Cy Wakeman | Reality-Based Leadership: Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace and Turn Excuses into Results

Cy Wakeman

Reality-Based Leadership: Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace and Turn Excuses into Results

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Cy Wakeman

Cy Wakeman is a drama researcher, global thought-leader, and New York Times best- selling author who is recognized for cultivating a counter-intuitive, reality-based approach to leadership. Backed by 20 years of unparalleled experience, Wakeman's philosophy offers a new lens through which employees and executives alike, can shift their attention inward, sharpen their focus on personal accountability, and uncover their natural state of innovation simply by ditching the drama.

Deemed "the secret weapon to restoring sanity to the workplace," Wakeman has helped companies such as Google, Facebook, Viacom, NBC Universal, NASA, Pfizer, Johns Hopkins, Stanford Health Care, Keurig Dr. Pepper, AMC Theatres, White Castle, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and countless others learn to navigate our rapidly changing world using good mental processes to harness energy wasted in workplace drama and reinvest that effort into achieving profound business results.

As a highly sought-after conference headliner, Cy Wakeman holds a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation from the National Speaker's Association, placing her within the top 3% of speakers. She's a regular contributor on,, The Huffington Post, and Arianna Huffington's Thrive Global. She's been featured on the TODAY Show, the AskGaryVee Show with Gary Vaynerchuk, Cheddar TV, The New York Times, Business Insider, The Daily Muse, and many more. Voted in the top 100 leadership professional to follow on twitter for 7 years in a row, Wakeman also came in at #23 on the Global Gurus 2019 list of top 30 Leadership Professionals around the world.

Wakeman has published three books, the latest of which is No Ego: How to Cut the Cost of Drama, End Entitlement and Drive Big Results (2017). Cy also hosts her own No Ego podcast, a Facebook Watch show, Life's Messy, Live Happy, and adds weekly video content on YouTube to address leaders' biggest challenges in the workplace.

Cy Wakeman
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Cy Wakeman
Featured Keynote Programs

Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace - Know What Boosts Your Value, Kills Your Chances, and Will Make You Happier at Work

Nearly 68% of Americans report that their employers have taken steps such as putting a freeze on hiring or wages; laying off staff; reducing work hours, benefits or pay; requiring unpaid days off; or increasing work hours. Tough economic times have left fewer people to do the same amount of work. Jobs you used to love have become overwhelming; jobs you never loved have become intolerable. Employees have come to believe that suffering is now part of working life, and they are suffering more than ever.
What if you could go to work feeling energetic and excited? You could be valued and appreciated – even a favorite at the office. You could go into work everyday and have fun, be productive, and return home at peace, with energy left over for your family and friends. What if the things that are currently making you unhappy simply lost their power over you?
All this is possible and more. Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace has helped thousands of employees awaken to a different way of approaching their reality. They’ve come from feeling dejected and undervalued to a place where they are calm, creative, and freed from anxiety and resentment. Not because they work harder, or surrendered to the “man”, but because they’ve committed to changing their mindsets.
In this session, participants will be introduced to the five reality-based rules of the workplace – rules that will allow you to join the ranks of happy high performers. Consider these rules as your roadmap to higher ground.
The 5 Rules:
1. Your level of accountability determines your level of happiness, so DON’T HOPE TO
2. Suffering is optional, so DITCH THE DRAMA!
3. Buy-in is not optional. YOUR ACTION, NOT OPINION, ADDS VALUE.
4. Say “yes” to what’s next: CHANGE IS OPPORTUNITY.
5. You will always have extenuating circumstances. SUCCEED ANYWAY.
By using Reality-Based techniques to face your challenges, you can turn the job you already have into the job you want. Stop asking yourself, “Is it worth it?” and start asking, “Am I worth it?” If you follow the Reality-Based Rules, your answer to that question will be a resounding, “Yes.”
Program Objectives:
• Employees will gain clarity on ways to add true value to an organization and enhance fluency on navigating changing times.
• Learn how to use the new Employee Value Formula for measuring worth by quantifying factors such as current performance, future potential, and emotional expensiveness.
• Understand the five reality-based rules of becoming a happy top performer and how to apply those principals in the workplace.
• Participants will gain excitement about driving for organizational results through changing mindsets and the empowerment to take charge of their own happiness.

