When Andrew Odze was seven years old, he was diagnosed with leukemia. The survival rate for children at that time was only 20 percent, but new treatments were saving more patients. Odze was one of those survivors—his father, a medical doctor, played an essential role in diagnosing and managing his treatment and recovery. Odze’s experience would be the start of his lifelong pursuit of helping people triumph over their challenges and reveal their full potential.
A few years into his recovery, Odze realized that while his physical battle with cancer was over, he was mentally still fighting the disease. “I tearfully said to my mother, ‘Why me?’” he recalls. “She simply said, ‘We don’t get to choose what happens to us in our life, only how we respond. I believe God only lets us face things we can handle. So, how will you respond to what has been asked of you now?’”
The power of that conversation has stayed with him to this day. “I was inspired by how a conversation could change what I believed and who I became as a result of it,” Odze says. “By the time I was in college, I knew I wanted to spend my life in positions of such influence for others.”
Today, as the founder and managing partner of a consulting firm, Odze and his team engage their clients in such consequential conversations everyday. The firm, eXecutive leadership partners (ELP), supports senior leaders in making decisions and shifting their beliefs and behaviors in ways that create strong cultures, more effective teams and better business results for their companies.
While it is often said that people do not change and people resist change, the ELP team operates differently. “If we start with the belief that we and others can’t change, surely no one will change,” he explains. “We don’t reject the notion that people can be resistant to change. We just also know there is a widespread appetite by most of us to be able to change in some way, and we see leaders demonstrating profound and deliberate changes all the time in our work with them.”
For Odze, supporting and provoking change in others is a primary leadership responsibility. He suggests that leaders are always attempting to shape what their followers believe and what they do. “The best leaders help you see things you didn’t see before, such as the vision for the organization, the opportunity to create specific value for stakeholders, and your unique role,” he says. “Most importantly, they inspire you to believe in the cause, in the team, and in yourself.”
Odze’s credibility in advising leaders extends far beyond his life experiences. He holds masters degrees in clinical and organizational psychology along with a doctorate in clinical psychology and is a licensed clinical psychologist. His academic qualifications stand on par with his corporate experience. Odze spent the first seventeen years of his career in senior human resources roles at Motorola and Bank of America, where he developed his expertise assessing and developing C-suite executives, architecting the organization design, and accelerating team and talent development.
ELP is known for its differentiated leadership assessment, executive coaching, and team acceleration services, but it is the mission that guides the firm’s work. “My partners and I are inspired by the opportunity that is created for our country and our community when our clients grow and we know how much opportunity is lost when a business stumbles,” Odze says. “Our purpose is to develop leaders who create enduring value, because leaders at the top of these massive companies are pressed to create and sustain economic value in addition to demonstrating leadership.”
The firm developed a proprietary technology for profiling the unique ways that leaders create economic value in addition to assessing leadership effectiveness as part of their eXecutive Development Assessment (XDA). ELP has also earned its reputation in accelerating how quickly leadership teams get to and sustain their performance through their Accelerated Team Performance (ATP) offering.
“We just finished taking the leadership team of a multibillion-dollar business through the process and their business pivoted brilliantly during the pandemic as a result,” he says. “Given the measurable results they achieved, the client has us doing the same thing with ten teams and over one hundred leaders at the next level down.”
Odze and ELP are also active in shaping the Charlotte, North Carolina, community where they dedicate the firm’s resources to not-for-profits that uplift children and families. As a board member for the Soccer Foundation of Charlotte (SFC), Odze and his firm supports SFC in providing yearlong soccer, literacy, and personal development to children in Title 1 schools.
“My life experience and my training as a psychologist compels me to find ways to give to others the support I’ve received in my life,” he says. “With SFC, our kids build a relationship with a coach and their teammates that will surely shape their future.”
Nearly forty years after that fateful conversation with his mother, Odze is living his aspiration by contributing to the success of companies, leaders, and people in the community.