Action Wheel Leadership

Bob Terry


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Robert W Terry

Dr. Robert (Bob) Terry was the founder of The Terry Group, (now Action Wheel Leadership) a leadership architect, education and training organization, that partners with and serves both for profit and not for profit organizations at the highest level of research and experienced practice.

Bob completed over a decade as Senior Fellow and Director of the Reflective Leadership Center at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. He maintained close working ties with the University, especially with the Reflective Leadership Center and the Executive Development Center at the Carlson School of Management.

He was known for his ability to craft long-term leadership programs inside organizations and to link skilled professionals in teams to address critical organizational issues. He also built a reputation over the years as one who brought depth of content, playful energy and an engaging sense of humor to his leadership education.

He was honored with the Gordon L. Starr Award for outstanding work with University of Minnesota students, the 1995 Ethical Leader of the Year Award from the University YMCA in Minneapolis, and the 1998 Ted Kern award by the Senior Executive Association, which represents the senior executives in the U.S. federal government. He was also selected as one of the country's 100 best educators and is included in a recent volume: Learning Journeys: Top Management Experts Share Hard-Earned Lessons on Becoming Great Mentors and Leaders, Marshall Goldsmith, editor.

Some of the challenging tasks Bob generated and was asked to tackle include:

~Create an organizational assessment tool, grounded in his research and theory that provides 360 degree feedback to organizations.

~Design long-term leadership programs inside companies that actually make a profound positive impact on the organization for the long term and address the serious emerging issue of succession planning and leadership development.

~Develop executives into an effective group that strengthens each other and builds the effectiveness of the organization and group as a whole.

~Distinguish coaching from mentoring and offer both when requested.

~Press the boundaries of spirituality in the workplace and explore theology in workplace, as a deeper alternative, without reverting to religion.

~Conduct Myers Briggs for 1000 people in the same room at the same time.

~Build a firm that can deliver the most advanced leadership design and education programs available in the United States and internationally.

Dr. Terry held a Ph.D. and M.A. in social ethics and public policy from The University of Chicago, a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University.

He authored For Whites Only, a pioneering volume on what it means to be both white and anti-racist. It sold over 250,000 copies and was required reading in the U.S. military. He also wrote Authentic Leadership: Courage in Action (Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 1993) and Seven Zones For Leadership: Acting Authentically in Stability and Chaos (Davies Black, Palo Alto, CA. September, 2001) Bob's last book, On Being A Secular Theologian, remains unpublished.

Bob was also known for his extensive Moose collection, drum playing, hair cutting in his own antique barbershop, cooking and decorating, and treasuring and loving being a father to two great sons and three amazing grandchildren.

Bob Terry died on September 20, 2002, from complications of ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease. He was 64 years old.

Bob Terry Recognized
as Thought Leader

Since 1996, the Leader to Leader Institute has been a prestigious resource for stimulating writing on the topic of leadership. Leadership Journal is the flagship publication of the Leader to Leader Institute.

Originally established in 1990 as the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, the Institute provides leaders with essential wisdom, inspiration and resources to lead innovation and build vibrant organizations. 

The Leader to Leader website offers a wealth of Leadership Journal articles, written by some of the top thought leaders in the field including Bob Terry who contributed the article "Leadership In A Shifting World."

Leadership In A Shifting World
Leader to Leader Institute
Bob Terry Articles and Essays


Harlan Cleveland on Bob Terry

Harlan Cleveland on Bob Terry: Harlan Cleveland was the founding dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. He was also a journalist, an assistant secretary of state, a NATO ambassador, a university president, President of The World Academy of Art and Science, and the author of a dozen books on leadership and public policy.

Mr. Cleveland died May 30, 2008, of multiple myeloma at his home at the age of 90.

Harlan Cleveland and Bob Terry were friends and worked closely together for many years at the University of Minnesota.

Harlan wrote the forward to Bob's books: Authentic Leadership: Courage In Action and Seven Zones For Leadership.

More Stories About Dr. Robert Terry

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