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Bill George
Bill George is a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School, where he has taught leadership since 2004. He is the author of three best-selling books Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets of Creating Lasting Value (Jossey-Bass, 2003), True North, Discover Your Authentic Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2007), and Finding Your True North, A Personal Guide (Jossey-Bass, 2008).

Mr. George is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Medtronic. He joined Medtronic in 1989 as President and Chief Operating Officer, was Chief Executive Officer from 1991-2001, and Chairman of the Board from 1996 to 2002. Earlier in his career, he was an executive with Honeywell and Litton Industries and served in the U.S. Department of Defense.

Mr. George currently serves as a director of ExxonMobil and Goldman Sachs, and also recently served on the board of Novartis and Target Corporation. He is also currently a trustee of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, World Economic Forum USA and the Guthrie Theater. He has served as chair of the board chair of Allina Health System, Abbott-Northwestern Hospital, United Way of the Greater Twin Cities, and Advamed.

He has been named one of “Top 25 Business Leaders of the Past 25 Years” by PBS; “Executive of the Year-2001″ by the Academy of Management; and “Director of the Year-2001-02″ by the National Association of Corporate Directors. Mr. George has made frequent appearances on television and radio, including: The Charlie Rose Show, The Today Show, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, NOW, CNBC, Bloomberg News, and NPR. His articles have appeared in Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, and numerous other publications.

Mr. George received his BSIE with high honors from Georgia Tech, his MBA with high distinction from Harvard University, where he was a Baker Scholar, and honorary PhDs from Georgia Tech and Bryant University. During 2002-03 he was professor at IMD International and Ecole Polytechnique in Lausanne, Switzerland, and executive-in-residence at Yale School of Management.

Connect with Bill on his website is and Facebook Page.

Entries by Bill George

Meet Health Care's Major Spoilers: Theranos, Valeant and Turing Pharmaceuticals

(0) Comments | Posted May 10, 2016 | 4:54 PM

In health care, there are no shortcuts and no quick paths to market.

Health care companies face challenging times as they adapt to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while still delivering for customers and shareholders. Most companies have navigated these fast-changing times...

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What's Your Life Goal? Success or Significance?

(2) Comments | Posted April 29, 2016 | 12:31 PM

Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you're living?
- Bob Marley

In my forties, I was unhappy with my career and where it was heading.

Driving home on a beautiful fall afternoon, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw a miserable person--me....

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Innovation Leaders Create Long-Term Value

(1) Comments | Posted April 6, 2016 | 1:35 PM

In 2015, Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, told his top 400 executives, "The riskiest thing Disney can do is maintain the status quo." Iger knows that just leveraging the traditional Disney brands like Mickey Mouse and adding theme parks is insufficient to sustain the company's growth.

As organizations grow,...

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Bringing Out Our Worst, or Our Best?

(8) Comments | Posted March 22, 2016 | 10:15 PM

From the media and comments online, much that is written about leaders these days seems to be negative: They are incompetent, arrogant, unethical, greedy -- the list goes on and on.

No doubt there is a great deal of anger and cynicism in the population, whether it is coming...

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Are Our Leaders Losing Their Humility?

(52) Comments | Posted March 9, 2016 | 9:55 PM

Listening to the media these days one would think that our leaders have lost all sense of humility, if indeed they ever had it.

Donald Trump brags that he used a $1 million inheritance to create $10 billion net worth. CEOs like Valeant's Mike Pearson hype their quarterly results by...

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Have Activist Investors Finally Lost Their Luster?

(9) Comments | Posted February 19, 2016 | 9:37 PM

Trust is the foundation of American capitalism. Many activist investors have damaged that faith.

Through 2014 and 2015, the activist investor movement was picking up steam. Corporate boards were running for cover or capitulating to activist demands before they got into proxy fights.

The media heaped adulation on activist investors....

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America Is in the Midst of a Philanthropic Revolution

(2) Comments | Posted January 19, 2016 | 10:33 AM

America's philanthropists aren't waiting any longer for politicians or businesses to solve the world's most pressing problems.

To those optimistic, persistent souls who have a vested interest in seeing positive social change in the U.S., here's a sobering message: if you are looking for meaningful government support,...

