True North Groups Stories

Here is an update on the leadership development groups (i.e., True North Groups) of students pursuing joint degree at Harvard Kennedy and Business Schools. There are two groups of 5 people each that still continue to meet despite all of us being scattered around the world. My group, which has members in India, DC, New York and San Francisco, has a skype call every 6-8 weeks. We take turns moderating and selecting the topics for discussion, which we base on pressing issues for any of the members at that time as well as chapters from True North. I know our continued meetings have been pivotal for our group members, who despite being only a few months out from HBS and HKS, have faced some major life decisions on the professional and personal dimensions. We all make it a priority, and really respect the time we set aside. We are looking forward to having these calls (and hopefully some in-person reunions) continue for the foreseeable future.

Bill George

For the past 17 years, I've been part of a monthly group of eight people; however, since meeting Bill and Doug, and seeing their group in action, I've changed to a weekly format, as of three years ago. I must say that there is a RADICAL difference between meeting monthly and meeting weekly, and all of my group members would agree. It’s had such a profound effect on my marriage and my business results that I’ve actually joined ANOTHER weekly group, as of one year ago. Therefore 3 hours of my life - each week - are devoted to these two groups, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Thank you Bill and Doug for your commitment to this powerful concept! Best, Rick

Rick Sapio

I feel sometimes that that (the True North) Group was the thing I took away from business school that is still of use to my life. I started thinking about how I came to the decision to become a fiction writer. And the self- awareness and the sleepless nights that led to that decision were almost entirely inspired by that ALD (True North) group. I remember hearing the people in that group come almost to the brink of saying, "Dina, what are you doing in business school? You can't just do everything you're good at." Up until that point, I had never actually considered the possibility that I might not OWE it to the world to do everything I'm good at. I started writing (badly… oh so badly), that very semester. I also remember how strange it felt to have people I hadn't chosen probing into some of my most intimate thoughts about myself. I realized some holes in my personal development that I began to work on right away. Now, five years later, I've had five novels sold for publication, two of them to one of the most literary and respected publishers out there (Riverhead Penguin), and I'm studying at the Iowa Writers Workshop.

Diana Viergutz

In a country where government graft and corruption is systemic and compromise is a part of the daily lifestyle, staying true to one's personal (Biblical) values is extremely challenging. Being a part of a businessmen group (in church) has absolutely helped me in keeping my eyes on the true north. When accountability is there and prayer support is available, then being faithful to one's calling and purpose is not only possible but effective. As a leader the influence upon those who look up to me inspires them to do the same. The ripple effect is just truly amazing.

Francis Kong