High-Performance Leadership  

Excellence is not an accident. In high-performance environments, leaders have the courage to live their values and use the collective brainpower of their teams.”
—Susan Lucia Annunzio, High-Performance Leadership faculty

In today's business world, the strongest performers are those who focus less on control and more on culture, people, and connections. In this program, you'll gain techniques for building an authentic culture that's consistently engaged and innovative—and ultimately drives a superior level of performance. Through classroom learning, interactive practice, and networking opportunities, you'll come away a higher-performing leader.

Read Annunzio's latest Wall Street Journal article »

The champions of today’s business world are those who tap into their belief systems and operate in ways that are authentic and genuine. When leaders are true to their values, they are able to confront challenges, embrace conflict, and tackle tough conversations. Regardless of whether their teams are located in one office or distributed around the globe, they attract a community of followers and give rise to a superior level of performance and an environment that’s consistently engaged and innovative.

By attending this program, you will:

  • Understand the attributes that build—and destroy—a high-performance culture.
  • Tap into the collective brainpower of top performers, learn how to deliver bad news, and build a trusted, authentic community.
  • Explore how to attract and retain top talent. 
  • Gain access to quantifiable global research designed to help executives master high-performance leadership.

An interactive, collaborative learning experience

In this program, you'll develop your skills in real-time by participating in group exercises with faculty and peer feedback. This program also incorporates an executive leader guest speaker who will share their personal leadership journey to further illustrate program concepts.

Guest Speakers:

(May Cohort)  Aamir Paul, President of North America and member of the Executive Committee at Schneider Electric and Natalie Brown, MBA ’00, CEO, Mesirow
(July Cohort) Eric Belcher, MBA ’95, CEO of Numerator
(November Cohort ) Dave MacLennan, MBA ’88, Executive Chairman of Cargill 


Chicago Booth, Gleacher Center, Chicago IL

This program will benefit mid- to senior-level managers and executives who create value for their organizations. It is designed to help professionals in many industries and sectors—especially those in leadership functions undergoing dynamic change.

Titles include: innovation leader, change manager, senior project manager, operations manager, mid- to senior-level manager, director, vice president, and C-suite.

Susan Lucia Annunzio

Adjunct Associate Professor, Executive Education, Chicago Booth

Acclaimed Leadership Coach, Author, and President and CEO of the Center for High Performance, Lucia Annunzio is known by her clients as the “CEO-Whisperer.” She has spent over 25 years observing, analyzing, and coaching CEO, C-Suite, and Board dynamics. She has discerned that an organization is only as great as the team that leads it and that there is a direct correlation between the way an organization performs and the way its leadership team functions.

Lucia’s work is based on CfHP’s proprietary global research on the factors that accelerate or inhibit profitable growth. It achieved critical acclaim and was presented at such prestigious venues as the World Economic Forum, The International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change at the University of Greenwich, and Vacature’s, “Talent Economy” launch event in Belgium.

Lucia is the author of Contagious Success (Portfolio, 2004), a dynamic, best-selling, management book that revealed the global standard for high performance. Contagious Success was voted Fast Company's Readers' Choice. Lucia also authored two additional prominent business books: Communicoding (Fine, 1990; Penguin USA, 1991) and Evolutionary Leadership (Simon & Schuster, 2001; Fireside, 2002). She is frequently quoted in the business press such as the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and CNBC.

Lucia is a former Adjunct Professor of Management at the University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business, where she is currently part of the Executive Education faculty and teaches the most popular program, High Performance Leadership. She has been a guest lecturer at INSEAD business school in Fontainebleau, France, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and Instituto De Empresa in Madrid. She also taught at General Electric’s Crotonville Corporate Training Center.

She is a long-standing member of the Economic Club of Chicago as well as the Chicago Club and the Astor Club. She has sat on various not-for-profit boards including the Joffrey Ballet and the Museum of Contemporary Art. She is currently devoting her philanthropy to National MS Society.

Sonny Garg

Executive in Residence at the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation, Chicago Booth

Sonny is a board member and advisor to companies. He was previously Phunhousian in Chief at DNS Capital. Prior to DNS, Sonny spent 25 years as a senior executive or board member across many organizations in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. He launched and was responsible for the Energy division at Uptake Technologies. Prior to that, he was a member of the Executive Committee and the Chief Information & Innovation Officer at Exelon Corporation. Sonny also served in the administrations of Mayor Richard M. Daley and President William J. Clinton.

Sonny currently serves on the boards of The Invisible Institute, the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago and the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and is an Executive in Residence at the Booth School’s Rustandy Center. He also a Henry Crown Leadership Fellow at the Aspen Institute. Sonny has a B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and an M.P.P. from Harvard University.

Charles Hooper

Senior Counsel, The Cohen Group

Lieutenant General Charles Hooper, US Army, retired in 2020 following a distinguished 41-year military career. A highly successful leader of diverse, high performing organizations, he is considered one of the Nation’s foremost strategists, and solider-diplomats.

He most recently served as the Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), with worldwide oversight of the 20,000 people responsible for the annual $50 billion sale of all US weapons to foreign governments. Prior to DSCA, Lieutenant General Hooper served as the Chief of the Office of Military Cooperation Cairo, Egypt, Director of Strategy, Plans, and Programs at US Africa Command and Deputy Director for Strategic Planning and Policy at US Indo-Pacific Command.  He also taught graduate-level courses at the US Naval Postgraduate School and was responsible for US Army recruiting in the Southwest US.  A fluent Chinese linguist, he completed two diplomatic assignments for a total of seven years in Beijing, including as US Defense Attaché-the senior US military officer in China.

