Thomas J. DeLong

Philip J. Stomberg Professor of Management Practice

Thomas J. DeLong is the Philip J. Stomberg Professor of Management Practice in the Organizational Behavior area at the Harvard Business School. Before joining the Harvard Faculty, DeLong was Chief Development Officer and Managing Director of Morgan Stanley Group, Inc., where he was responsible for the firm’s human capital and focused on issues of organizational strategy and organizational change.

At Harvard, Professor DeLong teaches MBA and executive courses focused on leadership, organizational behavior, managing human capital, and career management. DeLong has served as course head for the required course on Leadership and Organizational Behavior.  He has designed MBA courses focusing on managing human capital in high performance organizations and strategic issues in professional service firms. He currently teaches an elective course on leadership.

DeLong teaches globally in a myriad of executive programs as well as executive courses on campus. He consults with leading organizations on the process of making individual and organizational change.  His new book, Flying Without a Net: Turn Fear of Change into Fuel for Success (Harvard Business School Press, 2011), centers on the challenges of helping talented professionals who are resistant to change.

DeLong co-authored two books focused on leading professional service firms, When Professionals Have to Lead: A New Model for High Performance (Harvard Business School Press, 2007) and Professional Services: Cases and Texts (McGraw-Hill/Irwin 2003). DeLong has coauthored two Harvard Business Review articles, “Let's Hear It for B Players” and “Why Mentoring Matters in a Hypercompetitive World”.  His Harvard Business Review articles focus on why high achieving professionals often unwittingly sabotage their effort to excel.

Professor DeLong received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Brigham Young University and his Ph.D. from Purdue University in Industrial Supervision.  He received a post-doctoral fellowship from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Thomas J DeLong | E-mail:

  1. Flying Without a Net: Turn Fear of Change into Fuel for Success

    Confronted by omnipresent threats of job loss and change, even the brightest among us are anxious. In response, we're hunkering down, blocking ourselves from new challenges. This response hurts us and our organizations, but we fear making ourselves even more vulnerable by committing mistakes while learning something new. In Flying Without a Net, Thomas DeLong explains how to draw strength from vulnerability. First, understand the forces that escalate anxiety in high achievers and the unproductive behaviors you turn to for relief. Then adopt practices that give you the courage to "do the right things poorly" before "doing the right things well." Drawing on his extensive research and consulting work, DeLong lays out (1) Roots of high achievers' anxiety: fear of being wrong, lack of a sense of purpose, and a craving for human connection; (2) Destructive behaviors we adopt to relieve our anxiety: busyness, comparing ourselves to others, and blaming others for our frustrations; (3) Behaviors we must adopt to gain strength from vulnerability: putting the past behind us and seeking honest feedback. Packed with practical advice and inspiring stories, Flying Without a Net is an invaluable resource for all leaders seeking to thrive in this age of anxiety.