Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value

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Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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 Wall 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 rigorous 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. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
A Better Way to Create Lasting Value
According to former Medtronic CEO Bill George, when leaders are dedicated stewards and lead in an authentic manner, they build long-lasting organizations that do great good for people and make a giant difference in the world. To help leaders move past the greed that has seduced many others into sacrificing the future of their organizations and the people they lead, George has written a guide that describes a better plan for leading companies. In Authentic Leadership, he offers a way to lead that builds enduring organizations and benefits everyone who has a stake in a company, including customers, employees, and shareholders. He writes that his goal is to show leaders that embracing authentic leadership can reward them with the satisfaction of making a difference in the lives of customers, providing opportunities for employees, and generating superior long-term returns for shareholders.

George begins his book with a special thanks to Enron and Arthur Andersen. He explains that the depth of their misconduct shocked the world and awakened us all to the reality that business was headed toward self-destruction. Although regulators and lawmakers have crafted a few new laws to close loopholes, George writes that integrity, stewardship and sound governance are deeper issues that must be addressed by leaders themselves.

Building Enduring Organizations
His prescription for better leadership is authentic leaders of the highest integrity who are committed to building enduring organizations, who have the courage to build their companies to meet the needs of all their stakeholders, and who recognize the importance of their service to society. Authentic Leadership offers a fresh approach to business leaders that has been "refined in the crucible of real-world experience," while presenting the lessons George learned while dealing with tough issues throughout his career as a successful leader.

In the first part of his book, George describes authentic leaders and how they develop. He writes that they genuinely desire to serve others through their leadership and are more interested in empowering the people they lead to make a difference than they are in power, money or prestige for themselves. They are as guided by passion and compassion as they are by their logical minds.

To develop authenticity, George writes that each leader must develop his or her own leadership style that is consistent with his or her personality and character. The authenticity of the leader is more important than the style with which the leader leads. Authenticity means accepting one's faults as well as using one's strengths. George writes that authentic leaders demonstrate these five qualities:

  1. Authentic leaders understand their purpose.
  2. They practice solid values.
  3. They lead with heart.
  4. They establish connected relationships.
  5. They demonstrate self-discipline.


In the second part of Authentic Leadership, George reveals the ways authentic leaders build authentic companies. He writes that an authentic company is guided by a mission and vision, and practices a consistent set of values while empowering its employees to serve customers with innovative products and superior service. Being disciplined enough to produce results for all stakeholders is also a crucial part of an authentic company.

The Homology Process
George writes that another ingredient in the recipe for creating an authentic company is homology. This is the process by which the leader and the organization interact and grow from interacting with each other. Through interactions with the company, the leader becomes more effective in his or her role. As a result, the organization responds to his or her leadership.

Authentic Leadership also describes how authentic companies compete more effectively in the market and how authentic leaders look beyond the bottom line when pursuing a mission, living by one's values, and satisfying stakeholders. George writes that authentic companies that want to succeed for many decades to come must have a sound system of governance and build in leadership succession for several generations. Authentic leaders must also play a role in the greater society by tackling public policy issues and addressing challenging societal problems.

Why We Like This Book
Authentic Leadership reveals the time-tested leadership lessons learned by an important leader during his lifetime and productive tenure at the helm of a leading medical technology company, and shows leaders how they can create similarly astounding results. Filled with detailed stories from George's personal and business life, this book offers leaders a better way out of the current corporate crisis. Copyright © 2004 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

From the Publisher
“…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)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787975289
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/28/2004
  • Series: J-B Warren Bennis Series , #138
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 203,786
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 10.32 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Bill George is former chairman and CEO of Medtronic, the world's 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 BusinessWeek’s "Top 25 Managers." He has been widely quoted in the New York Times, Fortune, Face the Nation, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and NPR's All Things Considered. His Web site is www.authenticleaders.org.

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Table of Contents

Foreword xv
Warren 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

Acknowledgments 207

The Author 209

Index 211

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2013

    Highly recommend

    This is an excellent book about leadership that is applicable to business, military and public organizations. The concepts are presented allow the reader to reflect on the organization they are part of and how the leadership of that organization provides a clear vision of the goals that are necessary for the organization to be successful, and how authentic they appear to be.

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