Lieutenant General Hooper is a graduate of the US Military Academy, West Point, and earned a master’s degree, with honors, from the Harvard University. He also holds a certificate in Chinese Language and Literature from the British (UK) Ministry of Defense Chinese Language School, Hong Kong, and is a graduate of the US Army War College.

Lieutenant General Hooper is now a Senior Counselor with The Cohen Group, a Washington DC consulting firm. He serves on the boards of UL Solutions, the Apache Corporation and Two Six Technologies, as well as the National Defense University.  In addition, Lieutenant General Hooper is also a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center, a senior non-resident scholar at the Atlantic Council, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Introduction to High-Performance Leadership

• Learn what drives (and destroys) high performance
• Identify drivers and corresponding attributes of high-performing work environments

Encourage a High-Performance Environment

• What are the correlations between leadership styles and resultant behaviors?
• How do you identify and enable top performers?
• Explore how to attract and retain top talent
• How do you identify quick wins that can may be implemented immediately?

The Tenets of a High-Performance Environment

• How do great leaders manage change?
• The critical role of emotion
• The power of the 20/60/20 rule, unspeakable subjects, and making loud statements of change
• Recognizing and celebrating heroes within a company

Impactful Communication Strategies

• How to manage up, down, and sideways
• Tell the bad news: Straight Talk in Tough Times
• How to lead under pressure: crisis communications

Mindfulness and Self-Care Plans

• How employees grieve and manage stress
• Creating your own self-care plan

The Critical Necessities of Courage

• What values do you hold most dear?
• How do you “think like a leader”?
• What are leadership moments of truth?

This program was life-changing, both professionally and personally. I have taken many leadership courses, but this is hands down the best and it has elevated me to a new level. HPL's Faculty Director, Susan Lucia Annunzio, was absolutely amazing—she’s a gift. She set the stage for a collaborative and engaging conversation every day, and the energy in the room was so upbeat and contagious that I looked forward to attending each day. Read more about Gretchen's HPL experience »

—Gretchen Holloway, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, ITC Holdings Corp.

The program was insightful, challenging, and fun. The experience challenged my previous assumptions about leadership and helped me grow into a transparent and authentic leader. Many of my fellow classmates are now trusted friends who I can reach out to with questions and advice as I continue my leadership journey.

—Daniel A. Neidig, Vice President, ITAMCO

Chicago has created a wonderful program to aid in the education of business leaders across all lines of business. I received practical tools that I can use immediately to make my associates feel more valued. I will be a better leader as a result of participating in this program.

—Peter Carey, National Asset Recovery Manager, Toyota Motor Credit Corp.

Great program! I will recommend it to others in my organizations at all levels, followers, management, and leadership. My regret is that this program was not available earlier in my career.

—Paul Ekstrom, VP, Customer Service and Information Systems, California Water Service Company

I am very pleased with the seminar and honestly believe that it will have a positive impact on how I position myself towards seeking greater responsibilities or aspire to higher ranks within my institution.

—Eduardo M. Borges, Managing Director Corporate Banking, Banco Santander Brasil S/A

It was a phenomenal, life-changing experience for me. I would absolutely recommend [this program] to others.

—Sanjay Radhakrishan, Senior Manager, Cognizant Technology Solutions

The course does an excellent job of pulling together and making more concrete practical lessons that, while they seem obvious, are too often not applied. Just as we're challenged to create a better environment in our companies, the environment that's been created at Chicago is very conducive to necessary reflection and experimentation to learn and be ready to apply the lessons learned when we get back to our own companies.

—Brian Keefer, EVP/COO, Bankers Insurance Group

This course was well designed and the presenters and instructors were very authentic; responsive and knowledgeable. The setting coupled with the energy of the participants provided for a powerful opportunity to reflect fresher and strengthen skills.

—Suzanne Sinclair, Vice President Marketing Strategic Initiatives, Zurich North America

This is the single best leadership training I have ever participated in. The quality of teachers and students was exceptional. Energy was high; focus and effort by all was outstanding.

—Andy Keimach, Executive Vice President, Munchkin, Inc

Tremendous program. The most valuable thing I've ever done for my career.

—Rick Strachan, Group President, Hanley Wood, LLC

Has to be one of the best programs I have taken. This program far outranks courses I took during my MBA, and I will be able to utilize skills/objectives learned.

—Joshua Kabisch, Sr. ACO, Office of Naval Research

Excellent learning environment with vibrant teaching and support staff.

- Usman Musa, Head Compliance Unit, National Pension

The class provides insight, hard data, and tools to transform the often unmet challenges of good leadership in the workplace into bridges for personal, team and organizational success.

—Joseph Grames, Deputy Group Leader, Jefferson Lab

I am thrilled that I took the time to take this week-long course and I know that I will make great use of the skills in wherever my journey takes me in my next academic (or other) leadership position!

—Amy Wolfson, Professor of Psychology, Loyola University Maryland, Inc

World class experience relevant and necessary post-MBA to compete and take your teams/companies to new heights of success.

—Dan Munivez, Senior Manager, Portfolio, Acquisitions & Divestitures, Delphi Corporation

The course was excellent and I believe it’s due to the significant attention to every detail above. The entire program was well organized but felt spontaneous and not canned.

—Janet Cunningham, Director US Regulatory Affairs, Dechra Veterinary Products, LLC

Upcoming Courses

Date Fee
May 6-10, 2024 $12,500 Register now
July 22-26, 2024 $12,500 Register now
November 11-15, 2024 $12,500 Register now


This program typically runs three times a year, Spring, Summer, and Fall.