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Bill George

Harvard Business School Professor, former Medtronic CEO

Articles

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…

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…

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…

Fortune: President Trump Shouldn’t Trust Paul Ryan With U.S. Tax Reform

There is a stark lesson to be learned from last week’s dramatic collapse of the American Health Care Act, as created by House Speaker Paul Ryan and backed by President Trump. To make massive changes in a democratic society, you need a bipartisan approach that benefits the vast majority of Americans, not the kind of…

CNBC: The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism Explained in One Hostile Takeover Bid

Last month’s quickly aborted bid by Kraft Heinz (KHC) to take over Unilever brought into sharp relief the ongoing war between two different philosophies of capitalism. On one side Unilever CEO Paul Polman champions sustainable growth in earnings to raise long-term shareholder value. On the other side KHC and its Brazilian owner 3G advocate maximizing short-term earnings to increase…

CNBC: CEOs Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Stand Up to Trump

President Donald Trump‘s actions are sending shock waves through the business community, but will CEOs have the courage to challenge him? Publicly, most CEOs are declaring how pleased they are with the President’s attention, which has been greater in the past three months from President Trump than it was in eight years under President Obama. Trump…

A Strategy For Steady Leadership in an Unsteady World

With the events of 2016—Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, threats from terrorists and cybercriminals, climate change—business leaders have entered a new era requiring new ways of leading. Traditional management methods seem no longer sufficient to address the volume of change we are seeing. I label this VUCA 2.0. In a 1998 report designed to train officers…

Fortune: Here’s What Trump Doesn’t Get About American Manufacturing

If the Roman emperors ruled by edict, President-elect Donald Trump appears poised to rule by tweet. Even before taking office, Trump has discovered he can move the world’s largest global corporations with simple, 140-character tweets. And though his aggressive approach is winning politically, good politics doesn’t necessarily mean good economics. Voters see Trump fulfilling his…