Dr. Jim Murray
is the founder and CEO of
optimal solutions international.
D e s c r i b e d b y
h i s c l i e n t s a s a “ r a r e b r e e d ”
a n d b y h i s s t u d e n t s
a s a “ m a n o f b r i l l i a n c e .”
He holds four degrees in entirely different disciplines, taught marketing and organizational dynamics at several Canadian universities, led a corporately-sponsored residential leadership development program on creative thinking and innovation at Princeton University for selected “fast track” executives, provided counsel to senior military officers on cross-cultural communications in international “hot spots” and is a much sought-after adviser on enterprise revitalization and building high performance.
Jim has over 40 years of hands-on experience in leadership development in both the public and private sectors, is a best-selling author and specialist in influence psychology, a former professor of International Law, labour relations mediator and change agent with an enviable track record of accomplishments. He has held high-profile engagements as a dispute conciliator, hospital ombudsman and provincial supervisor of a large urban school board. His career achievements include executive posts in academe, consulting services and the international marketing communications industry.
Having provided counsel to over 600 organizations during his exemplary career, Jim is convinced that surviving and thriving in today’s volatile, increasingly complex competitive but unpredictable landscape requires an entirely different way of thinking and the proven ability to reframe troubling problems into exciting opportunities. In short, they require a transformational thinker. He has demonstrated his uncanny ability to simplify complex issues, reconfigure precious resources, engage the new demographic in today’s workforce and design optimal business strategies for an uncertain, disruptive world order – one we’ve never witnessed before but in which we now live and work.
Jim is often called upon to provide advice on such vexing organizational challenges as ensuring the existing culture and leadership team are equipped to respond to the inherent problems of an innovation-centric economy, the compelling dictates of random events, and the absolute necessity of engaging and unleashing the enormous creative potential of a younger, more energetic workforce. His engagements frequently deal with issues of performance and accountability – ranging from changing traditional business and management models, streamlining decision making and aligning the executive team to facilitating dispute resolution and developing protocols for reconciling efficiency with innovation.
Holding a doctorate in educational theory, Jim spent 18 years as a senior academic administrator at two Ontario universities. He was managing editor of a refereed journal for over a decade, served as an evaluator of new educational technologies for the federal government and has been nationally honoured for his career in the field of adult learning.
He has conducted a number of highly sensitive organizational performance reviews and operational audits and was instrumental in the reform of Ontario’s Community Care Access system. He has worked for dozens of hospitals of every size on a variety of difficult issues, ranging from enhancing governance effectiveness to the mediation and resolution of disputes among internal constituencies.
At its inception, Jim was recruited by Dealmakers International, a worldwide consortium of negotiating experts headquartered in Israel that advised business leaders on such matters as commercial acquisitions in over 20 countries. His expertise was utilized in developing training materials to support the network’s various educational activities.
Jim’s primary specialization lies in building effective high performance teams, conflict resolution, cross-cultural communications, and the dynamics of leading and managing complex change initiatives. He has conveyed his views to hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life through his seminars, books, business columns, media articles and Internet-based training programs. Thousands of testimonials confirm his ability to “connect” with his students and encourage meaningful change in their lives.
Jim’s various professional development programs and courses have been formally recognized at the university level for “excellence in the design and delivery of lifelong education” and are offered to the general public through professional associations across the country, as well as on a contracted in-house basis. He has designed numerous advanced-level learning programs for government, industry and professional groups. He developed the world’s first Internet training program on negotiating skills for the University of Alberta and has published three best-selling books on conflict management.
A Canadian by birth, father of four and grandfather, he now resides on his farm in the Grey Highlands of south-central Ontario where he spends his precious recreational time developing his extensive gardens and tree plantations.
In 2008, Jim launched SmartLeaders.ca as a way of continuing the dialogue with his students and others who are similarly interested in the subjects of change, innovation, performance, conflict resolution, leadership, destiny and legacy. The interactive features of this web site and his blog (see tool bar above) are intended to provoke thinking on these topics. He willingly and freely offers his counsel to those perplexed by challenges they are unable to resolve.