No Ego
How Leaders Can Cut the Cost of Drama, End Entitlement and Drive Big Results

Most leadership philosophies are grounded in two completely faulty assumptions - “change is hard” and “engagement drives results.” Those beliefs have inspired expensive attempts to keep change from being disruptive to employees. What these engagement programs actually do is create and reinforce feelings of victim-hood and leave employees unprepared to adapt to real changes that are necessary for the health and profitability of their enterprises. Rather than driving performance and creating efficiencies these programs fuel the Emotional Waste, Entitlement, and Drama that drags down organizations. This is backwards. And expensive.
Over the past three years, Reality-Based Leadership, in partnership with the Futures
Company, conducted proprietary research in our client organizations such as Cisco, Medtronic, New York Presbyterian, The Nebraska Medical Center and Bayer. The findings affirm what we’ve observed in our 20+ years of experience doing RealityBased work in hundreds of organizations: when employees indulge in distracting drama, learned helplessness, low accountability, lack of self-awareness, and ego-driven behavior it comes at a significant cost to their organizations. We now know it can easily consume up to three months per year of each employee’s time — potentially billions of dollars annually in the U.S. alone. That's the Drama Quotient.
At Reality-Based Leadership, we propose a radically different approach to leadership. Changing the ways leaders think and the strategies they use in their work is a serious and critical economic issue. A leader’s role shouldn’t be — cannot be — to motivate employees. That is a choice employees make. Instead, a leader helps others develop the great mental processes they need to eliminate self-imposed suffering and choose to be accountable for driving results.
Program Objectives:
• Discover strategies for eradicating entitlement with great tools such as the Engaged Action Planning Tool, and the Negative Brainstorming Tool which changes the energy of entire group meetings from “Why we can’t” to “How we could.”
• Develop highly effective mental processes in their teams that hold all team members accountable to quality and excellence
• Comprehend a list of questions that can be implemented immediately and used for self-reflection and awareness
• Understand engagement from an entirely different perspective, one that is based upon listening to the highly accountable employees

• Compelling research showing that current leadership strategic direction and foundational philosophies regarding change management, engagement, accountability and leadership development are flawed and causing significant waste in the workplace.
• Uncover modern approaches to engagement and change management strategies.
It is time to redefine leadership with science and research, to teach leaders strategies and tools that will actually work in their modern workplace. Leaders and organizations deserve to have a new understanding of what greatness looks like and how it can be fueled. No Ego delivers that call to greatness for all. It provides the roadmap to thinking differently about leadership and employee roles and actually delivering results, not in perfect circumstances but in today’s world.

Virtual Presentation

Introducing two new webinars for leaders and teams relevant to our world today. And while the webinars are new, online training is not new to Reality-Based Leadership, having delivered virtual and live on-line training for over ten years.

FOR LEADERS: Leading in Uncertainty and Crisis

Many of us are focused on how to “get through” the current pandemic so we can get back to business as usual. For Reality-Based leaders, the work at hand is about greatness - how to not only survive the daily in these times but to ensure that your team comes through this crisis better for it, evolved by it, and changed from it.

What you will take away from this session:
• This session will outline the role of a leader in profound uncertainty, capturing hearts and minds, keeping teams and individuals focused on the work at hand, all the while ensuring that the forces that will evolve your team and team members is not curtailed.

• Cy will interrupt your current thinking and provide tips and techniques to make sure that your team is impacted - but not traumatized - by recent events and that you are leveraging current times to build resilience in your teams and to recreate the way you work in the future.

FOR TEAMS: Finding Peace, Happiness, and Greatness in Transformative Times
In the midst of extreme challenges and disruption, peace, happiness, or greatness quickly start to seem like an impossibility. As humans, we quickly fall prey to the belief that we can’t succeed in circumstances like these and many buy in to the belief that our new normal is one of stress, anxiety, conflict, and suffering. We throttle down to settle for just “getting through” and surviving until things get back to the way things were before.

But what if we had the power to invoke another side of our uniquely human nature? And that part of our human nature is evolution. What if it didn’t have to be a time of stress and anxiety but instead a time of peace, reflection, growth, and adaption? Good news – it can be different. Even better news, at Reality-Based Leadership we know how to make it different.

We all have far more power over our experiences than we claim. Even in the toughest situations each of us can determine whether we are impacted or traumatized and whether our approaches and responses help or hinder our desired results. In fact, how one person experiences these times has a lot more to do with their mindsets, skillsets, habits, and strategies they are deploying than the actual circumstances we are facing.

What you will take away from this session:
• This session is designed to help each participant take a quick inventory of their current experience and learn new techniques, strategies, and concepts that are easy to implement and can immediately shift mindsets to one of peace in the present, and resilience in the future. If you are wondering how you can best support your teams through this crisis, here is a unique reminder of just how much positive impact they can have to succeed despite the challenging reality at hand.

Employee Engagement is Broken
Unlocking the True Driver of Employee Performance

This program takes a look at how engagement without personal accountability can create chaos in an organization. It helps leaders better understand how to increase both accountability and engagement in their organizations.

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