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Ken Jennings is the Managing Partner of VentureWorks. He works with leading corporations globally to create next-generation human capital organizations and practices. He is a recognized expert in executive coaching, organizational development, leadership assessment and development, human resource systems, strategy execution and the management of change.

Ken was a co-director of the Global Leadership Program at the University of Michigan Business School. Modeled around the GE Crotonville Center for Leadership Development, the program focused on the development of executives while accomplishing breakthroughs in critical projects.

Ken is currently working with the top management of Guidant Corporation, Lilly Pharmaceuticals, and Entegris to implement innovative new approaches to human capital effectiveness and leadership development.

Previously, Ken was a Managing Partner at Accenture in change management. He delivered client engagements in human capital strategy, organizational transformation, leadership and team development, strategic and scenario planning, information systems implementation, and service operations improvement. Prior to Accenture, Ken won an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy and then served as a military officer around the world in various leadership roles. After government service, Ken built a successful change management firm, the Pacer Group, which he subsequently sold to Accenture.

Particular Competencies Include:

  • The Execution of Strategy through Human Capital Development
  • Diagnosing Organizational and Leadership Performance Gaps
  • Facilitating Organizational Performance Improvement
  • Assisting Senior Management on Leadership Development
  • Action Learning and Executive Coaching for Leadership Effectiveness
  • Developing High Performance Teamwork
  • Establishing a Strategic Human Capital Change Agenda
Mergers and Acquisitions Ken was leader in Accenture's post-merger integration practice. Ken helped clients achieve maximum value with post-merger integration projects.


Ph.D. in Organizational Development, Purdue University, Krannert Graduate School of Management. (1986)
M.S. in Management, Air Force Institute of Technology, Dayton Ohio (1981)
B.S. Leadership and Behavioral Science, the United States Air Force Academy (1977)
Kellogg Management Institute, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern Univ. (1997)

Thought Leadership

A respected author and lecturer, Ken's research in leadership, organizational development and human performance has appeared in the Academy of Management Review, the Journal of Business Strategy, Group & Organization Management, The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, The Journal of Applied Psychology, and The Journal of Organizational Behavior.

His book, Changing Health Care; Creating Tomorrow's Winning Health Enterprise, focuses on the key strategies, e-commerce and core competencies used by leading health organizations to transform healthcare. Ken has worked at more than over 25 large healthcare systems. His new book, The Serving Leader, was recently published in the Ken Blanchard management series. The book focuses on leadership with integrity and purpose.

Faculty and Executive Education Experience

  • The University of Michigan Global Leadership Program
  • Columbia University Business School - Adjunct Professor in Leadership
  • Wheaton College- Adjunct Professor in Strategy and Leadership
  • King's Fund College, London, UK- Strategy lecturer
  • University of Maryland, East Asian Division - Faculty in Management
  • American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Fellowship Faculty
  • The Air Force Institute of Technology - Graduate Faculty in Organizational Behavior

At the University of Michigan Business School, Ken worked with five senior healthcare leadership teams. Participants experienced "compressed Action Learning," where they worked collaboratively on an organization team and learned from each other, as well as from faculty, while tackling real issues that have real impact on their organizations.

The antithesis of an off-the-shelf traditional educational program, the experience was dynamic, ambiguous, and uncertain - an opportunity to conquer the same hazards and hardships participants face in their actual work.

Representative Experience

Ken has been responsible for helping create growth strategies and human capital innovations for many of the leading healthcare, manufacturing, defense, financial services and service organizations in the country including:

Abbott Laboratories, Aerojet Corporation, Citadel Capital, JP Morgan Partners, General Electric (Jet Engine Division), General Mills-Pillsbury, Aetna-Healthcare, The American Hospital Association, Astra-Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, BioAegis, Blue Cross and Blue Shields of Michigan, Illinois, and Florida, The Cleveland Health Network, Dade-Behring Medical Diagnostics, Department of Defense, Department of the Treasury, Entegris Corporation, Guidant Corporation, Kaiser Permenente Health System, Lilly Pharmaceuticals, LifeSpan Hospitals, New England Medical Center, The National Pharmaceutical Council, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Pacificare, Pequot Capital, United Healthcare, The United States Air Force, Value Health, and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

Guidant Corporation

Ken worked with the senior leadership at Guidant Corporation to re-design HR processes and align them to the company's business strategy. Re-designed HR processes include management selection, development and succession planning; base compensation and incentive programs; performance planning and appraisal; employee and labor relations; management and employee stock incentive programs; selection and development of retail management; and employee relations and education.

