24 Questions with Liane Davey

Liane Davey has never climbed Mount Everest (and never will). So far, she’s never been in space. She doesn’t even have an Olympic gold medal (although she did win the grade 9 Phys Ed award). But the prize for solving the most difficult team challenges is named after her (no, not really, but someday it probably will be).

For the past 25 years, Liane has researched and advised teams on how to achieve high performance. Known as the “teamwork doctor,” she’s worked with teams from the frontlines to the boardroom, across a variety of industries, and around the globe from Boston to Bangkok. In working with hundreds of teams, including 26 Global Fortune 500 companies (and counting), she has developed a unique perspective on the challenges that teams face – and how to solve them.

Beyond her work in the boardroom, Liane is a New York Times Bestselling author of You First: Inspire Your Team to Grow Up, Get Along, and Get Stuff Done. She is also a regular contributor to Harvard Business Review and has been sought by several media outlets, including CNN, NPR, USA Today, The Globe & Mail and Forbes, for her expertise on increasing productivity, enhancing engagement, developing leaders, and as one client put it, “dealing with the damn drama!”

As a keynote speaker, Liane has spoken for audiences as big as 2000 and as intimate as 20.  Regardless of the size, she delivers the perfect combination of education and entertainment that leaders and teams need to get unstuck and make an impact on their organizations. She gets even the most serious audiences laughing by telling it like it is—including stories about many of the unbelievable situations she’s experienced working with (and on) teams. (And, by the way, she’s not afraid to admit that she learned most of these lessons the hard way). In between the laughter and stories, she provides a proven model and framework, along with the latest research, so that attendees walk away with the tools to start making their teams better from the moment they leave the room.

Liane’s clients include Amazon, Walmart, TD Bank, RBC, Bayer, KPMG, Aviva, Maple Leaf Foods, and SONY Interactive Entertainment. Liane has experience and expertise across a wide range of industries, but with each client, she customizes her keynotes so that your audience feels like she “gets” you and has been working with your organization for years.


1. What does thriving mean to you?

For me, thriving is being in the midst of a virtuous cycle where doing difficult and uncomfortable things leads to great outcomes that fuel you to do more difficult and meaningful things.

2. What’s the one domino that moves you toward thriving?

For me, being willing to work through a conflict that I want to avoid.

3. What was or is your favourite way to sabotage yourself?

I sabotage myself by being resentful and letting my concerns fester instead of having a conversation and giving myself and other people the chance to work through the issue.

4. How do you deal with challenging times?

I deal with challenging times by compartmentalizing. I use a bullet journal to capture what I need to do and then focus on accomplishing one small thing at a time.

5. What was an embarrassing/painful moment you can share?

When I started to study conflict, I looked back on a negative relationship with a former boss and realized that I was at least 50% to blame.

6. What did you learn recently?

How stress is about not only our brain, but our gut, our heart and the interconnectedness of all our systems.

7. Divide your age by half , who were you then?

I was a graduate student, just figuring out what I loved to do in the world.

8. Think back 5-10 years, what moved the needle in your success?

When I stopped being afraid or embarrassed about who I am and started doubling down on being a strange hybrid of a total nerd and a perky dweeb.

9. Whats the one resource you would recommend?

Harvard Business Review’s website

10. What is your favourite quote or motto?

When you’re going through hell, keep going!

11. What are your top VALUES?

Candor, authenticity, insight, openness

12. What is your focus over the next 12 months?

Help more people learn to get over their conflict avoidance and start to pay down their conflict debt.

13. You write a book for your grandkids / next generation, what principles do you want to pass on?

Doing the hard things in the moment makes everything else easier.

14. You start a podcast, who is your first guest? If you have a podcast who would you love to have on?

Brené Brown… continuing to accept that vulnerability isn’t optional–only whether we choose to rumble with it.

15. What are you thankful for?

Moments when my teenage daughters want to spend time with me.

16. If someone grew up in a dysfunctional home what advice would you give them going forward?

Forge a new path. Create the family that you deserve.

17. What is your favourite memory of the last 12 months?

My book launch party… so many family, friends, clients…special and amazing people from all 47 years of my life.

18. Do you have a favourite joke or a funny moment?

How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb? One, but it has to really want to change.

19. What do you need to have LESS of in your life?

Cable News shows

20. What rule should we be breaking?

If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. That’s a terrible rule to live by. If you have to say something that’s not nice, be kind.

21 . What’s the one thing you want to do before you die?

Have grandchildren… but I can’t do that on my own!

22. What is a step you would recommend one take to improve their life?

Go talk to someone who you struggle to connect with. Find a way to listen to them more openly than you ever have before. See if you can figure out what their truth is.

23. Who is the PERSON you would love to acknowledge by nominating them to be showcased @ THRIVEMASTERS?


24. How can people connect with you?