Episode 43

Bill George: Reinvent your leadership authentically

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Bill George tells me that this is the most difficult time to be a leader he’s seen in his life, because they face major generational, political, societal shifts and challenges. The traditional command and control approach to leadership and management doesn’t work.

Instead, we need more authentic leaders that have a clearer, longer-term view of what it takes to make their organisation successful. Leaders who take a stand on important issues, particularly the issues their employees and customers care about. Leaders who act as coach more than manager, who tell the truth, are transparent, vulnerable, able to admit their mistakes. Organisations need younger leaders, especially those from the front line, closest to the action.

They should also encourage people to find their true north — their fundamental values and beliefs — as early as possible in their careers, and challenge people mid-career to revisit and refresh their perspective on them. Reflect on your life, the good and bad times, strip it back and ask yourself what you are here for, and what matters. Look to lead an integrated life, practising reflection on how well you show up, perform and align your own purpose to that of the organisation you work with​.

The best bits of these conversations are captured in my newsletter Strategic Leader.

More about Bill

Bill George is Executive Fellow at Harvard Business School (HBS), where he has taught leadership since 2004. 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% per year.

Earlier in his career, he was an executive with Honeywell and Litton Industries and served in the US Department of Defense. He has served as a director of Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil, Novartis, Target, the Mayo Clinic and World Economic Forum USA.

“We need to flip the organization upside down and put our frontline people on top.”

Bill George, Executive Fellow, Harvard Business School

VIEW RUNNING ORDER

02.52 More difficult context.
04.12 Shift from emerging to established leaders.
05.25 Too much authenticity?
06.27 Overcoming inertia.
08.01 Surprises in the research.
09.12 Opening up the leadership.
10.42 Moral leadership.
13.08 Flipping from systemic to operational issues.
14.50 Developing your True North.
18.08 The formative role played by crucibles.
20.42 Missing mindsets and skill sets in leaders.
22.12 Leading an integrated life.
26.50 Aligning around a common vision.
29.23 CEOs as athletes.
30.43 His impact.
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Bill George: Reinvent your leadership authentically

Bill George: Reinvent your leadership authentically

Andy Woodfield: Coming out as your best self

Andy Woodfield: Coming out as your best self

Bruce Daisley: Drawing strength from others

Bruce Daisley: Drawing strength from others

Gena Cox: Building inclusive organisations

Gena Cox: Building inclusive organisations

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic: Supercharging human performance

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic: Supercharging human performance

Laura Vanderkam: Making time for what matters

Laura Vanderkam: Making time for what matters

Amy Gallo: Working with difficult people

Amy Gallo: Working with difficult people

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