The Guidant initiatives aim to:

Accelerate learning by best potential leaders and managers deep into the pipeline; select high payoff individuals for multiple, serial-challenging assignments and Action Learning experience; and hold them accountable for both job performance and developmental learning.

Adopt teaching by the most capable leaders and mangers as the strategic lever by which knowledge is translated into people development and put into action.

Relentlessly work to remove obstacles to progress, whether they are restrictive policies, poor work designs, process hurdles, poor leadership, or anything else that stands in the way of success.

Guidant is a global leader in the medical technology industry with more than 11,000 employee-owners worldwide. The company has also been named a Fortune "100 Best Companies To Work For" consistently over the past several years.

Lilly Pharmaceuticals

At Lilly Japan, Ken is working with the CEO and senior management to develop an innovative leadership development approach. Using Action Learning, Ken is developing a leadership development approach that combines the best of North American and Japanese approaches.

Action Learning in Japan is being used to:

Reinforce cultural beliefs, values, and practices

Build relationships across levels, functions and geographies

Create a learning community

Connect leadership development with empowering others to succeed

Test and develop the next generation of potential leaders

Entegris, Inc.

At this public company, Ken is working with the Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer to reinvent the Human Capital practices of the corporation. The corporation has decided to adopt the framework articulated in Ken's new book, The Serving Leader, as their central approach.

The framework includes:

  • Building on strength by arranging each person in the team to contribute what they do best
  • Helping everyone in the organization achieve their goals - providing the vision, direction, training and tools necessary for others to succeed
  • Relentlessly working to remove obstacles to progress, whether they are restrictive policies, poor work designs, process hurdles, poor leadership, or anything else that stands in the way of success
  • Keeping personal egos under control, while doing whatever is necessary to help the organization succeed
  • Selecting new leaders based on their demonstrated track record of genuinely serving others

Flagship Capital

Following the events of September 11, Ken was asked by a group of investors to create the leadership team and organizational architecture for critically needed new bio-defense capabilities. The work called for collaborative strategy development, leadership development, the integration of complex biotechnology, nano-technology, and diagnostic sensors technologies, as well as merger and acquisition planning.

Financial Services Organization (Confidential Project)

At the world's largest hedge fund, in a confidential project, Ken worked with senior management to identify executive leadership competencies that were directly linked to financial performance in the market. Ken completed a global, in-depth assessment and data collection on the top players, and integrated the research data and created a strategy execution and executive competency model that was linked to operating performance.

Abbott Laboratories

Ken focused on the radical reinvention of the critical research and development capability. The consulting project is focused on bringing together new innovative work practices, leading-edge knowledge management technology, collaborative leadership approaches and new strategic architectures to create the next generation R&D organization.

Pillsbury-General Mills

Applying innovative approaches to high performance work systems, Ken redesigned four existing production facilities and led the development of a greenfield distribution facility. The results were dramatic order of magnitude improvements in productivity. These projects were viewed as among the most successful work design projects in the history of these organizations.

Kaiser Permanente, Department of Health and Human Services, Veterans Hospital Association

Ken developed and delivered new models of clinical care (i.e., patient-focused, case-managed, cross-trained) at nationally recognized academic medical centers and integrated delivery systems. The projects created dramatic financial turnaround, improved satisfaction, increased utilization, and improved care. Additional focuses included supply chain cost reduction, lean manufacturing, supply sourcing, and time compression and e-commerce channels of distribution.