Tom Ori

Professional FocusOrganizational and Individual Alignment; Leader as Coach; Courageous Followership, Key Talent Development; The Paradoxes of Human Performance.

Tom is a principal and founder of Next Level Performance Group, an organizational development consulting and training firm based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Tom applies his versatile background as performance trainer, leadership coach, and process improvement guide to regular clients Simplot Grower Solutions, Astellas Pharmaceuticals and Abbott Nutrition.

As both a trainer and one-to-one coach, Tom is an unapologetic leadership geek. He emphasizes applied-learning and interactive learning methods to accelerate awareness and growth.  Imaginative business simulations, purposeful practice sessions and shadowing leaders are a few of his favorite ways to engage clients. Tom also uses assessment instruments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, Leadership Practices Inventory® (a.k.a. Kouzes and Posner 360), Blanchard SLII Leadership Model® and custom-360 degree feedback to increase individuals’—and organizations’—appreciation of strengths and areas for improvement. Since 2006, he has dedicated a significant amount of his time to the design and delivery of key talent (sometimes referred to as high potential) leadership development processes. He created the Next Level Leaders training as one way to accelerate leaders’ effectiveness in the early months after a promotion. Leaders who are on the eve of being promoted can learn the skills they’ll need at the next level–and unlearn those skills that will hold them back–before moving into the new role.

As a leader at Next Level Performance since 1998, Tom faces many of the same financial and people leadership challenges that NLP’s clients face.  He brings to bear his personal leadership experiences and those anecdotes he observes in client organizations to current clients.  In private, he will admit he worries about the prospect that Next Level will fall prey to the “Cobbler’s Children” syndrome and spends considerable effort to practice internally that which NLP trains externally.

Upon completion of undergraduate work, Tom served as research and writing assistant to the McHugh Professor of American Institutions and Leadership at Colorado College, contributing to the publication of two books on grass-roots and government leadership. Prior to starting Next Level in 1998, he was a senior trainer for eight years with Peak Performance Associates.  As a trainer at Peak Performance, Tom regularly delivered the team leadership module for the Center for Creative Leadership’s Leadership Development Program (LDP).

Tom earned a B.A. from Colorado College where he graduated cum laude and with distinction.  He has completed several courses towards a Masters degree in Human and Organizational Development from the Fielding Institute in Santa Barbara, California. His research and practice emphasis was identifying the key systems and behaviors necessary for “middle-out” (in contrast to “top down”) organizational transformation.

A movie buff, Tom has been known to wildly digress from a meeting’s initial purpose in order to hear somebody’s Top 10 List. It is common to hear him defend the leadership lessons and social merits of The Godfather I and II and apologize for Part III… Whatever you do, avoid asking him his opinion about The English Patient.

A question he frequently asks senior leaders: In the opening scenes of A Few Good Men, why is the director showing us the extraordinary skills of the USMC Silent Precision Drill Team?  Discuss!