Chris Kolenda

Founder of SLA

Chris Kolenda

Chris Kolenda

Founder, Strategic Leadership Academy

Christopher D. Kolenda, Ph.D., founder of the Strategic Leaders Academy, is the Leadership Ace to Cyber security leaders, helping build winning teams by getting the BIG 3 things right.

Founder of the Strategic Leaders Academy, Chris has helped small businesses and nonprofits grow by over $27 million and counting. He works with leaders who want to take their businesses to new heights using the right clarity, team, and strategy.

Chris is a West Point graduate, internationally renowned combat leader, retired Army Colonel, trusted adviser to two Defense Secretaries and three 4-star generals, business leader, and author of Leadership: The Warrior’s Art — which has sold over 50,000 copies. He has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. His battlefield leadership has been featured in several books, including Jake Tapper’s bestseller The Outpost.

His latest book is Zero-Sum Victory: What We’re Getting Wrong About War.


Focused Growth Program

I work at the intersection of leadership, culture, and strategy so that you get the right support to do the right things the right way and avoid blind spots.

Leadership, Culture, and Strategy are the 3 BIG things. Like the legs of a stool, you need all three in place and aligned to have a stable platform for success.

Bad things happen when you are missing one of the BIG 3.

Without the Leadership leg, you are like the Titanic. You are operating a preset plan on autopilot. You’re not bringing out the best in your team or making the decisions you need to avoid obstacles.

When Culture is not right, your company cannot execute well. You spin in circles because people are not contributing their best to your team’s success.

If your Strategy is inadequate, you lack a framework to make decisions about the purpose and direction of your organization and the plans to implement those decisions. You wander, drift, and soon find yourself at a dead-end.

Here are some of the outcomes you can expect when we work together:

Gain absolute clarity on your vision, mission, and value proposition so that you can attract the right people for the right reasons.

Set your Mindset and priorities so that you get relief from firefighting and focus your time and energy on what’s most important.

Control self-limiting beliefs so that you get moving and avoid second-guessing.

Set your cadence, so predictability boosts your endurance and powers your productivity.

Align work with strengths so that you boost productivity 2X – 3X.

Make a 90-day action plan that gets you moving and winning and prevents you from going 100-miles-per hour in the wrong direction.

Build Resilience so that your team handles success and setbacks.

Make better decisions through turbulence and uncertainty so that you eliminate expensive mistakes and unforced errors.

Starting Strategic Leaders Academy

He resigned from the government in 2014 and his leadership consulting business took off. He decided in 2017 to create the Strategic Leaders Academy so that other former senior military leaders could continue serving while having a second career they love.

“Americans love the military. They respect veterans and appreciate their service,” he said. Most companies want to hire veterans, but they tend to want the young trooper or the junior officer.

When it comes to people who have spent 20-30 years leading organizations in the military, most companies and nonprofits shy away from them. “Many private sector and nonprofit leaders find a career of military service admirable and praiseworthy, but not commercially useful. I want to change that.”

Former senior military leaders are experts in the 3 BIG things: Leadership, Culture, and Strategy. “These issues require decades of study and experience to master, but most entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders don’t have the time to do so,” Chris explained. “This is where we come in. We cannot tell you what product to make or cause to support, but we can help you grow sustainably by working with you to get the 3 BIG things right: Leadership, Culture, and Strategy.”

Leading Well

In this short book, you’ll learn how to master the six habits that inspire people to contribute their best to your company’s success.


Chris Discussing Afghanistan on CNN

Ways to Work with Chris Kolenda

Mentorship Groups

Result-focused, senior leader forums where you solve problems, overcome obstacles and plan action steps that get you the outcomes you want.

Keynote Speaking

Highly-interactive and inspiring presentations that boost your Team’s performance.


Stop wasting time and energy in scatter-shot programs. Get your leadership development, culture, and strategy laser-focused and pointed in the right direction.

Team Training

Result-programs customized for your team so you can break down the barriers and bust through the walls that are holding you back so that you can achieve the success you deserve.

“Our employee engagement doubled from roughly 40% to 80% thanks to Chris’ support.”

“Chris’ strategy support helped us gain an additional $2 million in annual revenues – it was the difference between success and bankruptcy.”

“Dr. Kolenda kept me on the edge of my seat as he related his experiences and lessons from Afghanistan.  As a 30-year veteran and more recent student of international-level politics and security, I could really relate, but his lessons are for more than just veterans; they are for anyone wishing to understand the role of forgiveness and understanding in conflict resolution.”

Recent Articles by Chris Kolenda