James B. Rieley knows about organisations today.  As the CEO of a manufacturing company in the United States, he demonstrated an ability to innovate and create environments in which employees could be successful.  After coming out of retirement in 1990, he led the strategic planning function of one of the largest colleges in the United States where he was instrumental in creating a planning process that enabled achievement of goals in a non-profit setting.  In 1997, he accepted a position with one of the big ‘5’ consulting companies, leading the firm’s European efforts to think in a more systemic way.  Since 2000, he has been focused on advising senior leaders on how they and their organisations can realise their individual and collective potential. 

Areas of expertise include:

Improving organisational effectiveness

Increasing business performance

Shifting individual and collective mental models


Enhancing the ability to think systemically

Eliminating the plague of Gaming the System

Rieley has been highly recognised for his work in these areas.  He has many stories about how organisations have, through management’s decision-making processes, have diluted, reduced, and devastated the effectiveness and performance of their organisations.  Rieley creates a ‘learning environment’ in which business students can learn how to avoid this, and how to actually improve effectiveness and increase performance.  He has worked extensively in the area of mental models and systemic thinking, and brings this experience and wisdom to his speaking engagements.  And as the author of Gaming the System, he is the person who can best help others learn how to eliminate gaming so they can achieve higher performance in their companies. 

His ability to facilitate key decision-making and strategy meetings has been well documented.  His clients include some of the most recognisable organisations in Europe and America, and has a reputation for being able to help clients cut through the ambiguity that often surrounds the decision-making process.  His extensive cross-cultural experience enables him to work effectively with senior teams globally.

Rieley’s presentation style is highly interactive, and he has achieved high evaluations for his presentations – whether before large audiences in plenary sessions, or in smaller, more intimate sessions that focus on group and individual learning, most often for senior management teams.  In addition, he is experienced in both television and radio interviews.

He is able to draw on over 30 years in business, both as senior management and as a consultant to management.  Rieley has written extensively, having been published in numerous journals and publications.  In his books, he cuts through all the buzz-words and business hype to describe both how business has gotten itself into the mess that it is in, and then clearly tells what managers at all levels need to do differently tomorrow to improve the situation by ensuring high business performance.  He has very powerful stories to tell – stories that will captivate and expand business students view of what is important, and how to change the organisations that they aspire to work for.

Rieley has been recognised as ““one of the most respected consultants and writers in the field of business.”


Dr. James B. Rieley is an advisor to CEO’s and senior leadership teams in both Europe and America.  From 2000 to 2003, he was the Vice President for Global Leadership Development for Celerant Consulting.  In that role, he was responsible for the internal capacity building of the organization, the coaching and mentoring of senior management, and the system dynamics practise within the firm.  Previously, he was a senior manager of the Business Decision Innovations Group in Arthur Andersen’s Business Consulting division where he works facilitating effective organisational change; and prior to that, he directed The Center for Continuous Quality Improvement at Milwaukee Area Technical College where, through the Office of the President, he was responsible for the internal quality improvement process at the college, the college’s Systems Thinking/Organisational Learning efforts, and was the architect and facilitator of the strategic planning process.  In conjunction with the WorkForce Development Division of MATC, he consulted with business and industry, government, and educational institutions that have identified the importance of becoming more effective in meeting the needs of their customers.

Rieley, who has an earned doctorate degree in Organisational Effectiveness, additionally has a B.S. in Business Administration, and was the president of a successful plastics manufacturing company for over 20 years.  After selling his company in 1987, he began to work with organisations in the area of innovation and business organisation.  In 1990 he accepted an offer to come to MATC to develop the concept that became The Center for Continuous Quality Improvement.

He has written extensively on the subject of organisational dynamics and quality, having been published in The Journal for Organisational Excellence, Community College Journal, Quality Progress, The Systems Thinker, National Productivity Review, The Business Journal, Corporate Reports Wisconsin, Leverage, On The Horizon, and other media, as well as being the author of a research report for GOAL/QPC on Strategic Planning for education titled Closing the Loop, and co-author of an implementation workbook on Institutional Effectiveness.   His work has been cited in Fast Company, Making It Happen: Stories from Inside the New Workplace, A Fieldguide for Focused Planning, Fundamentals at Work, and Breakthrough Leadership, as well as being nominated for the national Shingo Prize for Excellence in Research.

Rieley has developed curricula in the areas of organisational learning, leadership development, systems thinking, community building, systems thinking archetype applications, and strategy development.  He has facilitated training sessions for both internal and external clients, including: the Five Disciplines of Organisational Learning, Building Leadership Capacity, Advanced Facilitation Methods and Tools, Change Enablement, the Seven Management and Planning Tools, A Systems Thinking Mindset, Constructing Causal Loop Diagrams with Visio, Using a Vision Deployment Matrix to Enhance Personal and Organisational Capacity, and, The DNA of Organisational Culture.

He has presented programs and papers at the national GOAL/QPC conferences, the Systems Thinking in Action conferences, the Power of Systems Thinking Conference, the American Association of Higher Education National Conferences, the Arthur Andersen Business Consulting World-Wide Workshops, the AABC Nordic Training Week, the Community College Consortium Summer Institutes, the West Virginia Community College convention, the Georgia Technical College system, the Fox Valley Quality Conference, the International Forum on Quality in Higher Education, and the Quality Symposium.  Recently, Rieley was invited to participate in the White House Conference on Corporate Citizenship. 

Rieley is certified by the Covey Leadership Center in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the past President of Milwaukee: First in Quality, a network service of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, a member of the Society for Organisational Learning, and the founder of the Southeast Wisconsin Organisational Learning Consortium (SEWOLC). 

He is the author of Gaming the System, (The Financial Times/Prentice Hall, 2001; Portico, 2004 - traditional Chinese; Pearson Education, 2004 - simplified Chinese), Plain Talk About Business Performance (PenPress, 2004), Leadership (Hodder, 2006), Strategy and Performance (Hodder, 2006), and Change and Crisis Management (Hodder, 2006) .  He lives in Mallorca. 


All information is copyright James B. Rieley 2004 - 2009