Bill George: True North
Bill George is executive fellow at Harvard Business School, where he has taught leadership since 2004. He is the author of four best-selling books: Authentic Leadership, True North, Discover Your True North, and 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis.
He was chair and CEO of Medtronic, the world’s leading medical technology company. Under his leadership, Medtronic’s market capitalization grew from $1.1 billion to $60 billion, averaging 35 percent a year. Bill has served as a director of Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil, Novartis, Target, the Mayo Clinic, and World Economic Forum USA. He has been named one of the Top 25 Business Leaders of the Past 25 Years by PBS, Executive of the Year by Academy of Management, and Director of the Year by National Association of Corporate Directors. He is the author with Zach Clayton of True North: Leading Authentically in Today's Workplace, Emerging Leader Edition*.
We’ve all seen leadership go badly and most of us struggle with tendencies to get pulled off course. In this conversation, Bill and I explore the five most common archetypes that tend to derail leaders and the antidote that prevents them. We also discuss how we can recognize these tendencies in ourselves so that we can do better for others.
Five archetypes of leadership derailment:
- Imposters: political animals who figure out who their competitors and then eliminate them.
- Rationalizers: masters of denial who don’t take responsibility themselves.
- Glory seekers: motivated by the acclaim of the world.
- Loners: they believe they can make it on their own and reject feedback.
- Shooting stars: they build shallow foundations and move on quickly to the next things, often avoiding commitment.
Antidotes to leadership derailment:
Write down the most difficult ethical dilemma you are currently facing and chronicle the “least generous” interpretation of your actions.
Project forward a decade and assume the worst: you have derailed in a major failure. Envision the situation in which you could lose your way.
- True North: Leading Authentically in Today's Workplace, Emerging Leader Edition* by Bill George and Zach Clayton
Download my interview notes in PDF format (free membership required).
- Discover Your True North, with Bill George (episode 225)
- Leadership Lies We Tell Ourselves, with Emily Leathers (episode 479)
- How to Help Your Manager Shine, with David Gergen (episode 588)
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