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Dr. Stephen A. Di Biase served as the Chief Executive Officer of Laser Applications Technology (LAT) LLC and as currently President of Premier Insights, LLC. He is an entrepreneur, building businesses and capabilities from emerging technology.  In leading LAT, Dr. Di Biase developed the business model and go to market strategies for introducing a disruptive technology for labeling produce.  With Premier Insights, Dr. Di Biase teaches leaders how to become more innovative by making innovation a discipline they can refine.

During his 40 year career, Dr. Di Biase has become accomplished in using innovation to create value in a global commercial setting.  He has over 20 patents, mentored technical professionals, and taught innovation and human resource management in both corporate and university settings. He has guest lectured at several academic institutions and has authored books, patents and corporate publications. 

Dr. Di Biase graduated from The Pennsylvania State University and sits on the Science Advisory Board for The Pennsylvania State University. He is also a retired member of the Board of Trustees for the Mt. Union College, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Industrial Research Institute, a leading experienced based innovation management association.

Prior to joining JohnsonDiversey, Dr. Di Biase spent 26 years with the Lubrizol Corporation, where he held a variety of leadership positions, including general management roles and those with profit and loss responsibility for emerging businesses derived from technology platforms.  These global assignments often involved business development from strategy conception to execution managing teams of Sales, Marketing, and Business Development professionals.

Prior to accepting the assignment in business development Dr. Di Biase was the Vice President – Research, Development, and Engineering where he was responsible for the global technical and scientific leadership for a centralized R&D function comprising of 700 professionals, an operating budget of $120+ million, and a capital budget of $10+ million. 

In this role Dr. Di Biase fostered innovation and delivered results using processes such as stage gates, project and portfolio management, 6-Sigma, and advanced statistics while introducing a variety of IT based tools such as data mining and predictive modeling.

Dr. Di Biase has served as chairman of The Lubrizol Foundation Scholarship Committee, Chairman of the Northeastern Ohio Section of the American Chemical Society, Board member of the Cleveland Area Research Directors (CARD) and in The Boy Scouts of America where he served in a variety of posts.   Dr. Di Biase has been honored by The Pennsylvania State University College of Science with its 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award and serves as an adjunct professor at Benedictine University in Naperville IL.






Food for Thought

Leadership Essentials

Stephen Di Biase

Leadership Essentials

Leadership, like the weather, is much discussed by not necessary deeply understood in a useful manner. A simple Google search on the term “leadership” yields 188 million citations which suggests leadership is a topic of significant interest and importance. However it is unclear how a leader makes use of this trove of information in their daily life.  This reality begs the question: “What are the essentials of leadership that a person can grasp and use routinely to generate value”?

The age old question, “Are leaders born or made”, has been debated for decades. During this debate, it was believed leadership was a birthright of genetics and little development beyond that was meaningful.  Today leadership is largely considered a skill that can be developed and must be cultivated over time.  The simplest evidence for this being true is everyone is a leader and only the circumstances determine what extent. This is often referred to as “Situational Leadership”.

Reflect for a moment when you were thrust into a leadership role at home, work, or in a volunteer activity. Observing a family at home one can see leadership moving among every member of the family driven by the situation.  Mom leads the children, the children each other, Dad leads (and serves) everyone etc. However, under the premise of “Situational Leadership”, every leader is also a follower and the best leaders know when and how to follow effectively.  Using the home example, again Dad knows when to follow Mom’s lead in dealing with a variety of situations from children to home repairs.

The simple point is that everyone must think of themselves as leaders.  If we’re all leaders, and leadership roles are situational, then what behaviors are essential to effective leadership?

Personal leadership, and the accountability that comes with it, can be frightening, but also invigorating, if the leader has the correct mindset.  Successful leadership, within an ethical and legal framework, is the height of human achievement because it mandates that we’ve helped others do what they couldn’t do alone for the good of all. Ultimately leadership is something everyone should embrace and aspire to because it makes us, and the world, better.

Leadership is critical to using the organization's structure to effect good decision-making.  While leadership is well recognized for its criticality it’s not well understood and hence not used to yield successful outcomes.  Often leaders are chosen not because they’re skilled leaders but often because they were skilled individual contributors

Basic leadership capabilities can be developed once the essential skills are recognized and a defined.  The key “Leadership Essentials” are postulated to be obvious, albeit not trivial, to master. 

These “Essentials” are:

 Leading by example.

  1. Making things happen alone and through people,
  2. Valuing and utilizing diverseness within the workforce.

They are a plethora of additional skills beyond these essentials but in the absences of the “Leadership Essentials”, these more sophisticated skills have limited utility and longevity.