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Bill George

Harvard Business School Professor, former Medtronic CEO

HBSWK: Op-Ed: As America Recedes from Global Leadership, Its CEOs are Stepping Up

As America recedes from global leadership under President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies, a new generation of business statesmen is stepping up to take on global issues of monumental importance: global trade, climate change, job creation, and healthy living. At the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, earlier this month, President Trump was “odd man out”…

The Next CEO Of Uber; Here’s Who Should Be On The Short List

Faced with the crucible of his mother’s accidental death and the crisis at his company, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick wisely decided to accept his investors’ advice to turn the fledgling company’s leadership over to a new CEO. Just last week Kalanick announced he was taking an indefinite leave of absence to mourn his mother’s death…

CNBC: Never Underestimate the Power of Jeff Bezos

Bill George, former Medtronic CEO, and Steve Odland, former Office Depot CEO, talk about Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. This content was originally posted on on 6/16/17.  

CNBC: Economy Can’t Grow Without People Filling the Jobs: Pro

NBC contributor Bill George and Howard Schweitzer, former Treasury Department official under G.W. Bush, discuss whether CEOs can remain confident in President Trump after bump in… This content was originally posted on on 6/6/17. 

CNBC: Trump Exits Paris Accord, Is He Losing CEO Support?

Bill George, Harvard Business School senior fellow, weighs in on the CEO backlash against President Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Accord. This content was originally posted on on 6/2/17.

CNBC: Trump’s Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord

Harvard Business School’s Bill George and Ben Baldanza, former Spirit Airlines CEO, debate the President’s statement on withdrawing from the Paris accord. This content was originally posted on on 6/1/17  

A Pilgrimage through Life

This May my wife Penny and I and friends trekked 100 miles in nine days across Portugal and Spain on the famous Camino de Santiago de Compostela, also known as “The Way.” Along with thousands of others, we were pilgrims on a journey through life. Some were there for religious purposes, some for a spiritual…

Fortune: What Prince Harry’s Grief Over Princess Diana Can Teach Every Leader

Prince Harry recently shared the poignant story of his near-breakdown over his mother Diana’s death. For 20 years he attempted to bury his grief, using honorable military service and wild partying to avoid thinking about his loss. But that only led him astray. While the public tried to escape the searing memories, Prince Harry enlisted…

CNBC: Here’s The Real Loser in the GOP Health-care Reform Plan

Thursday’s 217-213 vote in the House to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the Republicans’ new health-care plan constitutes one of the largest wealth transfers in history from the poor and middle class to wealthy Americans. This will further exacerbate economic disparities in our country. Even worse, the health of our nation will likely decline…

CNBC: Bill George: The President is Distracted, Lacks Focus

Bill George, former Medtronic CEO and CNBC contributor, discusses the Trump administration’s agenda as everyone awaits the announcement of the tax plan. This content was originally posted on on 4/25/17. 

HBS: Courage: The Defining Characteristic of Great Leaders

Courage is the quality that distinguishes great leaders from excellent managers. Over the past decade, I have worked with and studied more than 200 CEOs of major companies through board service, consulting, and research as a member of Harvard Business School’s faculty. I’ve found the defining characteristic of the best ones is courage to make bold…

Should the Wells Fargo Board Be Reelected to Continue Turnaround?

Next Tuesday, April 25 is a fateful day for the board of directors of Wells Fargo. That’s the date set for the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Due to recommendations to vote against most of Wells’ board members by two shareholder advisory services – ISS and Glass Lewis – shareholders will…

CNBC: Oscar Munoz Keeps Digging the Hole Deeper

Bill George, former Medtronic CEO, discusses the backlash against United and CEO Oscar Munoz following the incident with the removal of a passenger that went viral. This content was originally posted on on 4/11/17.

Battle for the Soul of Capitalism: Part II

As it promised in February when it rejected Kraft-Heinz’s hostile takeover bid, Unilever today announced a vigorous program of enhancing its long-term shareholder value with a series of aggressive restructuring moves. In CEO Paul Polman’s announcement, he committed to: Improve operating margins from 16.4% in 2016 to 20% by 2020. Increase targeted savings in marketing…

CNBC: The Trump CEO Playbook

Heidi Messer, Collective[i] CEO, and Bill George, former Medtronic CEO, discuss the town hall meeting at the White House for CEOs and the administration’s relationships with business.

