Tag Archives: Bill George

The Classic Pamela Positive: Words of Wisdom

I am always searching for ways to grow as an individual. Great authors I love are Bill George & Stephen Covey; great leaders I love are Desmond Tutu and Mother Teresa.

I came across this inspiring brief film by Andrew Zuckerman, cataloguing what many of our leaders across different sectors, thought about wisdom. I hope you enjoy: http://www.wisdombook.org/

Stay inspired and true.

The Self-Esteem of Leadership, Part Two

How Compassion Inside First, Leads to External Success

Pamela Hawley’s continued series, “7 Minutes with a CEO,” in an interview with Bill George, Harvard Business School Professor and former CEO of Medtronics

We continue in our discussion starting with the importance of respect and compassion inside first, as leaders. 

Pamela: So leaders can struggle like everyone else.  What’s the antidote?

Bill: When we have the essential elements of self-esteem, we are here to help others grow.  I think it starts with ourselves.

Pamela: So as we push ourselves to grow, we can help others grow.  And what do you consider an “unsuccessful” leader? What have you learned?

Bill: The true drive behind successful leaders is that the internal standards of respect and upright living are what guide them.  The leaders who fall lack these qualities and are therefore driven for what is considered “success” by the world.

This “success” is external factors: corruption, money, sex, what is perceived as power…they use to make themselves feel better. Yet the lures of power, sex and money are not really the issue.  They are external validation—and they seem to be quite powerful.  But they actually lead to powerlessness. Now I can see how leaders who fall for sex or money are not only carrying others down, but also themselves.

Pamela:  So in failure, it’s “the external” that would pump us up.  In success, it’s the internal – our agreement for self-respect from ourselves, starting there.  It’s our integrity and doing the right thing, which allows us to be successful.  Can that mean that success is manifest before any actions even take place?

Bill:  Success and leadership is in your heart. It’s in your mind. And it’s ingrained in who you are, before it manifests itself in your life. It’s your commitment, ever-renewing covenant and promise with yourself.   Ongoing.   Not event-specific.

Pamela: Bill, thank you. It’s inspiring and encouraging to know it’s every minute.  It’s an enduring commitment, not an on-off button.  Leadership doesn’t turn off at 5 p.m.  Do you have any helpful advice for aspiring and current leaders?

Bill: I’d say first is self-awareness. And No. 2 is compassion for oneself.

Pamela: So it sounds like we really have to be conscious of how we work inside, and also be gentle with ourselves. It’s not just being an outward pillar of strength.

Bill:  The leaders who can’t follow this guidance of self-awareness and compassion — don’t like themselves. They therefore can’t like or respect others. And they fail to lead.

Pamela: Bill, thank you for this wise, insightful view.  While some may call it squishy, it sounds like we need to believe, love, cherish ourselves.

Bill: Yes, and then live our lives accordingly. That’s demonstrating true leadership.

Bill George is a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School, where he has taught leadership since 2004. He is the author of four best-selling books: 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis, True North, Finding Your True North, and Authentic Leadership.  With co-author Doug Baker he recently published True North Groups.

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.  He was inspired to join Medtronic in part by the deaths of his mother and his fiancée from illnesses, 18 months apart; he was drawn to Medtronic’s mission of saving the lives of the sick.  Earlier in his career, Mr. George was a senior executive with Honeywell and Litton Industries, and served in the U.S. Department of Defense.

Mr. George and his wife Penny live in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Bio Source: www.billgeorge.org

The Self-Esteem of Leadership

Pamela Hawley is the founder and CEO of UniversalGiving. In her continuing series on “7 Minutes with a CEO,” she interviewed preeminent thought leader, Bill George. Below is her interview with the former CEO of Medtronics and current professor at Harvard Business School.  She spoke with Bill about leadership and why he thinks self-esteem (a rare word in leadership) is one of the most important qualities. 

THE SELF-ESTEEM OF LEADERSHIP

Pamela Hawley:  Bill, I love the word leadership, and believe we are all leaders, right at this moment.  We can positively impact so many people in our day-to-day.  Can you please speak about your view of leadership?

Bill George:  Well, first we do need to take a look at the meaning behind life.  Thoughts that normally come from religion or values can give us the existential basis we need.  Leaders need to think: “Why are you here?  What’s your purpose?  How do I use my time here?”  We all want “a chance for a full life,” and thinking this way helps us.

Pamela: Bill, what would you say are the biggest concerns we face in the world?

Bill: Biggest concerns for the world—Americans are all about instant gratification.  We seek awards, money and material rewards.  Instead, we need to invest long-term, and sacrifice for each other.

Pamela: So the challenges the world faces, point to self.  What would you say are the greatest dangers for leaders?

Bill: We have to look at what is “essential” for each person.  What’s the bottom line? The answer, which most people don’t expect, is self-esteem.

Pamela: Bill, I don’t often hear the word self-esteem associated with leaders, because we assume they are confident. What does it mean to you?

Bill:  Well, sometimes we expect too much of leaders’ own self-sufficient strength.  You might need therapy or prayers to lead. Sometimes we might think of leadership as kind of a self-help packet.  And that means to have high self-esteem, we must be willing to continue working on leadership and ourselves.

Now, working on self-esteem might make us feel removed.  Or, the label makes us uncomfortable.  Who would want to admit that they don’t have a positive self-regard? Who would want to say “I need to work on my self-esteem in order to be a good or better leader?”

Pamela: So how do you see different variations of this self-esteem in people?

Bill:  Most leaders who fail really suffer from a lack of a strong identity, belief in themselves and, to be frank, respect for themselves.  When leaders are disrespecting others, it really starts with themselves.

Stay tuned for Part II of “The Self Esteem of Leadership: How Compassion Inside First, Leads to External Success.”

Bill George is a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School, where he has taught leadership since 2004. He is the author of four best-selling books: 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis, True North, Finding Your True North, and Authentic Leadership.  With co-author Doug Baker he recently published True North Groups.

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.  He was inspired to join Medtronic in part by the deaths of his mother and his fiancée from illnesses, 18 months apart; he was drawn to Medtronic’s mission of saving the lives of the sick.  Earlier in his career, Mr. George was a senior executive with Honeywell and Litton Industries and served in the U.S. Department of Defense.

Mr. George and his wife Penny live in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Bio Source: www.billgeorge.org

The Pamela Positive: Words of Wisdom

I am always searching for ways to grow as an individual. Great authors I love are Bill George & Stephen Covey; great leaders I love are Desmond Tutu and Mother Teresa.

I came across this inspiring brief film by Andrew Zuckerman, cataloguing what many of our leaders across different sectors, thought about wisdom. I hope you enjoy: http://www.wisdombook.org/

Stay inspired and true.

The Pamela Positive: Words of Wisdom

I am always searching for ways to grow as an individual. Great authors I love are Bill George & Stephen Covey; great leaders I love are Desmond Tutu and Mother Teresa.

I came across this inspiring brief film by Andrew Zuckerman, cataloguing what many of our leaders across different sectors, thought about wisdom. I hope you enjoy: http://www.wisdombook.org/

Stay inspired and true.