Basic Info

Larry Senn
Contributor Status:
Native AdVice
Initial Contribution Date:
Primary Location:
Sunset Beach, Huntington Beach, CA USA

Career Info

Primary Industry:
Coaching / Training
Personal Career Headline:
Founder, Senn Delaney
Business Description (One-Liner):

Senn Delaney, a Heidrick & Struggles company, was the first firm in the world to focus exclusively on transforming cultures. Since our founding in 1978, our singular focus has been to positively impact the world by inspiring leaders to create thriving organizational cultures.

An organization’s culture plays a significant role in its ability to successfully execute strategic plans. We help companies define, align and scale the culture that will drive organizational results by:

  • Creating high-performance teams at the top that lead culture transformation
  • Measurably shifting the mindset and behaviors of all leaders and employees
  • Scaling our proven process from CEO to frontlines anywhere in the world

Some of the greatest problems companies experience may stem from an unhealthy culture. We help companies address many challenges by shaping the organizational culture in a variety of business situations, including:

  • Aligning executive teams when there are new leaders and/or new roles
  • Integrating cultures following mergers and acquisitions
  • Shaping the culture to support new strategies and structure
  • Helping minimize cultural barriers to change when implementing major, organizational systems or processes
  • Creating greater organizational agility to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing marketplace

Senn Delaney operates internationally with offices in California, New York and London. To best serve our clients around the world, our partners and consultants are located throughout the US, the UK, and Europe. We have delivered our work in more than 50 countries and 10 languages.

Our consultants and partners are all former seasoned executives. Collectively, they have experience working with firms across all industries. Many of our consultants were former clients who were so engaged by our work that they chose to join our team.

We have worked with thousands of companies, including hundreds of Fortune 500 and Global 1000 organizations, to shape their organizational cultures to deliver measurably better results. Clients we serve are the top level of leadership of Fortune 1000 and Global 1000 companies. Our clients also include major non-profit organizations, colleges and universities and city, state and federal governments.

My Native AdVert

Career Snapshot:

Larry’s 1970 doctoral dissertation, Organizational Character as a Tool in the Analysis of Business Organizations, played a key role in Larry’s journey. It was the first field study of corporate culture in America. Based on his principal finding that “organizations become shadows of their leaders,” Larry created Senn Delaney – the culture-shaping firm – to work with CEO teams and organizations from top to bottom to create the behaviors needed to support strategies and enhance business results.

Larry’s vision and leadership for more than 30 years has helped Senn Delaney become an international firm that is widely recognized as the leading authority and practitioner in the field of culture shaping. Based on his early work, Larry was recently named “The father of corporate culture” by CEO Forum magazine.

In addition to his role as chairman, Larry actively works with clients on culture-shaping initiatives. He also guides Senn Delaney’s product development team to continually improve offerings and services to enhance all aspects of the Senn Delaney culture-shaping methodology.

Larry has led culture-shaping engagements for the leaders of numerous organizations, including dozens of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, state governors, members of two U.S. president’s cabinets, deans of business schools and the presidents of major universities. He has extensive experience working with top leaders in a wide range of industries, including telecommunications, retailing, insurance, financial services, consumer products, energy and health care. Larry is an accomplished consultant, business advisor, group facilitator, author and CEO coach.

Prior to founding Senn Delaney, Larry ran his own retail business in college, was a senior engineer in the aerospace industry and a faculty member at University of Southern California and University of California Los Angeles where he taught leadership. He was also an assistant coach of UCLA’s championship gymnastics team.

Larry was a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year in Southern California. He and his wife Bernadette are active joggers and fitness enthusiasts and Larry is a triathlete. They have five children, three grown, one in the business school at USC and one still at home. Born and raised in the midwest, he now resides in Sunset Beach, California.