CNBC: Japanese PM Abe Key Partner for US

Bill George, former Medtronic CEO, discusses the importance of relations with Japan. Amb. Alan Wolff, former deputy U.S. Trade Representative, weighs in.

Fortune: Trump’s ‘America First’ Policy Will Give China a Big Edge Over America

The world turned upside-down last week when, within just seven days, the United States and China each reversed a posture they held for the past 70 years. In his inaugural address, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his newest slogan, “America First,” which effectively withdraws the nation from its global leadership role. Meanwhile, China is stepping up as the new leader of world economic order as President Xi Jinping accelerates China’s efforts to do business with the world, albeit one where it writes the rules to its own benefit. The consequences of these sudden changes will be profound and far-reaching with uncertain outcomes.

CNBC: Bill George: Good Politics, Bad Economics

Discussing the Trump policy ideas around trade and taxation, with Bill George, CNBC contributor and former Medtronic chairman & CEO, and Gary Hufbauer, former U.S. Treasury deputy assistant secretary for international trade.

NY Times: Call to Create Jobs, or Else, Tests Trump’s Sway

President Trump summoned the titans of American business to the White House on Monday for what was billed as a “listening session,” but it was the new president who delivered the loudest message: Bring back domestic manufacturing jobs, or face punishing tariffs and other penalties.

Boston Globe: Business Leaders Are Anxious To Avoid An Angry Call From The President-Elect

Bill George knows all about pressure from big government. When he was chief executive of medical device giant Medtronic Inc. in the 1990s, he decided to close a plant in France and move jobs to more cost-efficient sites in eastern Europe. He was promptly told by French political leaders that he would have to continue paying wages to idled workers in France for a year. It hurt, but that�s the price he had to pay.

NYT: Wary Corporate Chiefs Keep an Ear Tuned to Trump’s Messages

For all of Mr. Trump�s theatrics, the fear in the executive suites of ending up in the cross-hairs of the president-elect is real, according to Bill George, a former chief executive of Medtronic, a large medical equipment maker based in Minneapolis with over $30 billion in global revenues.

CNBC: Trump’s Changing Relationship with Business

Fred Hassan, Warburg Pincus partner & managing director, and Bill George, Harvard Business School professor, weigh in on if President-elect Donald Trump will redefine the government’s relationship with business and the Time Warner-AT&T deal.

CNBC: What Do Big Businesses Want Trump To Focus On?

Steve Odland, Committee of Economic Development CEO, and Bill George, former Medtronic CEO, weigh in on what a Trump presidency means for big businesses. With Suzy Welch, LinkedIn contributing editor.

CNBC: Attracting Talent; Brexit & Banks

Bill George, Harvard Business School, discusses what it really takes to get and keep top talent in your organization. And what impact could Brexit have on banks.

MARKETPLACE: Former CEO Weighs in on Shareholder Value

In our series “The Price of Profits,” we’re exploring corporations. What are they for? Whom are they for? And how that impacts the economy and you. Bill George is the senior fellow at the Harvard Business School and the former CEO of Medtronic. During his time as CEO, George took a long-term approach to growing Medtronic into a booming business. He spoke with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal about shareholder value and the problems with short-term thinking.

FORTUNE: One of the Best Ways To Become a Top Performing Company

Diverse, welcoming companies perform better than their more homogeneous competitors. Want to become a top performing company? Create a diverse leadership team that reflects the diversity of the customers you serve, and ensure that everyone on your team feels fully included as a vital member. Target, the nation’s No. 3 retailer, has long been a…

CNBC: Big Automakers vs. Disruptors

Discussing management issues in the auto sector with Suzy Welch, “Winning” co-author; Paul Argenti, Dartmouth professor; Jeff Sonnenfeld, Yale School of Management; and Bill George, Harvard Business School.

