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Bill George

Harvard Business School Professor, former Medtronic CEO

HBSWK: Op-Ed: What Mark Zuckerberg Can Learn About Crisis Leadership from Starbucks

Starbucks and Facebook present a contrast in crisis leadership, says Bill George. While Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson stepped up to take responsibility and met with victims, Mark Zuckerberg delayed action and side-stepped responsibility. Johnson & Johnson CEO Jim Burke’s leadership during the 1982 Tylenol crisis is what we at Harvard Business School teach as the standard for handling a high-stakes public crisis….

Twin Cities Business: Why Are So Many Prominent Executives Leaving Big Corporations?

LIZ FEDOR Since 2016, seven of Minnesota’s 15 largest public companies announced CEO departures. n 2017, Richard Davis left his CEO job at U.S. Bancorp, and a few months later Ken Powell gave up the CEO reins at General Mills, as did Stephen Hemsley at UnitedHealth Group. On July 1, Inge Thulin will step down…

HBSWK: Op-Ed: Why BlackRock CEO Larry Fink Is Not a Socialist

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s open letter to CEOs has reignited the “shareholders versus stakeholders” debate. Bill George says it’s actually not much of a debate: mission-driven, values-centered companies perform better. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s recent letter to all CEOs in the S&P 500 has reignited the never-ending debate of “shareholders versus stakeholders.” Titled “A Sense of Purpose,” Fink’s letter…

Washington Post: Dick’s Sporting Goods Took a Stand on Gun Sales — and Made a Big Statement

By Jena McGregor When Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Edward W. Stack took a stance after the Parkland, Fla., school massacre, most of the attention was on what his retail chain would stop doing: It would no longer sell assault weapons, no longer sell high-capacity magazines and no longer sell guns to customers under age 21. But Stack’s statement also was notable for what he…

StarTribune: A Salute to the Mayo Clinic’s Retiring Servant-Leader

How Dr. John Noseworthy’s mission-focused approach can aid Minnesota’s world-class medical sector and other fields as well.  By Bill George and Richard Davis Minnesota has earned a national and global reputation for its leadership in health care, research, medical innovation and the biosciences. Minnesotans can take great pride in knowing that millions of people throughout…

Mass Device: Ex-Medtronic Chief George: CEOs Can Do More on Gun Control

Former Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) CEO William George said last week that the CEOs of corporate America can have a larger impact than the U.S. Congress when it comes to gun control. “All of Congress is afraid of the NRA, so I’m worried about getting something done there,” George told CNBC last week. “CEOs can do a lot more…

CNBC: Ex-CEO: Companies should take a stand on gun control — sell if you don’t like it

The best-run companies have leaders willing to take a stand on societal issues such as gun control, Bill George says. “This is what motives your employees,” the former Medtronic chief says. “This is what inspires your customers.” The best-run companies have leaders willing to take a stand on societal issues such as gun control, former Medtronic chairman…

HBSWK: Black Business Leaders Series: Oprah’s Path to Authentic Leadership

Oprah Winfrey believes in sharing the experiences that led her to become the wealthiest woman in the entertainment industry and the first African American woman billionaire. Professor Bill George traces her growth from childhood, focusing on how and when she discovered her true voice and how that authenticity spurred her career success. Brian Kenny: See if…

CNBC: We Need Employers to Step Up and Change Health Care

Bill George, former Medtronic CEO and CNBC contributor, and Ipsita Smolinski, Capitol Street managing director, discuss the health-care partnership between Amazon, J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway. This content was originally posted on CNBC.com on 1/30/18. 

HBSWK: Leadership Lessons from a Young Martin Luther King, Jr.

As the Montgomery Bus Boycott starts in the 1950s, the young Martin Luther King, Jr. faces challenges to his leadership goals, strategic vision, and personal and family safety. Professor Bill George discusses King’s early years and how they shaped his ability to respond with courage at his crucible moment—and how leaders today can find the…

With the World in Turmoil, Discover Serenity in Your True North

There is so much turmoil in the world these days that we wonder if we will ever get back to “normal.” Or have we forgotten what normal feels like? Here is my reality: The only thing we can change is ourselves, and how we respond to other people and events.