Native AdMission Statement (AKA Personal Brand Pitch):

The title of my talk at SXSW this year sums up much of who I am – 83 year old triathlete talks corporate culture. I was named the Father of Corporate Culture and it has been my passion for over 50 years. I conducted the world’s first research on culture and founded the world’s first culture shaping firm, Senn Delaney, 40 years ago. We have touched thousands of organizations and millions of people. Family, fitness and purpose guide my life. I have 5 children and 6 grandchildren Four are grown children and one that just left the nest for college. My wife and I had Logan our youngest when she was 52 and I was 65. Fitness became a passion so I could keep up with him. My life purpose is to help more and more people live life at their best mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

My Native AdVice

How did you get into the industry?:

Consulting – Loved case studies in Grad school. A professor mentored me and I loved the variety and challenge of helping fix businesses.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?:

It would be a company with thousands of employees. All would gain life effectiveness concepts from Senn Delaney which enhance their experience of life, make the leaders better leaders, the employee more engaged and appreciated, the teams more effective and the organization more successful.

How do you motivate others?:

Everyone wants to feel heard and valued and appreciated. Everyone has gifts that are worth being appreciated for. People follow leaders who make the feel good about themselves and what they accomplish.

My Native AdVantage

Biggest Success?:

Helping raise an amazing family. Inventing an industry – culture shaping. Building a world class business. Creating a never before seen in business way to shift lifelong habits of adults – what we call and unfreezing, our insight learning model.

What Else To Know

My Goal of the Day:

Make a positive difference in the lives of people I meet and touch

My Thought of the Day:

Be at my best so I can do my best

My Action of the Day:

Take care of my body in some way

My Deed of the Day:

Raise someone’s spirits by appreciating something about them

My Tip of the Day:

Proceed with caution in a low mood as your thinking is unreliable and you may say or do something you wish you could take back

Tell Us More:

What are the secrets of an 83 year Triathlete who still is working full time as chairman of a global culture consulting firm?

1.Have a purpose bigger than you and one you are passionate about – For me it is my family and the work I do to help people, teams and cultures be healthier, happier and more effective.

2. Maintain a healthy state of mind– I’ve learned to worry less, judge others less and know how to restrain myself from doing damage when I slide down The Mood Elevator. Regular meditation helps. Calm is a great app as are the free Oprah and Deepak Choprah series. I was given a gift to understand the role of thought. That what we think is how we feel and we are the thinker. Learning about and writing the book the Mood Elevator grounded me in these principles.

3. Use it or lose it. The body and mind is designed to stretch and then recover. For me my mind is challenged by every changing situations, clients and cultures. I stretch my body with aerobic exercise for cardio vascular health, weight lifting for muscle and bone mass and stretching to stay limber. The Triathlon training gets me to run, bike and swim. I track my activity with my fit Bit and check my steps each day.

4. Sleep supports the body and the mind. The body needs to shut down to recover. The brain benefits from sleep as does the body. If you ever had a bad day then got a good night sleep and took a morning walk and felt great and were clear headed you know what I mean. I track my sleep with my fit Bit.

5. Eat right to live long. Next to exercise and genes, what we eat has the biggest influence on longevity, a topic that is a passion of mine. I receive about 6 University Health newsletters and look for research studies on health and nutrition. The best food to eat for you is a very confusing topic. Low fat, low carb, paleo, vegetarian all claim to be of benefit. What I see they all agree on is that sugar and refined flour as in breads and pastries and cookies are universally seen as bad. And they are. What I tell people is that when I see a chocolate chip cookie, I see the face of my 19 year old and pass on it. Most also seem to agree that there are good fats like walnuts, olive oil and other sources of omega 3 oils. Some feel salmon is good because it is such a rich source of natural omega 3. What that has led me to over the years is a modified and loosely followed vegan diet. Starting with the worst no no’s for me are cured meats which too many studies show contribute to heart problems and cancer. Next is red meat because of saturated fats. Chicken breast is much better but I have dropped that too. ( My 19 year old is a carnivore) That leaves me with salmon as the only meat I eat. I also dropped most other sources of saturated fat like milk and cheese. Not saying anyone should do this but I believe it is part of what allows me to jump on plane most weeks, do triathlons and have of energy left over.

A Day in My Life:

It varies a great deal as I travel 2 to 3 weeks a month doing seminars and working with clients. On the road it is planes, Ubers and hotels. I work out as much as I can.

At home I:

  • Meditate when I first wake up – say a prayer that I can be my best and do my best that day
  • Eat a heathy breakfast – a oatmeal type cereal with the addition of ground flax seed, unsalted pumpkin seeds and almonds and walnuts with soy milk
  • Work out weights , bike or run
  • Get to work late and leave late

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

Love Waze to navigate anywhere and Calm to meditate

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