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Adam Goodman

Adam Goodman

  • Director, Center for Leadership, Northwestern University
  • Clinical Professor, McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Sciences
  • Instructor, Higher Education Administration and Policy

Research Interests

Leadership, especially assessment, coaching and development; Teamwork, especially assessment and development; Enterprise level learning software for coaching, leadership and teamwork.


Adam Goodman directs Northwestern University's Center for Leadership and is a faculty member in the McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science. He is also co-founder of Catapult, a University spin-off based on his research building a data intensive enterprise-wide web portal for leadership, coaching and teamwork assessment.  His previous roles include: a founding partner of the NorthStone Group, Executive Director of the University of Colorado's Leadership Institute and its Presidents Leadership Class, and Special Assistant to three University of Colorado Presidents.

Teaching and Research Interests

Goodman focuses on the fundamentals of leadership and how people learn to become more effective leaders. His courses include Field Study in Leadership (McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science) and Team Leadership and Decision Making (School of Communication), in addition to helping develop The Leader as Coach (Kellogg School of Management). Goodman also conducts a yearlong seminar for PhD students and high-potential staff as part of the Center’s Leadership Fellowship program.

Past work includes a national survey of public sector leaders, the design of a national model leadership program, work with over 20 leadership programs from across the USA, and 6 Leadership Questions® (an assessment and learning tool).

In addition, Goodman has held numerous roles in leadership studies, including founding co-chair of the scholars’ section of the International Leadership Association and distinguished visiting professor at Johnson & Wales University. His work has been recognized and supported by organizations that include the Adolph Coors Foundation, the Boettcher Foundation, El Pomar Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, and IBM Corp.

Private and Public Sector Interests

An active consultant today and for more than 25 years, he has advised over 150 CEOs, senior officers, executive teams and boards of directors and given hundreds of invited speeches and workshops in the United States and around the world. Clients include the American Library Association-Public Library Association, Ball Corp., the Government of Canada, Drupal, Kaiser Permanente, the National Association of State Budget Officers, Navigant, New Belgium Brewing, and TIAA-CREF. He was co-founder or partner of three management consulting firms and a board member of Solbourne Computer Inc. until its acquisition by Deloitte.

Civic Interests

Goodman is an active and long-time community volunteer, including work with the Youth Job Center, Room to Read (founded by Northwestern alum John Wood), the University of Colorado, and Johnson & Wales University. He was also a home building volunteer in Juarez, Mexico. Throughout his career, Goodman has mentored emerging leaders and connected them with experienced leaders in the private, public and non-profit communities. He sponsored countless internships and established other programs to introduce college and high school students to many of the most challenging issues of the day including health care, building healthy communities, economic and international development, and criminal justice. 

As a Presidential Fellow at the University of Colorado he earned a master's degree in management and, later, a Ph.D. in leadership from the Graduate School of Public Affairs.


  • PhD, Public Affairs, University of Colorado at Denver
  • MPA, Public Management, University of Colorado at Denver
  • BS, Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Colorado at Boulder