Dean Williams

Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy
Center for Public Leadership
Office Address
Mailing Address
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Mailbox 124
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617-496-8506
Fax: 617-496-3337
Dean Williams


Dean Williams has been a faculty member since 1999 teaching courses on adaptive leadership and change management. He now is an adjunct lecturer and serves as faculty chair of the executive education program: Global Change Agents: Crossing boundaries, building bridges, and leading change. He is originally from Geelong, Australia.

He has worked on major change initiatives in various parts of the world, most recently in Myanmar and Nigeria. For five years he served as the Chief Advisor to the President of Madagascar, leading an innovative process of rapid national development. For two years he was the lead consultant to the government of Queensland, Australia in orchestrating a complete reform of the educational system. Formerly, he was a senior consultant to the Government of Brunei in building leadership capacity in its civil service. He has also served as a consultant with the Singapore government's National Productivity Board, and for nine years served as director of the Social Leadership Singapore program that brings together leaders in government, NGOs and business to address the array of social challenges facing the nation.  He has led a number of long-term change initiatives with companies in Australia, the United States, and Asia, and conducted research on leadership and social change in Japan, Colombia, Mongolia, Madagascar, East Timor, and Borneo.

He is the author of Leadership for a Fractured World: How to Cross Boundaries, Build Bridges, and Lead Change (Berrett-Koehler, 2015) and  Real Leadership: Helping People and Organizations Face Their Toughest Challenges (Berrett-Koehler, 2005).


For a complete list of faculty citations from 2001 - present, please visit the HKS Faculty Research Connection.

Selected Publication Citations:

  • Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles
    • Williams, Dean. "Leadership in a Changing World: From Afghanistan to East Timor, the Challenges are Great." Leadership 2.1 (Spring 2002).
  • Book Chapters
    • Sinder, Riley, and Dean Williams. "Leadership Styles." Clinical Laboratory Management. Ed. Lynne S. Garcia. ASM Press, 2004.
    • Sinder, Riley, and Dean Williams. "Employee Needs." Clinical Laboratory Management. Ed. Lynne S. Garcia. ASM Press, 2004.
  • Books
    • Williams, Dean. Real Leadership: Helping People and Organizations Face Their Toughest Challenges. Berrett-Koehler, 2005.
  • Research Papers/Reports
    • Williams, Dean. “Leading in Complex Political Environments: What We Are Learning From Superintendents of Education.” CPL Working Paper Series, 2004.

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