Developing Leaders and Organizations for Breakthrough Results
print  |  e-mail  

Client Testimonials

"Setting himself apart from so many in his field, Doug is skilled at moving senior leaders to action with a sense of urgency and clarity. He is able to understand and shift business and cultural dynamics with the immediacy of delivering results 'now'. He guided a collection of disparate yet talented senior executives to a breakthrough in embracing our responsibilities to leverage our talents as a team... "

Eileen Sweeney
HR VP Global Operations


In the 20 years I've known Doug Adams, we have worked together on strategy, organizational change and leadership development projects in several organizations. Doug brings a unique combination of deep business knowledge, strategic thinking, and expertise in leadership and "people development" to every project and business relationship. Doug's experience, collaborative style and facilitation skills help senior teams and leaders quickly identify critical issues and build alignment around key actions and strategies. His authenticity, his honesty, and his credible presence have made him a trusted advisor, coach, and mentor to executives in nearly every industry and around the world. I recommend him unequivocally.

Jon Anastasio
Vice President, Learning & Development
Nordstrom, Inc.
Seattle, WA

Doug Adams began working with MAS Holdings senior management in 1995 and has been working with us in a variety of projects and assignments almost continuously ever since. Over the years his guidance, coaching and influence have been an important ingredient in our growth and success. In that period we have grown from $30M to nearly $1B in revenue and now have 45,000 employees worldwide.

He has provided ongoing counsel and coaching to me and the other senior leaders on organizational talent management, team building and leadership issues and strategic challenges.

Doug was instrumental in supporting me, in creating and building the first MAS leadership team which we called the “Corporate Executive Council”. Furthermore, he helped us structure a process in which we created and developed alignment with our first corporate vision, values and strategy.

He designed a tailored leadership development program which has become known throughout the company as “The Doug Adams Leadership Program”. In 2008 our 200th leader completed this multi-session program and it has become a “right of passage” for leaders across the company. The program receives universal praise from all who have completed it and has been a major factor in helping us create a leadership brand and a common mindset across the company.

Doug has worked with all of the companies within our group and helped them develop their leaders, build their senior teams and create an aligned organization. He is a highly valued and respected business partner, coach, and mentor. In the fifteen years we have worked with Doug we know his integrity, competence, dedication and judgment are second to none. He is a true friend of MAS Holdings and of Sri Lanka. I recommend his work without reservation.

Mahesh Amalean
MAS Holdings
Colombo, Sri Lanka

We are a rapidly evolving organization that serves as the operational core of Sony Music's ability to compete in the challenging, evolving and rapidly changing landscape that is digital music and media. In early 2008 we determined that to keep up with continued rapid growth and the expanding rate of change and complexity required us to act. Centerpiece to that action was measurably increasing our leadership capability overall, enhance leadership team collaboration across functions and the globe, and bolster personal effectiveness. After reviewing proposals from several respected consulting firms, including CCL, we selected Doug Adams and his colleagues at MDA Associates International. Doug and his team designed and implemented what we've called our development "journey."

While still in process, the journey has included a series of workshops for our top 33 leaders that has focused on developing leadership skills and increasing personal effectiveness through awareness. The assessments, intensive coaching, workshops and personal and team support have all been designed and delivered in a manner that represents a keen awareness of our needs and challenges and has been delivered with a high level of skill and effectiveness. Our leaders have all benefited tremendously, both personally and professionally, and we are a more collaborative and much better lead organization as a result. The journey has actually helped us change the culture within the organization. I have gained a great deal personally and I know I'm a more effective, engaging and thoughtful leader as a result of Doug's coaching, feedback and support. We look forward to continuing the journey as the business changes and our needs evolve.

Scott Dinsdale
Senior Vice President
Digital Operations & New Technology
Sony Music Entertainment

Doug Adams has been a revolutionary in the field of leadership development & team building having proven his expertise across diverse industries worldwide. Having had Doug as my leadership ‘guru' for over a decade, I have come to rate his judgment and integrity above all others I've worked with. Doug's insights and competence in developing effective leadership are second to none. He is amazing at being able to keep the attention of his audience with his experiences, insights and knowledge gained over decades of corporate & consulting experience. A hallmark of Doug's leadership development programs is the use of powerful assessment and learning tools and techniques to identify shortcomings and strengths within leaders. Doug has worked in collaboration with us towards building world class leadership for over fifteen years. His contributions towards MAS have proved invaluable over the years, having played critical roles in shaping & developing our leadership teams as well as initiating strategic planning, coaching senior leaders and building our organization culture.

