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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

Vulnerability Is Power

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2015 | 2:41 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?

(2) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 8:54 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

(4) Comments | Posted November 11, 2015 | 10:42 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

(11) Comments | Posted November 3, 2015 | 10:24 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 | 10:18 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 | 6:26 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 | 9:47 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 | 9:56 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 | 10:00 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 | 2:00 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 | 10:15 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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Self Awareness: Key to Sustainable Leadership

(8) Comments | Posted September 8, 2015 | 10:03 AM


In 2007, Arianna Huffington's career was on a rapid upward trajectory. After building the Huffington Post as the leading online global newspaper, Time chose her as one of the world's 100 Most Influential People.

Then she had a wake-up call....

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Coping With Crucibles

(1) Comments | Posted September 1, 2015 | 12:46 PM

"Suffering is universal: You turn it around so that it becomes a creative, positive force," (Terry Waite).

Psychologist Abraham Maslow found that tragedy and trauma are the most important human learning experiences. Crucibles enable people to learn life is uncertain, and that they have limited control over events.

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Why Leaders Lose Their Way

(0) Comments | Posted August 24, 2015 | 8:56 AM

Have you ever felt you were losing your way? Cut adrift on a raging sea?

I know I have. When I was reaching the top of Honeywell, I was working 24/7. Having succeeded in turning around a series of troubled businesses, I was tasked with even more turnarounds. On the...

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For Leadership, Do You Need a Ladder or Compass?

(5) Comments | Posted August 17, 2015 | 10:37 AM

On your leadership journey, should you take a ladder or a compass?

The answer depends on whether you are trying to build a career or have a fulfilling life. As David Brooks writes in The Road to Character, "Are you pursuing resume values or eulogy values?"

When I graduated from...

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Introducing: Discover Your True North

(1) Comments | Posted August 10, 2015 | 11:21 AM

Are you all you want to be? Do you have a path to fulfilling your dreams?

You can do so just by being yourself, and developing the gifts already inside you. Can you recall a time when you felt intensely alive? A moment when you could say with confidence,...

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The Millennials: Ready To Lead Now

(16) Comments | Posted August 3, 2015 | 9:51 AM

Many Baby Boomers look down on Millennials as over-protected, lazy, attention-seeking young kids who haven't faced hardship.

They are dead wrong.

By 2020, Millennials -- born between 1981 and 1997 -- will make up 50 percent of the workforce. As their influence grows, we'll see a generation more...

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The Power of Mindful Leadership

(33) Comments | Posted July 27, 2015 | 10:48 AM

From the moment you wake up, you're bombarded with distractions. Emails clog your inbox, requests pile up, and notifications flicker in the background. Within moments your attention is scattered. Given the realities of today's 24/7 world, how do great leaders slow down and focus in order to make thoughtful decisions?...

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The Phoniness of Donald Trump

(0) Comments | Posted July 20, 2015 | 9:13 AM

Donald Trump wants to become president. He's running a campaign based on vanity and ego, not authentic leadership, with some prejudice tossed in. You will have to look far and wide to find a public figure who is less authentic than Trump. Last Saturday he reached a new low when...

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The Triumph of Authentic Leaders

(3) Comments | Posted July 13, 2015 | 9:14 AM

In late 2006, Alan Mulally arrived as the new CEO of Ford with a plain shirt, slacks, and a big smile. That smile quickly faded, however, when he asked to meet workers in the main factory. "I'm sorry", a colleague told him, "but Ford executives don't talk directly to factory...

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