Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value
DescriptionIn 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.
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About the Author
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)