A Principal in the World of Leadership Principles


John E. Michel is a widely recognized expert in culture, strategy & individual and organizational change. An accomplished unconventional leader and proven status quo buster, he has successfully led several multi-billion dollar transformation efforts and his award-winning work has been featured in a wide variety of articles and journals, including the Harvard Business Review. Having retired from serving our nation as a General Officer in the United States Air Force, John now enjoys helping people learn to walk differently in the world so they can become the best version of themselves possible. He is blessed to be married to the most patient person on the planet and together, they have two amazing sons.


John has led a host of diverse teams in accomplishing everything from the ordinary to the extraordinary. A decorated combat leader, he routinely transformed good to great. From leading talented aviation personnel in projecting power and preserving peace on continents throughout the planet, to overseeing special operations mission’s teams in complex international environments, John doesn’t just talk leadership, he lives it…daily.


When one of the Air Force’s largest organizations, a $2.7B operation in North Dakota, was experiencing the most challenging conditions of its 50+ year history, John was handpicked to turn the organization around. In 16-short months, the wing transformed itself from ”Worst to First,” establishing a foundation of sustainable success that has since transformed not just the base, but the entire state, into a national leader in the field of unmanned aviation operations, technology and manufacturing.


In 2013, John was again handpicked by our national leadership to bring his unparalleled ability to think and inspire to one of the most daunting assignments to date: leading NATO’s 14-nation effort to build the $6.7B Afghan Air Force…in an active war zone. Despite the fact nothing of this magnitude had been previously attempted, John led his team to develop a comprehensive strategy (while concurrently supporting combat flight operations) that in 12 short months, resulted in an over 200% increase in mission effectiveness, accelerated growth by over two years, while simultaneously reducing costs by $2.1B


John now serves as the Chief Strategist & Innovation Officer for America’s largest privately-owned Transportation Company. In this role, he is leading the company’s efforts to double revenues (to over $2B) by creating and integrating a host of value-creation initiatives, while concurrently leading the company’s entire Global events solutions portfolio.