Synopses & Reviews
"Bill George will be remembered as much, perhaps more, for this book, as for his extraordinary leadership achievements over the last four decades."
—from the Foreword by Warren Bennis
Leading CEOs and Leadership Gurus Enthusiastically Endorse Bill George's Authentic Leadership
"Anyone interested in how to become an effective leader should meet Bill George, former CEO of one of America’s finest companies—Medtronic."
—Arthur Levitt, former chairman, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
"Authentic Leadership is a powerful call for genuine and ethical business leadership, made ever more persuasive by Bill George's own extraordinary life."
—Walter Mondale, former vice president of the United States
"This is the best book by a business leader that I've ever read!"
—John C. Whitehead, former chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs
"Bill George is one of the most successful business leaders of all time."
—Richard M. Kovacevich, chairman and CEO, Wells Fargo
"In a time when ethical leadership has more value than ever, Bill George shows us the way with clarity and conviction."
—Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence and Primal Leadership
"Bill George has won a legendary reputation for success and integrity in American enterprise. Read and grow!"
—David Gergen, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard University, and author of Eyewitness to Power
"I had a wonderful opportunity to learn from Bill George in several business ventures. Here, Bill gives a broader audience a chance to benefit from his wisdom."
—Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and CEO, General Electric
"Authentic Leadership is a priceless dialogue with Bill George, unquestionably America’s preeminent steward of corporate integrity. This book is destined to be a classic."
—Harvey Mackay, author of Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive
"In Authentic Leadership Bill George shows why he is recognized as one of the world’s best corporate leaders."
—Hank McKinnell, chairman and CEO, Pfizer
“…even sceptics will like the book’s balanced tone...” (Management Today
, Feb. 2005)
George candidly recounts his experiences as chair and CEO of Medtronic, a medical technology producer, and makes a case that we need new, authentic business leaders. The five essential dimensions of "authentic" leaders are purpose, values, heart, relationships, and self-discipline. In the scorched, post-Enron corporate world, this motivational how-to will help developing business leaders find the path to personal and business success. (Best Business Books 2003, Library Journal, March 15, 2004)
George, a former Medtronic CEO, sets the tone early in his book: "Somewhere along the way we lost sight of the imperative of selecting leaders that create healthy corporations for the long term." It would be wonderful if George then provided readers hungry for change with a blueprint for how this could happen; alas, such is not the case. George's thesis - too many CEOs think only in the short term and of the stock price, eventually losing a company's focus in the hurtling pursuit of all Street validation - is not a bad one. His proposal: a call for "authentic leadership," that is, finding a leader who doesn't try to emulate the greats, because such copycatting will never result in authenticity or honest leadership. It all gets a bit fuzzy at times, and George (who BusinessWeek recognized as a top-25 manager in 1998) relies far too much on his experience at Medtronic, a medical technology producer. Although George's company seems a good example of what he's talking about (he once made headlines by boldly declaring "Shareholders come third," after customers and employees), there's not a rigor9ous enough attempt here to make that example universally applicable. Though superbly moral and inspiring, this volume is not as helpful as it could be. (Aug.)
Forecast: With appearances on Meet the Press and Talk of the Nation, George has a recognizable name in the media, and scheduled interviews on NPR and the Charlie Rose Show will only help with book sales. (Publishers Weekly, July 7, 2003)
"There is a great deal of valuable insight in Authentic Leadership. One can only wish that Mr. George had written it five years ago, before so many chief executives led their companies so badly astray." (New York Times, July 27, 2003)
In the wake of continuing corporate scandals there have been few, if any, CEOs that have stepped forward as models of "doing things right"—except the former chairman and CEO of Medtronic, Bill George. George has become the unofficial spokesperson for responsible leadership—in business, the media, and academia.
In Authentic Leadership Bill George makes the case that we do need new leaders, not just new laws, to bring us out of the current corporate crisis. He persuasively demonstrates that authentic leaders of mission-driven companies will create far greater shareholder value than financially oriented companies. During George's twelve-year leadership at Medtronic, the company's market capitalization soared from $1.1 billion to $460 billion, averaging 35% per year.
George candidly recounts many of the toughest challenges he encountered -- from ethical dilemmas and battles with the FDA to his own development as a leader. He shows how to develop the five essential dimensions of authentic leaders—purpose, values, heart, relationships, and self-discipline. Authentic Leadership offers inspiring lessons to all who want to lead with heart and with compassion for those they serve.
Bill George helps readers answer vital questions such as: What should I do when my personal values conflict with company business values? How do I make trade-offs between the needs of my customers, my employees, and my company's shareholders? Do I really want to devote my talents to business? Authentic Leadership provides a tested guide for character-based leaders and all those who have a stake in the integrity and success of our corporations.
Authentic Leadership provides a framework for leaders to understand their purpose in leading, from a seasoned CEO who has truly been there. It focuses on the crucibles of experience through which leaders come to know who they are and solidify what they stand for. It speaks to leaders who want to lead with heart and compassion for those they serve. The author outlines the five qualities of a responsible leader: Purpose, values, relationships, self-discipline, and heart.
About the Author
Bill George is former chairman and CEO of Medtronic, the worlds leading medical technology company. He is a board member of Goldman Sachs, Target, and Novartis and executive-in-residence at Yale. George has been recognized as "Executive of the Year" by the Academy of Management, "Director of the Year" by the National Association of Corporate Directors, and one of BusinessWeeks "Top 25 Managers." He has been widely quoted in the New York Times, Fortune, Face the Nation, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and NPRs All Things Considered. His Web site is www.authenticleaders.org.
Table of Contents
Foreword xvWarren Bennis
Preface: A New Generation of Leaders xvii
Introduction: Where Have All the Leaders Gone? 1
Part One: Becoming an Authentic Leader
1. Leadership Is Authenticity, Not Style 11
2. The Transformation of Leaders 27
3. Leading a Balanced Life 45
Part Two: Building an Authentic Company
4. Missions Motivate, Dollars Don't 61
5. Values Don't Lie 71
6. It's the Customer, Stupid! 81
7. It's Not Just the CEO 91
8. Whose Bottom Line: Customers or Shareholders? 101
Part Three: In the Crucible of the Market
9. Seven Deadly Sins: Pitfalls to Growth 109
10. Overcoming Obstacles: Nothing Can Stand in Your Way 117
11. Ethical Dilemmas: When in Rome, Don’t Follow the Romans 127
12. Innovations from the Heart 133
13. Acquisitions Aren’t Just About Money 143
14. Shareholders Come Third 153
Part Four: Beyond the Bottom Line
15. Governance Is Governance 165
16. Sticking Your Neck Out 177
17. Preparing for Succession . . . and Moving On 187
Epilogue: If Not Me, Then Who? If Not Now, When? 197
Medtronic Financial Results 201
Suggested Reading 203
The Author 209