Constance Dierickx, PhD

Constance Dierickx- High-Stakes Leadership: Leading Through Crisis with Courage, Judgement and Fortitude

Constance Dierickx- High-Stakes Leadership: Leading Through Crisis with Courage, Judgement and Fortitude

What makes some leaders effective when the stakes are high, while others fall short? Why are some able to not only survive but to lead their organizations to new heights even in risky, fast-changing times?

In her new book, HIGH-STAKES LEADERSHIP: LEADING THROUGH CRISIS WITH COURAGE, JUDGMENT AND FORTITUDE, Dierickx shows that successful leaders are expert practitioners in high-stakes leadership – the ability to lead effectively in times of whitewater change and great risk. This kind of leading requires the courage to make conscious decisions, the judgment to separate information from short-term trends, and the fortitude to remain true to oneself and one’s mission.

Constance Dierickx, PhD, is The Decision Doctor®. She specializes in working with organizations in high-stakes transitions. She helps organizations with mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, CEO succession, strategic change and crisis.

Dierickx draws from more than twenty-five years of experience working with clients such as AAA, the Boys and Girls Club of America, IBM and Olive Garden to detail a 3-part model that is accessible to anyone – at any level in any organization, big or small. This model illuminates the mind-sets, strategies and tactics used to make tough decisions, take an unpopular stand or ignore convention.

The elements are:

-Courage. Gives leaders the ability to act with clarity and focus. It grounds them and provides important information upon which they can make decisions. Without courage, decisions are made on the basis of tradition, habit, whim, or in a purely reactive mode.

-Judgment. Forces leaders to test ideas using reason, and it demands course correction and even sometimes retreat. Without good judgment, you run with an idea whether it’s good or not. Reckless judgment often leads to derailment.

-Fortitude. Helps leaders be resolute and inspires others to continue even in the face of challenges. This is a renewable source of energy for leaders that need to accomplish great tasks.

High-stakes leadership does not require you to be a special person or have unnatural powers. Nor must you necessarily be in a dangerous situation or in a tremendously risky environment. The essential aspects of good leadership endure even as the environment and tactics change. Indeed, courage, judgment, and fortitude are not merely tools for survival, but means by which leaders can sculpt the future for themselves, and for their organization.

Constance’s M&A clients enjoy a success rate 400% above the average. One client’s share price doubled two years after the deal. A second client achieved revenue growth 20% above plan and 30% above EBITDA. She helped a third client acquire another company, run it without a CEO, and restore the integrity of the brand.

In CEO succession, her clients retain over 95% of the internal executive talent who were contenders for the top job. In a crisis, she is known as “the secret weapon.”

Her clients include AAA, AT&T, Belk, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Chubb, Cox Enterprises, DIRECTV, IBM, Johnson Controls, Joy Global, NextGear Capital, Olive Garden, Schnabel Engineering, Tennessee Valley Authority, and Westinghouse.

Before she began her consulting career, Constance was a broker at Merrill Lynch. There, she observed firsthand the power of emotion and perceptual distortion on major decisions. Her curiosity about the behavior of clients and colleagues led her to study psychology and business, and earn a Ph.D. Upon graduating she joined a global consulting firm, where she was involved in solving high-stakes issues.


“Constance Dierickx illustrates High-Stakes Leadership with stories of leaders who exemplify her key leadership qualities of courage, judgement, and fortitude. I’d add another quality to this list: Her leaders show a degree of grace that is uncommon in the business world. These examples, backed by research, show what makes great leader during turbulent times.”

— Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell is Human

Her website is

To purchase the book click HERE


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