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What's Behind Skyrocketing Drug Prices

(0) Comments | Posted December 23, 2015 | 9:00 AM

Can the outrageous actions of one individual taint an entire industry?

By demonstrating total disregard for the patients that drug companies serve, pharmaceutical bad boy Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, is trying his hardest to destroy the reputation of the industry. Shkreli became America's most detested businessman when...

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You Won't Make It If You Fake It

(2) Comments | Posted December 12, 2015 | 5:51 PM

The cover of last January's Harvard Business Review featured the subhead, "When it's OK to fake it 'til you make it."

"Faking it" is the antithesis of authentic leadership. Following this advice is the most likely path to failure as a leader. You cannot act like a leader until you...

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Vulnerability Is Power

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2015 | 1:41 PM


"To show your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable, to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength" -- Criss Jami

Imagine a moment when you felt fully comfortable with others. You weren't guarding what you said. You weren't monitoring how others...

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What Does Authentic Leadership Really Mean?

(3) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 7:54 AM

"Authenticity has become the gold standard for leadership." -- Harvard Business Review, January 2015

In the last 10 years, authenticity has become the gold standard of leadership. This is a sea change from 2003 when I wrote Authentic Leadership. Back then, many people asked what it meant to...

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Mindfulness Is Transforming Leaders

(5) Comments | Posted November 11, 2015 | 9:42 PM

Last week my wife Penny and I had the opportunity to keynote the Mindful Leadership Summit. At the summit, 750 participants gathered to discuss how mindfulness practices could change global leadership for the better. As Charles Lief, president of Naropa University, said, "The opening of all sectors to talk about...

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Overcoming the Loneliness of Leadership

(13) Comments | Posted November 3, 2015 | 9:24 AM

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
--African Proverb

Who can you turn to when life gets difficult and things aren't going your way?

Over the past 20 years, Americans have...

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The World's Most Innovative Company

(0) Comments | Posted October 28, 2015 | 9:18 AM

"If your goals are ambitious enough, even failure will be a good achievement."
- Laszlo Block, Google's Senior VP of People Operations

Two weeks ago I spent a day at the world's most innovative company: Google. It felt more like a college campus than a multi-billion dollar...

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The Surprising Difference Between Careerism and Leadership

(0) Comments | Posted October 21, 2015 | 5:26 PM

Ask yourself whether you are leading with purpose or just trying to get ahead.

Do you actually believe in something larger than your compensation, your career trajectory or your next success?

I often tell young leaders, if their work has no meaning or satisfaction, they are better off...

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Lessons From Volkswagen (and Other) Scandals

(18) Comments | Posted October 13, 2015 | 8:47 AM

"Without a moral center, you will swim in chaos" -- James Burke, Former Johnson & Johnson CEO

The Volkswagen scandal hit new lows this week when German-born Michael Horn, CEO of Volkswagen America, refused to acknowledge the people responsible for falsifying emissions tests on 11 million vehicles or to release...

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Are You An Empowering Leader?

(1) Comments | Posted October 6, 2015 | 8:56 AM

"Where is the spiritual value in rowing? The losing of self entirely to the cooperative effort of the crew." -- George Yeoman Pocock, boatbuilder, 1936 Olympic gold medal winner

Stepping into a Zappos call center is like walking into a circus. Phones...

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Why Wall Street Cannot Beat Buffett

(5) Comments | Posted September 29, 2015 | 9:00 AM

By Bill George and Zach Clayton

As a proven investor who has created hundreds of billions in value for his shareholders since 1965, Warren Buffett has delivered the most spectacular performance of any investor in modern history. Yet remarkably, Buffett has no qualms about sharing the "secrets" to his...

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Are Companies Succumbing to Shareholder Pressures?

(0) Comments | Posted September 22, 2015 | 1:00 PM

Are companies and their boards succumbing to short-term pressures from shareholders?

That's the concern of Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock, the world's largest fund manager with $4 trillion in assets under management. Fink personally wrote to all CEOs in the S&P 500 index last spring to warn them about...

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Your Journey from I to We

(8) Comments | Posted September 16, 2015 | 9:15 AM


Are you the hero of your own journey? Or are you a servant-leader who empowers others?

All of us start out in this world as individual contributors. In our early years we are measured by our grades, test scores, and solo accomplishments....

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