David Ulrich

Widely seen as the father of HR.


#27 (2015), #30 (2013), #23 (2011).


Shortlisted For the Thinkers50 2015 Breakthrough Idea Award


Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Institute of Management Studies.


Known for turning complex ideas into simple solutions, in Reinventing the Organization (2019), Ulrich and co-author Arthur Yeung provide a practical six-step framework for an organization to deliver radically greater value in fast-moving markets. In Victory Through Organization (2017), he provides a refreshing alternative to the aggressive hiring of talent, showing that by creating dynamic systems that leverage talent through the whole organization, you can create a unified whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. 

With his co-authors, Ulrich has also articulated the basics of effective leadership, connected leadership with customers, shown how leadership delivers market value, shapes investor expectations with an ability to measure leadership, and synthesized ways to ensure that leadership aspirations turn into actions.


Rensis Likert professor at the Stephen M Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and a partner in the RBL Group consultancy firm, Ulrich has a prodigious output of HR, leadership, and organization-related publications. These include more than 200 articles and over 30 books. He edited Human Resource Management from 1990 to 1999, served on the editorial board of 4 Journal, and on the board of directors for Herman Miller for 16 years. He has spoken to large audiences in 90 countries, performed workshops for over half of the Fortune 200, coached successful business leaders, and is a distinguished fellow in the National Academy of Human Resources.


Human Resource Champions (1996); Results-based Leadership (with John Zenger and Norm Smallwood, 1999); The GE Workout (with Steve Kerr and Ron Ashkenas); The HR Value Proposition (with Wayne Brockbank, 2005); Leadership Brand (with Norm Smallwood, 2007);The Leadership Code (with Norm Smallwood and Kate Sweetman, 2008); HR Competencies (with Dani Johnson, Wayne Brockbank, Kurt Sandholtz, and Jon Younger); HR Transformation (2009); The Why of Work (with Marshall Goldsmith and Wendy Ulrich, 2010), Leadership in Asia (2010); HR from the Outside In (with Jon Younger, Wayne Brockbank, and Mike Ulrich, 2012); Leadership Sustainability  (2013); Victory Through Organization with David Kryscynski, Wayne Brockbank, and Mike Ulrich, 2017); The Leadership Capital Index (2015); Reinventing the Organization (with Arthur Yeoung, 2019).


Media picks


“A huge influence on modern organizations, Ulrich is responsible for shaping HR into the profession it is today.”

Stuart Crainer & Des Dearlove, Thinkers50

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