Originally from Geelong, Australia, Dean has been a faculty member at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government since 1999. Today he works part-time with Harvard and spends the rest of his time speaking and consulting around the world. At the Harvard Kennedy School's Center for Public Leadership, for ten years he ran the World Leaders Project – a research project that drew lessons and insights on leadership from successful (and many unsuccessful) world leaders. He also chairs the annual Harvard executive education program, The Global Change Agent. In 2014, he was a visiting professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.
He has led major change processes and leadership development initiatives for large companies, government organizations, and social institutions throughout the world, including serving as the Chief Adviser to the President of Madagascar for six years, leading one of the most innovative and comprehensive development reforms in Africa.
He is the author of "Leadership for a Fractured World: How to Cross Boundaries, Build Bridges, and Lead Change," and "Real Leadership: Helping People and Organizations Face Their Toughest Challenges."