CNBC Appearance: Innovation is Key to Solving America’s Health-Care Problems

Innovation can solve many of our most pressing health-care problems by making the delivery system more efficient. Breakthrough drugs can help treat disease, but prevention and better use of information can also go a long way. Radical transformations can help keep Americans healthier outside of political solutions. This content was originally on CNBC.com on 12/7/17.

CNBC: Innovation is Key to Solving America’s Health-Care Problems

Innovation can solve many of our most pressing health-care problems by making the delivery system more efficient.
Breakthrough drugs can help treat disease, but prevention and better use of information can also go a long way.
Radical transformations can help keep Americans healthier outside of political solutions.

CNBC: CVS to Buy Aetna with New Model for Health Care

Former Medtronic CEO Bill George discusses the new dramatically different platform for health care that may help patients and consumers. This content was originally posted on CNBC.com on 12/4/17. 

CNBC: Bill George on P&G Challenge: Bring Nelson on the Board

Former Medtronic CEO Bill George and Nik Mody, RBC Capital Markets analyst, discuss the news that Proctor & Gamble is reportedly challenging the shareholder vote that narrowly elected activist Nelson Peltz to its board. This content was originally posted on CNBC.com on 11/22/17.

NPR: GE Struggles To Show It Still Has Magic Touch

Listen to the Podcast here.  When General Electric’s new CEO John Flannery spoke to investors and analysts last month, he acknowledged things are bad. “I was forced to confront a lot of sort of deeper questions about this company,” he said. “Why do we exist? How do we impact the world for the next 100…

CNBC: The Tragic History of GE’s Disastrous Decline

GE, once heralded as America’s most iconic company, is struggling for its very soul. GE’s deepest problem today is that it doesn’t seem to know what business it is in. The jury is still out on current CEO John Flannery, but so far, he appears to be a pure financial manager who lacks vision, strategy, and passion…

Inside Indiana Business: THE Characteristic Which Defines Leadership

Davy Crockett had it. George Washington had it. Most certainly, Dwight Eisenhower had it. The cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz really wanted it. What is it? Courage. According to Bill George, a Senior Fellow of the Harvard Business School and author of Discover Your True North , it is the one characteristic that…

BBJ Today: Tips on Leading Effectively, Authentically

By Lisa Hefter For The Bellingham Business Journal I’ve been hearing and reading more and more about the concept of “authentic leadership” lately. I view this as a good sign, because it suggests that leaders are being held to more constructive and effective standards of leadership, and that the criteria for how leaders are evaluated…

CNBC: Obamacare’s ‘Original Sin’ is Still the Biggest Problem with US Health Care

Trump’s decision to terminate cost-sharing payments under Obamacare will destabilize health insurance markets. But to fix our system, we have to address the root cause of America’s health care problems: Unhealthy lifestyles that account for 50-70 percent of health care costs. Until we address the lifestyle issues creating the need for expensive treatments, costs will continue their rise inexorably.

CNBC: Bill George: Trump is Right, Drug Prices are Out of Control

Bill George, CNBC contributor and former Medtronic CEO, discusses President Trump’s rhetoric on prescription drug pricing in the country. Bill George: Trump is right, drug prices are out of control from CNBC. This content was originally posted on CNBC.com on 10/17/17.

HBSWK: Dangers of Stereotyping People

Was Google CEO Sundar Pichai right to fire engineer James Damore after his condemnation of the company’s diversitry initiatives? Of course, answersBill George; treating colleagues as gender stereotypes rather than as individuals poisons the workplace. Google software engineer James Damore’s ten-page manifesto excoriating his employer for its diversity initiatives incited a major controversy in August about affirmative…

Daily Mail: Top CEOs Reveal the four Qualities You Should Highlight on Your CV to Prove You’re a Future Leader (and Your Love of Twitter is One of Them)

CEOs have revealed skills leaders need to succeed in modern workplace People should focus on how they can contribute to company’s sense of ‘purpose’ Using social media is key way to engage with peers and gather information  Showing that you’re constantly learning is a way to prove leadership qualities Every jobseeker wants to make their…

