Bill George

TAGS: CEO, Leadership, Strategy

Bill George

"Bill's message resonated with the audience and it worked well in the context of the rest of the program. He was able to "model" his message so that they had both words and actions to absorb. It really was excellent."

Bill George is Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School where he teaches leadership. He was CEO of Medtronic from 1991 until 2001 and Chairman from 1996 to 2002. Under his leadership, Medtronic's market capitalization grew from $1.1 billion to $60 billion, averaging 35% a year. He is the author of three best-selling books: True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, Finding Your True North: A Personal Guide, and Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets of Creating Lasting Value. He has been named one of the “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 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 board chair from 1996-2002. Earlier in his career, he was a senior executive with Honeywell and Litton Industries and served in the U.S. Department of Defense.

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



  • True North: Discover your Authentic Leadership

    Given the growing leadership crisis, it has become increasingly evident that a new kind of business leader is needed in the 21st century. In 2003, Bill George's bestselling book, Authentic Leadership, challenged the new generation of leaders to lead authentically. The feedback from readers, including many CEOs, was that they had a tremendous desire to be authentic leaders and many of them asked how they could become such a leader.

    True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership uses face-to-face research on the lives of 125 authentic leaders to demonstrate conclusively how readers can become authentic leaders. These interviews constitute the largest in-depth study of leadership development ever undertaken. The interviewees discussed openly and honestly how they developed their leadership, and candidly shared their life stories, personal struggles, failures, and triumphs.

  • Leading Through Crisis

    Drawing on his own experience as former CEO of Medtronic, Board Director for Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil, Novartis and Target, and currently Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School, Bill will share his 7 lessons for leading in crisis and how you can apply them in your own organization in times of crisis and in times of revitalization.

  • True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership
    True North shows how anyone who follows their internal compass can become an authentic leader. This leadership tour de force is based on research and first-person interviews with 125 of today’s top leaders—with some surprising results. In this important book, acclaimed former Medtronic CEO Bill George and coauthor Peter Sims share the wisdom of these outstanding leaders and describe how you can develop as an authentic leader. "True North" presents a concrete and comprehensive program for leadership success and shows how to create your own Personal Leadership Development Plan centered on five key areas: Knowing your authentic self Defining your values and leadership principles Understanding your motivations Building your support team Staying grounded by integrating all aspects of your life.. MORE →

    True North Groups: A Powerful Path to Personal and Leadership Development
    The challenges we face these days are so great that we cannot rely entirely on ourselves, our communities, or our organizations to support us and help us stay on track. We need a small group of people with whom we can have in-depth discussions and share intimately about the most important things in our lives--our happiness and sadness, our hopes and fears, our beliefs and convictions. For the past thirty-five years, Bill George and Doug Baker have found the answer in what they call "True North Groups." ... MORE →

    Seven Lessons for Leading in Crisis
    The economic calamity of 2008-09 was not caused by subprime mortgages, credit default swaps, or even excessive greed. These are only symptoms of the real problem. The root cause of the problem was failed leadership from leaders who didn’t follow their True North--the internal compass of beliefs, values, and principles that guides you through life. Staying on course is much easier when things are going well. But will you do so under the enormous pressure that comes with a crisis? Can you stay focused on your True North in the face of temptations to bend the rules to get through the crisis? ... MORE →

    Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value
    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... MORE →


  • True North Leaders
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