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True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership (J-B Warren Bennis Series) [Hardcover] Paperback – 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • ASIN: B004J6234M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,160,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover
It is preferable but not imperative to have read previously published Authentic Leadership before reading this book which Bill George also wrote, with Peter Sims. In the former, George observes that authentic leaders are first and foremost authentic human beings. For me, this is his key point and because it seems so obvious, it may also seem simplistic. On the contrary, he has cut through all the rhetoric and urges his reader to examine her or his own core values. For most of us, that is an immensely difficult, perhaps painful experience. In this context, I am reminded of the fact that in The Inferno, Dante reserves the last and worst ring in hell for those who, in a moral crisis, preserve their neutrality. Throughout all manner of organizations, there are women and men who are authentic leaders and should be commended. The reality is, their respective organizations need more of them. Indeed, all of us in our global community need more of them. In Authentic Leadership, a truly unique and compelling book, George challenges us to join their number.

What we have in True North is a further development of George's concept of authentic leadership but also a rigorous, revealing, and rewarding analysis of what George and Sims learned during their interviews of more than 100 leaders. Most of their names were previously unfamiliar to me, although all are eminently worthy of the attention they receive. (That's a key point: Many - too many - studies of "leadership" limit their attention to C-level executives - usually "celebrity CEOs" -- when, in fact, authentic leadership is needed at all levels and in all areas of an organization, whatever its size and nature may be.
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Format: 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.
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Format: Hardcover
Considering the intangible nature of leadership, those who read about it want to know that those who write about it are properly experienced and credentialed. Bill George certainly qualifies. He is a management professor at the Harvard Business School, a member of several corporate boards, and the former chairman and CEO of Medtronic, the medical technology stalwart. George, and writer Peter Sims, the founder of an investment company, interviewed 125 leaders to discover what authentic, ethical leadership is all about, what its essence is and what it requires. This book represents the fruits of their enlightened, comprehensive research efforts. We recommend it to anyone who leads others. George and Sims see leadership as a quest, not a destination. This book is an excellent starting point for your journey.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In a very readable format and with some impressive, high achieving contributors (by way of interviews), this is a great aid to all current and aspiring leaders
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Format: Hardcover
I am not sure if the authors are clear on their objectives for this book. It certainly contains a wealth of information about leadership characteristics and behaviours but little practical advice.

It is also inspirational in places; however, I am left with what feels like a collection of random cameos of leadership wisdom, which in themselves are useful, but together lack cohesion. If the book is trying to say `look, the world of leadership is very complex, random and idiosyncratic' then it achieves this very well but if they are trying to provide direction in such a world then the book clearly fails.

There is no framework for potential leaders to follow, the authors only state that if you know your true north and your values you can be authentic, which is about as useful as a chocolate teapot at a tropical tea party.

If you are a successful leader already I dare say you would agree with most of this book but if you are an aspiring leader then providing the compass without a map is very cruel.
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