance
  • Team leaders able to attract, manage and retain a team of highly skilled technical professionals
  • Salespersons, working with peers within an organization to create and sell the business cases that prove the investment in technology is the best use of a company’s money
  • Service brokers with the ability to source both commodity services and the business differentiators from providers both internal and across the globe.

No single university discipline, certification or job prepares individuals for what they need to be the best IT leaders for their organizations. There is no single source that can teach IT leaders to comfortably wear all the necessary hats at the same time.


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Words Matter.

September 30, 2016 Sara E. Miller

In this world that we live in, populated by digital media, has the written word become both more AND less important? We have become more sensitive to language than ever before.


Of all that was said in the 90 minutes of the first presidential debate, I was struck most by Secretary Hillary Clinton’s “words matter.”

“YES!” I thought to myself: “That’s what I’ve been trying to say!”

In this world that we live in, populated by digital media, I feel that the written word has become both more and less important. In some ways, it matters less if you type “exectuive coahcing richard levin,” because Google’s algorithms have become more adept at knowing what it thinks you really meant:

And yet, the written word has become more crucial than ever. At a time when I (and my peers) get the majority of our news from the internet, rather than the television, the ways in which stories are presented matter all the more—for an example, see the ways in which “winning the debate” was defined differently by different populations (pundits vs. candidates’ supporters, for example), setting both as winners and losers.

It is the reason people are decrying a lack of civil discourse – or decency, or whatever words you choose to call it – we have become more sensitive to language than ever before, while believing it is less important.  It’s the difference in a workplace of saying “Thank you” before asking someone to complete another task. It’s the way in which we demonstrate that we know the value of those who are close to us – or don’t. It’s also the way in which the value (and values!) of a company or organization are exhibited to its stakeholders and the world. In short, without the carefully-chosen written word, we would fail at communicating our values.

In the Jewish tradition, this is the time of year for consideration of the ways in which we have hurt others, whether intentionally or not. It is a time for reflection, reckoning, and reconciliation. Whether words were intended for harm or a careless typo, one is still held accountable.

I believe strongly that #WordsMatter. I believe that words are the building-blocks to networked communities and civil societies creating a #SharedPurpose. And even though some say that “actions speak louder,” I believe that words are the first steps on that path.

Sara E. Miller is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for Richard Levin & Associates.


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Best Places to Work: Where Innovation and Mindfulness Meet

June 26, 2016 Richard Levin


June 24, 2016

By Barrie Sanford Greiff and Richard J. Levin

As improbable as it seems, Star Trek and the Dalai Lama have joined forces in the workplace.


Star Trek is the inspiration for several technological inventions and disruptive innovations, including the cell phone and the tablet computer.  The program is also noted for its progressive stance on workplace diversity, boasting one of television’s first diverse casts.


The Dalai Lama, meanwhile, is impacting the speed of work. In a fast and frenetic business environment that often triggers mistakes, companies are paying more attention to work styles designed to slow us down.  In a business climate that rewards speed, there is new attention to mindfulness — being “present” to facilitate greater focus and fewer errors.


Both mindfulness and technology are leading to renewed attention to the whole worker.  An employee who has better tools to work with, and feels more of a seamlessness among work, family, personal interests, and community, will be more attentive, energized, and productive. This is also crucially important in communicating to current employees and prospective hires that they don’t have to check their outside interests at the door.  Witness the addition of music rooms and play spaces to the workplace.


Much of this is emerging from increased attention to employee suggestions about work spaces and work styles that foster innovation, collaboration, productive work, and the reduction of stress.


We are also seeing a greater awareness that technology, applied wisely and respectfully to employees and customers (or health care professionals and patients), enhances disruptive innovation. A good example of an innovative workplace will be CBS’s new fall series Pure Genius, whose storyline adapts technology, mindfulness, diverse perspectives, and creativity to holistic health care.


In addition to enhancing productivity and yielding a healthier bottom line, a best place to work is a powerful recruitment tool.  In an era of increased competition for the best and the brightest, telling an authentic story of an innovative, respectful, collaborative workplace enhances a company’s competitive status as an employer of choice.