Questions to Help You Discover Your True North: Part VI

If you follow my blog, Twitter feed, or Facebook page, you’ll notice a constant theme: Discover Your True North. Both leaders and corporations have to develop a True North that follows their unique principles. If you try to ‘fake it until you make it,’ you won’t just be unsuccessful; you’ll also be miserable. How can you discover…

StarTribune: Mayo Is Putting Patients First in Southern Minnesota

By Bradbury H. Anderson , Richard K. Davis , Michael Dougherty , Bill George and Marilyn Carlson Nelson Instead of hospitals in neighboring communities like those in Albert Lea and Austin competing, they must collaborate and share certain services. We’re still investing in Albert Lea, and we’ve identified a way to keep 95 percent of…

CNBC: The Business Economy Drives our Economy

Steve Odland, former Office Depot CEO and Bill George, former Medtronic CEO, weigh in on President Trump’s relationship with business leaders. This content was originally posted on CNBC.com on 8/22/17.

Vanity Fair: CEOs Agree to Disagree on Giving Racists a Free Pass

By Bess Levin Last week, in the wake of Donald Trump’s decision not to disavow white nationalists (and assorted Hitlerian fellow travelers), dozens of C.E.O.s who had signed on to the president’s two business councils resigned in protest, with many of them condemning the response from the White House. Not everyone thought that was the…

A Courageous Leader Triggers a Moral Revolt Among CEOs

Nothing like this has happened in the past fifty years. Forty-three CEOs of major American corporations revolted against the president this week by shutting down two presidential advisory councils. In so doing, they may have created an unprecedented gulf between the White House and the business community. It all came down to moral leadership. When…

Politicsay: Trump’s Business Councils Disband; What it Means

By William Hadden Two of President Trump’s business advisory councils disbanded Wednesday, signaling what could be a shift by the corporate world away from the president. The Strategic and Policy Forum and the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative dissolved after several several members stepped down in response to Trump’s comments regarding violent protests in Charlottesville, Va. last Saturday. The…

HBSWK: Op-Ed: Courageous Leader Triggers a Moral Revolt of CEOs Against Trump

CEOs are responsible to uphold their company’s mission and values, saysBill George. When these values are violated, even by the president of the United States, they are obliged to take a clear stand. Nothing like this has happened in 50 years. Forty-three CEOs of major American corporations revolted against President Trump this week, which led to the shutdown of…

WSJ: Apple’s Cook Joins Business Leaders Criticizing Trump’s Remarks

In email to employees, CEO says company will contribute $1 million each to Southern Poverty Law Center, Anti-Defamation League. By Tripp Mickle and Kelsey Gee Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook joined the chorus of high-profile business leaders who have felt compelled to share their views on Donald Trump’s response to Saturday’s white-supremacist protests amid widespread unease on the part…

CNBC: CEOs Do Not Fear This President: Bill George

Bill George, former Medtronic CEO, discusses CEOs exiting the President’s council after his remarks on Charlottesville. This content was originally on CNBC’s Closing Bell on 8/16/17. 

When Should CEOs Take Public Stands?

When Should CEOs Take Public Stands? It depends upon when their mission and values are at stake. Merck CEO Ken Frazier resigned from President’s Trump’s Manufacturing Council on Monday, saying “As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.” As of Tuesday, five more CEOs joined Frazier in resigning from the council – Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Alliance for American Manufacturing’s Scott Paul, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, and former AFL-CIO Deputy Chief of Staff Thea Lea.

NBR: Nightly Business Report – The Google Memo and Freedom of Speech

On Nightly Business Report, tensions with North Korea ratchet up and the Dow snaps its win streak. Plus, freedom of speech or crossing the line? Why Google finds itself at the center of that debate. Watch Bill’s segment beginning at 8:33. This content was originally posted on NBR.com on 8/8/17. 

CNBC: Here’s the Dilemma for GE’s New CEO

In his last earnings call as CEO, Jeff Immelt announced yet another disappointing quarter for General Electric. The pressure now mounts on Immelt’s successor, John Flannery, to put the company back on track. GE’s market capitalization tumbled $170 billion during Immelt’s tenure. This year alone, GE stock is down some 18 percent, while the S&P index…