Biography

“For applied social scientists, professional training is not only benchmarked by traditional degrees. Instead, our education comes from challenging work that stretches our capacity to assess, problem-solve, and intervene effectively. These experiences are the springboard for the successful solutions we help others create.”

—Rod Napier


After 40 years in the field, Rod Napier has integrated the lessons he's gained from what he calls his "strange and winding path to professional development" into several core principles:

  • Allotting sufficient time of the right intensity is critical for success.
  • To change habits and behavior, individuals and groups must exercise discipline and rigor.
  • Understanding certain fundamentals of leadership and team building and developing the skills to implement them is key.
  • Learning to move seamlessly from theory to application underlies all the work; without that, all the practice in the world is only that.

Rod’s primary work continues to be in executive team building and leadership development. His yearlong executive development program combines personal, team and institutional feedback with problem-solving and decision-making skills. It focuses on building trust and the willingness to risk, while managing conflict at the individual and team level. Finally, participants develop strategic design skills, creating opportunities for more productive and challenging meetings.

Currently, Rod teaches graduate courses in the Coaching Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Division of Organizational Dynamics. He also maintains a select coaching practice among a small circle of institutional leaders.

For 1995–2002, Rod taught Executive Team Dynamics at the Wharton School. From 1965–77, as a professor at Temple University, Rod contributed to the formative years of the group dynamics movement. In 1975, he introduced the first prototype for 360-degree feedback, which is now central to most programs of leadership development. Always working to move ideas into action, he has authored or co-authored a dozen books in the field.

In addition, Rod co-founded and still leads The Temagami Experience each summer in a remote Canadian wilderness. This workshop combines Native wisdom with community-building activities to cultivate leadership and personal renewal. Rod has also been involved in The Group Leadership Intensive, an immersion training program for facilitators and team leaders.


Rod lives with his wife, Julie Roberts, and a handful of dogs and cats, on French Creek in Warwick Township outside Philadelphia.

Download Rod Napier's Resume

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