All of this leads to a handy five-part recipe for creating a best place to work:


  1. Treat people with dignity. Create and nurture a diverse community that values and respects people for their unique perspectives and contributions.
  2. Acknowledge that a business is part of a wider universe that symbiotically benefits from shared experiences between their employees and local communities — from shopping at local businesses to volunteering at community organizations.
  3. Promote an environment of learning and discovery, understanding that creativity requires risk.
  4. Encourage healthy lifestyles that integrate work and personal/family life, support mindfulness, and promote wellness.
  5. Foster an environment of transparency and open communication where ideas and feedback are freely shared, where executives model ethics and values, and where leaders say what they mean and do what they say.


In the words of the Dalai Lama: “Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.”

And in the words of Mr. Spock: “Live long and prosper.”


Barrie Sanford Greiff, M.D. is former psychiatrist at the Harvard Business School.  Richard J. Levin, Ed.D. is one of the country’s first executive coaches.

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Ezra Schwartz’s Death Should Be a Wake-Up Call for American Political Leadership

November 24, 2015 Jessica Levin - Guest Author

Violence and tragedy are two words that could not escape our vocabulary this week. In the midst of deadly events in France, Beirut, and Mali, there was a tragic terrorist attack in Israel – the death of five individuals, including 18-year-old American student Ezra Schwartz –that was barely acknowledged by political leaders in this country.

All we can think about is Ezra at age nine, Jessica’s rambunctious, outgoing, and carefree camper. The camper who had so much energy, excitement, and passion. As he grew up, he devoted himself to his studies, his family, his friends, and his community, which included summers at Camp Yavneh in New Hampshire. His commitment to the Jewish values of Tikkun Olam, translated from Hebrew as “repairing the world,” were evident in his last hour of life, when he was shot on his way to deliver food and care packages to Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.

Religious persecution, as evident in the case of Ezra and the Israelis who lost their lives last Friday, is ever present. This oppression is not reserved for any particular religious group. Muslims across the world are discriminated against because a percentage of their population are associated with the Haram State and its radical Islamic ideologies. The most recent terrorism across the world has not only revitalized the power of government surveillance and trampled on civil rights, but has catalyzed the rise of religious intolerance in this country. Over half of U.S. governors oppose welcoming Syrian refugees into their states. Some Presidential candidates have urged the U.S. to implement a surveillance system that monitors all Muslims and mosques in this country. What our political institutions fail to recognize is that Syrian refugees are not terrorists. Muslims are not all Islamic extremists. Narrow beliefs make the United States a country filled with religious discrimination, oppression, fear, and hate. We are a country unprepared to manage, accept, respect, and discuss religious diversity.  (more…)

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Want feedback? Ask for it!

May 19, 2015 Richard Dana

Leaders frequently lament that, “I just can’t get real feedback from my team”.  If this speaks to you, let me ask, “what have you done to solicit feedback?” In my Executive Coaching practice, too often this question is followed by a long pause and then a response like: “when I ask for feedback during team meetings, the room becomes quiet!”

Let’s unpack this dilemma – how many leaders ask for feedback in a way that feels genuine to his or her team? All too often, team members feel the question may be a perfunctory request, or the leader really wants to get on with business. Team members may be uncomfortable giving spontaneous feedback because of observed or feared leader defensiveness. People don’t want to take risks that may jeopardize their jobs.

As a leader, do you really want feedback? If so, try coming from a place of curiosity and express authentic interest in each team member’s perspective. To break through the team meeting impasse, try meeting individually with each team member. Let them know why you’re requesting a meeting, and genuinely express your interest in their perspective. Remember- it’s not all about you! Be curious. Ask about your leadership style and the team’s functionality. Then listen, and don’t interrupt! Receiving feedback requires creating a comfortable, trusting and secure setting. Once your peers and/or direct reports trust your intentions, they will personally disclose.

Requests for feedback may also be specific and substantive, targeting current concerns, decisions and/or recent events. To grow as a leader, broaden the discussion and give team members the opportunity to share their concerns- what is working, and what is not. Solicit their ideas on business challenges and always use the foundation skills of effective listening and communication:

  • Be positive and attentive
  • Be empathic and reflective
  • Seek clarification and understanding
  • Express appreciation
  • Value their opinion- this fosters loyalty and creates a positive culture

Finally, here are three tips that will help you successfully engage and ensure a positive outcome:

  • 80/20 Rule – Leaders using a coaching managerial style spend 80% of their time listening and   20% of their time talking
  • 5 Second Rule – Wait 5 seconds before responding.  Often there is no need to provide a response
  • WAIT – Why Am I Talking?

Richard Dana is an executive coach and organizational behavior expert specializing in leadership development, executive coaching and team building for a broad range of organizations.

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