DDI Celebrates 50 Years of Innovation by Continuing to Revolutionize Workplaces Globally

November 6, 2020

DDI has been changing the way leaders lead their business for a half a century and continues to develop innovations to keep advancing the way organizations observe, evaluate and predict leadership potential and behaviors.

William C. Byham, Ph.D., and the late Douglas W. Bray, Ph.D., co-founded DDI in 1970 when they teamed up to bring the assessment center methodology to the business world at large to observe, evaluate, and predict leader behavior. Their work provided organizations with a validated scientific approach to make critical personnel decisions. DDI changed how organizations assess, hire, promote, and develop exceptional leaders, and continues to impact the lives of millions.

“It’s amazing to see how DDI has grown from a small, two-man operation, to a global firm that has impacted millions of people around the world,” said Tacy Byham, Ph.D., chief executive officer of DDI and William C. Byham’s daughter. “We are proud of the impact we have had on the business world and plan to keep our founders’ innovative spirit moving forward to keep positively impacting our clients and their organizations.”

DDI pioneered the world’s first behavior-based interviewing system, Targeted Selection, and the first leadership development system based on behavior modeling, Interaction Management, which would become a bedrock for developing critical leadership skills worldwide. DDI has consistently drawn on insights acquired through experience, a passion for continuous growth, and a large body of research to meet clients’ current and future needs.

As DDI’s offerings and innovations grew, so did the company. It started with William C. Byham and Bray as a two-person operation in Mt. Lebanon, Pa., and expanded to a global leadership consulting firm with more than 600 employees in 25 countries across six continents.

Early in DDI’s history, Byham and Bray focused on the importance of workplace diversity and inclusion. William C. Byham and Mildred E. Katzell published “Women in the Workforce: Confrontation with Change,” in 1970. It focused on the importance of women in an inclusive workforce. Following the book, DDI helped staff the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by conducting leadership assessments in 1978.

In addition to advancing leadership development, William C. Byham and his wife, Carolyn M. Byham, also focused on improving the Pittsburgh region through several philanthropic efforts. Their work helped fund the renovation of the former Fulton Theater in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, which was re-opened as the Byham Theater.

They also helped relocate Pittsburgh’s classical music station to the heart of the Cultural District through the Carolyn M. Byham WQED FM 89.3 Studio and bestowed an endowment to the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School. It helped renovate a house to give pre-professional ballet dancers a place to stay while attending school. In addition, the Byhams lead fundraising efforts to construct the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School’s Byham Center for Dance Excellence.

The innovative spirit of Byham and Bray continues today through DDI’s powerful leadership assessment, development, and coaching solutions, which are available on digital platforms. DDI also pioneered the first application of virtual reality for soft-skills and diversity and inclusion training, which received Human Resource Executive Magazine’s Top HR Product of 2019.

“Fifty years is a milestone we are proud to commemorate, but as we remember what brought us to this point, we’re focused on moving our industry into the future,” William C. Byham said. “We’re proud of all we have accomplished during the past five decades and we have much more to do. We have a great deal more in store for the organizations we work with.”


About DDI

DDI is a global leadership consulting firm that helps organizations hire, promote and develop exceptional leaders. From first-time managers to C-suite executives, DDI is by leaders’ sides, supporting them in every critical moment of leadership. Built on five decades of research and experience in the science of leadership, DDI’s evidence-based assessment and development solutions enable millions of leaders around the world to succeed, propelling their organizations to new heights. For more information, visit ddiworld.com.

Available for interviews:

Tacy Byham, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of DDI