University of St. Thomas: The Forum on Workplace Inclusion – Day 3 Keynote

The Forum was thrilled to have Bill George as our closing speaker on Day 3. Former Chairman and CEO of Medtronic, Senior Fellow at the Harvard Business School, and author of Discover Your True North, Bill discusses finding your own True North � the internal compass that sets one on a path toward their fullest potential as a leader.

StarTribune: Dr. Glen Nelson was Minnesota’s medical pioneer

With Dr. Glen Nelson’s death this month, Minnesota lost a giant who led the building of our health care system for the past 40 years, making health care more effective, accessible, and efficient for everyone.  After graduating from the University of Minnesota Medical School, he began his career as a surgeon at Park Nicollet Medical… Authentic Leadership

From the time of the Greek philosophers, to the time of Shakespeare, and until Bill George wrote his book in 2003, people have been amazed at how authenticity became a revered trait of great leaders. In Shakespeare�s Hamlet, Polonius said, �To thy own self be true.�

CNBC: Bill George Discusses Tim Cook’s Credibility

CNBC Contributor Bill George, Senior Fellow at Harvard Business School and Fmr. Medtronic Chairman, and Vivek Wadhwa, Fellow at the Rock Center for Corporate… View the original video on CNBC.

Fortune: What’s Your Life Goal? Success or Significance?

Earning money and having power over others are easy ways to gauge success. But they’re also limited. Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living? —Bob Marley In my forties, I was unhappy with my career and where it was heading. Driving home on a beautiful fall afternoon, I looked…

CNBC: Bill George’s tax code solutions

Discussing the problems with corporate tax inversions, with Bill George, former Medtronic CEO, and Jared Bernstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

CNBC: Theranos Under Fire

After the WSJ reported regulators are considering banning Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes from owning or running any labs for at least two years, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Yale School Management; Bill George, Harvard Business School; and Les Funtleyder, ESquared portfolio manager, discuss Theranos.

CNBC: The War On Business

Discussing making America more competitive, as well as the presidential candidates, with Former Medtronic CEO Bill George and Wilbur Ross, WL Ross & Co. Chairman and CEO.

Fortune: The Leadership Quality that Truly Separates Disney’s Bob Iger From his Peers

Iger places faith in his creative directors and allows them to propose original ideas. In 2015, Bob Iger, CEO of Disney DIS -1.58% , told his top 400 executives, “The riskiest thing Disney can do is maintain the status quo.” Iger knows that simply leveraging the traditional Disney brands like Mickey Mouse and adding theme…

Minnesota Public Radio: Kerri Miller Friday Roundtable

MPR News host Kerri Miller talks with Bill George, Senior Fellow at the Harvard Business School, and Washington University law professor Adam Rosenzweig about corporate tax inversions and why the issue seems to have taken a timid foothold in this year’s presidential election.

CNBC: Valeant needs a dramatic change

Bill George, Harvard Business School professor, former Medtronic CEO and CNBC Contributor, weighs in on the Valeant Pharmaceuticals leadership change and gives his pick for who should replace Michael Pearson as CEO.

Fortune: The Massive Difference between Negative and Positive Leadership

Weak leaders focus on all the things that are going wrong. Great ones bring out the best in us. Much that is written about leaders these days seems to be negative: they are incompetent, arrogant, unethical, greedy, the list goes on and on. No doubt, there is a great deal of anger and cynicism from…

BBC: Can the “my way or the highway” attitude be coached out of the boss? Maybe so.

They�re know-it-alls and braggarts. They rule with an iron fist. It�s their way, their idea, their direction � or nothing at all.

No doubt we�ve all encountered a dictator boss, or one with so little humility, we�re really not sure they had any to begin with. Is there any way to tame these characters at the office? It�s a topic several LinkedIn Influencers weighed in on this week. Here�s what two of them had to say.

CNBC: Twitter is in ‘very deep trouble’: Pro

William George, Sr. Fellow at Harvard Business School and Former Medtronic CEO, weighs in on the latest action coming from Twitter and their business strategies.

This article was originally posted to��on 01/25/16 0703 | Becoming an Authentic Leader with Bill George

Bill George is professor of management practice at Harvard Business School, where he has taught leadership since 2004. Mr. George is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Medtronic. He is the author of the new book, Discover Your True North, an updated version of his bestseller True North. In this interview, we discuss how to become an authentic leader.