Dian Gomes
Managing Director MAS Intimates & Group Director MAS Holdings
Vice President, National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka

I am pleased to write a testimonial to acknowledge the work that Doug Adams has done for our young company. We are a player in the rapidly changing/evolving and fiercely competitive social networking market space. About a year ago we recognized that we needed help in significantly elevating our leadership capability, creating an aligned, focused and engaged organization and building a highly committed, high performing senior management team. Doug worked with us rather intensely for a six month period. He made an exceptional contribution to our entire organization. Personally, Doug taught me the difference between management and leadership. Through his coaching he made me more self-aware and more comfortable and effective as a leader and significantly increased my ability to lead and continue to build an aligned, focused and collaborative senior team. And through our work, I learned important things about the members of our team, too, even those I had worked with closely for years.

Doug worked as effectively with our younger development engineers, marketing & sales staff and project leaders as he did with me and the rest of the senior leadership team. He designed and facilitated a very successful two-day session with cross-functional follow-up meetings that helped us engage all our staff in clarifying our vision and gaining full agreement on a set of values, strategic priorities and longer term direction. He designed and conducted a leadership development program that included 360 degree assessments and individual coaching for our senior staff and he helped build our senior team into a more aligned and collaborative group. Doug did an exceptional job of working with all levels of staff and has made a significant contribution to our company. I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to ask him to help us again when the need arises.

Tom Gerace
CEO and Chairman

We are a pioneer and leader in manufacturing and exporting high quality apparel for many leading fashion brands and also a leader in the tourism and leisure sector of Sri Lanka having partnered with well known international hotel chains. Several years ago we acknowledged that continued growth, geographical dispersion, increased competition and intense cost pressure all required that we move our leadership to the next level to face these challenges. We felt that we could benefit from the learning of newer leadership paradigms. We asked Doug Adams to do an analysis of our needs and situation and recommend a program that would help us update and improve our leadership effectiveness while maintaining our company core values. After a thorough analysis of our needs through dialogue with the senior management of the organization, Doug presented his findings and recommendations to the Board of Directors and we decided to carry out the recommended programs.

To date, Doug has conducted his multi-session Hirdaramani Leadership Program for three groups of our most senior leaders, worked with the family members of the board, provided coaching to our senior leaders and helped us address our strategic challenges. Doug quickly became highly respected within the company and developed a strong reputation among a group of senior leaders. He has made a huge impact on the way we think about and act on leadership and talent management. Doug did an outstanding job in understanding our unique needs and designing and delivering a program that was of the highest quality. We would not hesitate to use him again in the future.

Janak Hirdaramani
Hirdaramani Group of Companies

When I was serving in a VP of HR role at The Gillette Company we had the opportunity of working with Doug Adams in an HR strategy initiative in which we were transitioning from a service provider orientation to a value added partner. Doug structured and lead this process with competence, confidence and integrity and was respected by the senior team across the company. Doug worked with a number of our operating divisions in projects ranging from leadership development and strategy to team building, coaching and organizational change. For over 10 years he helped design and deliver our leadership development programs in the US, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. The response to his work around the world was always outstanding. He is a respected, trusted and valued partner.

Thomas Webber
VP, HR Global Operations
Boston Scientific

My firm was growing and our market diversification strategy was taking hold – yet as CEO I sensed that those elements of success were being achieved in parallel with internal organizational issues that produced staff discontent and operational ineffectiveness. I didn't know what was driving this inconsistency and so, on the recommendation of my human resource director, I retained Doug Adams to perform an independent assessment of what was causing this situation. What I learned from Doug's insightful and brutally candid assessment, based upon broad-based, one-on-one interviews with my staff, was simultaneously sobering but also helpful. I had some serious leadership, management, collaboration and cultural issues that needed to be addressed and resolved. Fortunately, Doug had seen similar situations before in other organizations and shared convincing evidence that he could help me and my management team further diagnose, understand, and effectively address our challenges. This was the start of a three year relationship with Doug that featured a long term change process that included further assessment work, including intense self-assessments with me and my leadership team, and focused workshop activities conducted by multifunctional teams of my staff to identify and attack root-cause issues. Throughout this engagement with Doug my staff and I learned a lot about our organization, its culture, and leadership and management techniques for addressing our needs. There were no silver bullets, but rather lots of insightful analyses, internal problem solving , and hard work. Addressing our issues is still a work in progress, but under Doug Adams' guidance we made significant progress. As Doug continued to say, "you've got to be willing to do the work". Doug's great value was to help us figure out what work needed to be done and how best to proceed.

Wendell Knox
President & CEO
Abt Associates, Inc.

Doug worked with me and the senior management team at SriLankan Airlines over a period of two years. With Doug's help we made major progress in developing the senior management into a collaborative and focused team. We also achieved significant progress in developing our leadership capability and had success in getting the top 75 leaders of the organization engaged in a process to identify the major challenges in our company culture ,define the culture of the future and developed a strategy and process for changing the company culture.

