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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Use your internal compass to define your leadership, 2 Jun. 2009
This review is from: True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership (J-B Warren Bennis Series) (Hardcover)
Bill George was highly respected for his integrity as the CEO of Medtronic and is now a professor at Harvard Business School where he teaches a required MBA course on "Leadership and Corporate Accountability". George coined the phrase "authentic leadership" in an earlier book. True North sets out what it means for a leader to be authentic, with (if you answer the challenging exercise questions at the end of each chapter) a programme to start a leader (that's all of us) on a lifelong journey of self development to establish his/her authenticity. The book is based on interviews with 125 leaders and is liberally peppered with quotations and case examples from them.

True North starts the reader on a journey of leadership development to understand the key traits of authentic leadership: purpose, values, heart, relationships and self-discipline. George encourages the reader to develop his/her internal compass built around:

* Self-Awareness: What is my story? What are my strengths and developmental needs?
* Values: What are my most deeply held values? What principles guide my leadership?
* Motivations: What motivates me? How do I balance external and internal motivations?
* Support Team: Who are the people I can count on to guide and support me along the way?
* Integrated Life: How can I integrate all aspects of my life and find fulfilment?

With the discovery of a leader's personal True North, he/she is then set up to start the process of defining their purpose and passion and using these to empower other leaders. This transformation marks out truly effective leadership, with results that are visible to all.

There will be those who fail somewhere along the way. Authentic leaders learn from their failures, realign their compass and do better. Bill George categorises those that don't in terms of a failure in some element of their internal compasses, and we just need to look around us at the business and political worlds to see some fine examples. Writing shortly before the world's financial stability started to unravel, the author is almost prophetic.

"What concerns me are the many powerful business leaders who bowed to stock market pressure in return for personal gain. They lost sight of their True North and put their companies at risk by focusing on the trappings and spoils of leadership instead of building their organizations for the long term. Many of those who failed walked away with enormous financial settlements.

"The result was a severing of trust with employees, customers, and shareholders, as public trust in business leaders fell to its lowest level in fifty years. In business trust is everything, because success depends upon customers' trust in products they buy, employees' trust in their leaders, investors' trust in those who invest for them, and the public's trust in capitalism."
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Location: London, UK

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