Alan Willett, Principal

Expert consultant, speaker, and award-winning author of Leading the Unleadable: How to Manage Cynics, Divas, and Other Difficult People, and Lead With Speed, Alan Willett is co-founder of Exceptional Difference. Alan works with clients around the world, including the UK, Turkey, South Africa, China, India, Canada, and Mexico, and of course, throughout the United States.

For more than two decades Alan Willett has consulted to HP, Oracle, Microsoft, NASA, General Motors, Intuit, NAVAIR, Orbital ATK, OnStar, Cornell University, Rutgers University, Technological de Monterrey, Acxiom, and many more. Alan’s passionate work has focused on leadership, with laser focus on the unique challenges of leading in the elevated pressure environments of high-technology developments.

Alan is the founder and president of Alan Willett Consulting, a consultancy that elevates leaders and organizations to world-class performance. Alan’s background in technology started with the first program he wrote at age 13, and his passion has continued to this day. Earlier in his career, Willett was a key leader at Xerox and designed high-end production systems, including the first-ever internet print production publisher. This product alone resulted in $40 billion in revenue for Xerox. Alan had access to many of the technologies Xerox invented at its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) before they were introduced to the rest of the world through products from Apple, Adobe, and others.

After leaving Xerox, Alan joined the world’s leading think tank on high technology development, the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), located at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. At SEI, Alan joined other renowned thought leaders in developing cutting-edge methodologies adopted by corporations globally, including the Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI) and the Team Software Process (TSP). The TSP was rated the top Agile methodology by Capers Jones in his seminal book Software Engineering Best Practices: Lessons from Successful Projects in the Top Companies (McGraw-Hill: 2010). Through this work, Alan was able to establish a worldwide network of peers and thought leaders that constantly push the high-tech development world to “do better.” It is from this position that Alan launched his consultancy in 2012.

Alan has been quoted and featured in a number of interviews and publications including The CEO Wisdom Exchange, #NextChat, The Matt Townsend Show, Associations NOW, The Globe and Mail, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Health Financial Management Association (HFMA), Skip Prichard’s Leadership Insights, Pete Mockatitis’ How to Be Awesome at Your Job, RocketMBA Rocket of the Week, South Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper, and others.

Alan has designed and taught many different workshops at universities and corporations around the world, reaching over 2000 people directly. His personal backstory enlivens his writing and his speaking. He grew up on a dairy farm that had been in the family for over 170 years, and which was honored as the dairy farm of the year for New York State for many years running. Alan has run across the United States from ocean to ocean with his college team, beating the record of the Pony Express and earning him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. He is a co-founder of EcoVillage at Ithaca, the largest co-housing ecovillage in the world, which is spotlighted in news on a global basis, including Japan and France, and featured in the book “Ecovillage at Ithaca: Pioneering a Sustainable Culture” by Liz Walker, (New Society Publishers: 2005).

Collaboration with Exceptional Difference Principal, Julia Mullaney, inspired him to double down on his love for training the best engineering minds in the world. Willett holds a B.S. Computer Science from Rochester Institute of Technology, and Master’s in Technology from Walden University.

Alan encourages everyone to get out there and make a positive difference in the world.