Doug is a superb coach and program presenter and was extremely effective in helping me change my leadership behavior as we worked our way through this major change process. I learned a great deal from him.

Peter Hill
CEO, Oman Air
Muscat, Oman

While at the Sony Music Corporation, Doug and I collaborated multiple times to produce world-class leadership programs that addressed the unprecedented business challenges facing the music industry, and designed programs to increase leadership effectiveness that were grounded in self-awareness, executive assessment and personal coaching. Doug's unparalleled expertise in solving leadership challenges for teams and individuals globally made a difference at all levels from a first time manager to the President of a business unit. Doug tailors solutions specific to your unique strategies, culture, people and business challenges and he produces results. I look forward to working with Doug again.

Robert Perkins
Vice President, Talent Management
Burger King Corporation

I have known Doug for over 25 years, initially as a colleague and then as a client as I engaged him to address sensitive leadership challenges with CEOs and their direct reports. Having worked with various consultants throughout my global career, Doug continues to be the first I reach out to. He stands apart for a multitude of reasons.

  • His understanding of the dynamics to be addressed within global leadership teams is second to none. His extensive international experience combined with his keen insight into human behavior and cultural dimensions brings Doug the credibility to swiftly move leaders and their global teams forward.
  • Doug rapidly surfaces behavioral issues that are obstacles to business success and leverages his vast body of knowledge to help leaders understand that sustainable success starts with self awareness. He is uniquely skilled in guiding CEOs to truly understand themselves and achieve breakthroughs in honestly articulating both personal and organizational issues and challenges. Much has been written about the isolation and lack of feedback loops that plague senior leaders. Adeptly delivering the tough message about self awareness and self management both in one-on-one and in team meetings, while retaining the respect of the participants, is one of his enviable talents.
  • Setting himself apart from so many in his field, Doug is skilled at moving his leaders to action with a sense of urgency and speed. He is able to combine longer term needs to shift commercial and cultural dynamics with the immediacy of delivering results ‘now'. In one of our engagements together, he guided a collection of disparate yet talented senior executives to a breakthrough in embracing our responsibilities to leverage our talents as a team – we overachieved against business results in the first year and earned 200% of our bonus after many years of chronically falling short of targets.

Eileen Sweeney
VP, HR Global Operations
Nuance Communications, Inc.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to bring Doug into three companies to help us address our needs in the areas of leadership and organization development, coaching senior leaders and strategic planning. The first was in a very rapidly growing and prominent software company, the second in a financial services firm and the third in a social networking start-up. Over the years I have learned to rely on Doug's knowledge, competence and integrity and have observed his ability to effectively work with and develop a wide range of staff from senior software engineering leaders and seasoned mutual fund managers and VPs to young web designers and engineers in a social networking start-up.

Doug recently helped us design and implement a very successful vision, values and strategy process in which all staff were effectively engaged and committed to the outcomes . He is as effective in developing rapport, trust and commitment from junior staff as he is with the CEO and teams at that level. Doug develops great and trusting relationships with senior leaders and his work produces results. I have a high degree of confidence in Doug and will use him again in the future.

Bob Nicoson
VP and Chief Human Resources Officer
Constant Contact, Inc.

As the VP of Learning and Development at Sony Music, I have had the pleasure of retaining and then working closely with Doug Adams, President of MDA Associates International. It was one of the easiest professional decisions I ever made. Doug had been working for many years with our leadership teams and his reputation in the company was stellar.

One of our digital marketing groups, a critical function in the music business, called upon Doug to help them. Its leader was a brilliant music executive who knew enough to raise his hand when he saw his equally brilliant team functioning at less than optimal levels. Traditionally, music executives are rewarded for being creative; not for leading teams. This leader knew that his success and Sony Music's success might hinge on how well he could manage and lead his team in the changing world of music and entertainment. Over the course of a year the team made tremendous strides in their individual and group development and effectiveness.

In 2009 Doug and I worked together on a leadership and teamwork program for 35 of our leaders at Sony Music. Not only is he almost inspirational in his delivery, but he is the consummate professional coach. His analysis of needs and solutions proved spot-on for each participant. Doug has an uncanny ability to assess a team's strengths and developmental needs. Over the course of the program, I watched in awe as he coached people to be more thoughtful, more authentic, more dynamic, and more effective. This type of feedback might be hard to swallow but Doug made it almost welcome for our leaders.

I can whole-heartedly recommend Doug for organizations that need one-on-one coaching, leadership development, or sessions that re-focus a team on reaching its critical mission. I value his thought leadership in human resources strategy, leadership and organizational development and look forward to working with him again in the near future.

Ann Marie Morris
Formerly VP, Learning & Development Sony Music Entertainment