America is in the Middle of a Philanthropic Revolution

America�s philanthropists aren�t waiting any longer for politicians or businesses to solve the world�s most pressing problems. They are committing massive amounts of their own money to solve the most difficult challenges in health, education, job creation, and the environment.

Leadership Lessons from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bill George, a senior fellow at Harvard Business School and an expert on leadership, took time ahead of the holiday to reflect on Dr. King�s lasting legacy and to discuss his case �Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Young Minister Confronts the Challenges of Montgomery.�

Recognizing the Dangers of Groupthink

In the classic Hans Christian Andersen story, everyone tells the Emperor what he wants to hear � that his new clothes are beautiful. No one wants to anger the Emperor, so they won�t tell him he�s wearing nothing. It isn�t until a child names the truth that the Emperor learns he�s been fooled by the weavers who were supposed to make him a special set of clothes.

Attune: The Role of Focus in Authentic Leadership

Reading glasses work well when you�re reading a book, but don�t try to drive across town wearing them. To do that, you need glasses that can change focus. The same is true with leadership. You need a different kind of focus to manage yourself, others, and the greater systems around you.

Coaching For Leaders: Episode 225

On today�s show, we learn how to discover your True North with Bill George, one of America�s most seasoned business leaders.

Bill is a senior fellow at Harvard Business School and the former Chairman and CEO of Medtronic, the world�s leading medical technology company. Understanding personal stories that matter – not just the facts of your life – can help you succeed

If you work in corporate America, you probably have a polished and well-rehearsed story you tell about yourself.

Maybe it�s not Oprah Winfrey�s rags-to-riches tale; indeed, it may not seem to you like much of a story at all. But if you�ve written your LinkedIn profile or rehearsed an elevator pitch, you have at least begun to shape your experiences and attributes into story form.

Observer Culture: Warren Bennis Led by Example

Warren Bennis was one of the great pioneers in the field of leadership. Small in physical stature, he was a giant in his intellect, his heart, and his spirit. Just as Peter Drucker was the father of management, Warren was the �father of leadership.�

Huffington Post: Vulnerability is Power

Imagine a moment when you felt fully comfortable with others. You weren’t guarding what you said. You weren’t monitoring how others perceived you. And you shared life stories you rarely do. What Does Authenticity Really Mean?

Authenticity is a hot word in leadership discussions. The modern workplace is more informal and less hierarchical than in the past. Command-and-control management doesn�t fly withpeople hired for their creative brainpower. They want leaders who inspire them, and give them reasons for working beyond a paycheck.

Meditate This: Podcast – The “CEO”�of Mindful Leadership

Sure, he was the CEO of Medtronic and a senior executive at Honeywell and Litton Industries. And sure he sits on the Board of Directors for Exxon Mobil, the Mayo Clinic, and Goldman Sachs. And yes, he’s a professor of Management Practice and a Henry B. Arthur Fellow of Ethics at Harvard Business School. But Bill George is no central casting idea of a “businessman.”

TotalPicture Radio: The Importance of Emotional Intelligence, Diverse Leadership Teams, and Empowering People

Don’t expect the same Q&A with Bill George on other podcast interviews. We don’t go by the talking points provided by the publisher. True North, originally based on first-person interviews with 125 leaders, became a must-read business classic when it was first introduced in 2007. Today, authenticity has become a key issue in the C-Suite, boardroom, in HR and recruiting initiatives, corporate communications, marketing campaigns, and of course, politics.

3 Lessons From One Of America’s Great Culture Builders

After building an extraordinary culture at Medtronic, George published his findings on the habits of Great business leadership in the 2007 book �True North,� which detailed how value-centered companies always outperform profit-centered organizations. Without question, it is one of the greatest reads on this subject.

‘The Takers’ Part II – The Executive Compensation Uproar

Two weeks ago President Bush had the audacity to say that executive compensation should be based on “pay for performance” and long-term incentives. As reported by the media present at this event, the business executives in his largely Republican audience sat in stunned silence. No one spoke in support of his proposal. As often as…