when no one else can hear the music, Don Murray
can. From his early days in his father’s music store,
to an illustrious career as trusted advisor to some
of the best business minds of the era, he has always
been able to hear what others cannot.
Gold Experience. Over the
past 30 years Don has stayed extremely busy with
a steady stream of rewarding projects. To wit: He
worked with the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic
volleyball team, was an integral confidante to the
Nike executive team during its meteoric rise to
prominence, and has invented numerous leadership
development tools that work.
“I’ve always had this gift,” he admits with a disarming
combination of candor and humility, “to walk into
a room and accurately size up the group dynamics.
That’s a very helpful thing, especially if you don’t
have an agenda.”
has indeed served him well. But, how does he do
it? His clients would answer: with an almost uncanny
ability to listen like few others. He’s not sure
when he developed it. Maybe he was born with it.
From Music to Management.
Perhaps it began in his teen years as he worked
in his dad’s Great Falls Montana music store. He
became an accomplished musician himself, and taught
the subject for awhile after acquiring his bachelor’s
degree. But somewhere along the way Don began to
hear other melodies?the sweet strains of entrepreneurism,
the harmonies of building a great workplace, the
lilt of leadership development.
and Training. After graduating college,
he attended a weekend retreat that focused entirely
on building a great workplace. “As soon as I experienced
leadership challenges and methods, I knew right
then and there,” he says “that this was something
I wanted to know more
He applied to the University of Oregon where,
after three years of work, he received a Masters
and Ph.D. in Organizational Development.
the Road Again. Following his graduation
he began his consulting business with a bang.
“My second client was U.S. Steel,” he says. “That
helped a lot, and we did great work that we all
felt had a huge impact.” From there his reputation
grew; eventually he was asked to do team building
with the US Olympic volleyball team. Don was in
Los Angeles when the team sealed the victory,
winning the gold in 1984, and he deems it one
of the great highlights of his professional life.
Adventure. Continuing the sports
theme, Don became a trusted advisor to Phil Knight,
CEO of Nike. In fact, in the book, “Just Do It”
by Donald Katz, Mr. Knight is quoted as saying
that he has three individuals in his professional
life that he calls to counsel with him on big
initiatives. One of those three is Don Murray.
Mission Statement. Don’s
mission is simple: Creating competitive advantage
through designed leadership experiences. He embraces
the world of new possibilities with this caveat:
learning tools cannot be an end in themselves,
only the means to an end.
what matters most to Don Murray are the end results.
He strives to make his work have a lasting impact
in every organization with whom he is privileged
He’s still listening, and his clients are better
because of it. His business motto sums it up:
“Every organization pays for a development program
. . . whether it has one or not!”
Don is married to Colleen and has three children
and five grandchildren.