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Bill George

Harvard Business School Professor, former Medtronic CEO

Fortune: ‘Even when it’s painful, tell the truth’: It’s high time for business to meet higher ethical standards

When I reach professor Jill Atkins by Zoom in late March, she is still working from home in the mountains of Wales, some 160 miles from Sheffield University School of Management, where she holds a department chair. Behind her, on a narrow bookcase, are all five editions of the seminal textbook she coauthored, Corporate Governance and Accountability—the first…

With Georgia Voting Law, the Business of Business Becomes Politics

Coca-Cola and Delta received blowback from both left and right for their response to Georgia’s new voting law. Engaging on social issues is now part of the CEO job description, but it’s a treacherous path. Big consumer brands like Coca-Cola Co. KO 0.18% and Delta Air Lines Inc. DAL -2.01% for years have positioned themselves as forces for promoting what they see as social good—an…

Conversations with Cabrera

Click this link to watch Bill’s conversation with Ángel Cabrera, President of the Georgia Tech Institute of Technology.

Chad Foster & Bill George: Authentically Leading with Blind Ambition

The stories we tell ourselves either limit us or propel us towards our goals. Are you ready to turn your biggest obstacle into your biggest advantage? When most people were preparing for the adventure of adult life, Chad E. Foster was watching the world he grew up with fade to black. But going blind in…

Fortune: A 7-Step Plan for Business Leaders to Win in the Post-COVID Economy

Finally there is some light at the end of the long, dark COVID-19 tunnel: Vaccine makers Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson committed to Congress that they will supply 240 million doses by the end of March, enough for 130 million Americans. For the past year, most businesses have been playing defense. While the pandemic has endured a long…

A 6-point Agenda for a New America Under President Biden

The year 2020 will go down in history as the most difficult in America’s 244-year history as a democracy. COVID-19 has killed 400,000 Americans, ending the year less under control than ever. The American economy shed 9.4 million jobs. The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis triggered protests and riots across the country. And the new year…

COVID-19 Vaccines Are Here, But Who Gets Priority?

With COVID-19 raging at all-time levels throughout U.S., highly efficacious vaccines are coming, but in limited supply. That raises the question, who will get priority? Lobbying by big unions and large companies to get their employees vaccinated first is intense. This lobbying risks leaving non-union employees, small businesses and individual practitioners out in the cold….

Gratitude

As Thanksgiving 2020 arrives, it is time to take stock and express our gratitude for all those who have made our lives both possible and fruitful this past year. Without question, 2020 has been the most challenging year of our lives. The global pandemic hit full force throughout the world as more than 55 million…

I Voted for Joe Biden – Here’s Why

A Vote for Unity and Stability over Continuing Divisiveness and Chaos On September 23 Penny and I voted in person at an early voting place in Minneapolis. I cast my vote for President for Joe Biden. Here is why I made that choice: In the world’s most powerful leadership position, America needs a leader who…

6 Pitfalls in the Vaccine Race

The race for a COVID-19 vaccine is getting more and more confusing. On Wednesday, September 16, CDC Director Robert Redfield testified in front of Congress that it would be late 2nd quarter or early 3rd quarter 2021 before a vaccine would be generally available. Hours later President Trump contradicted his CDC director, calling him “confused”…

The Leader As Coach

Hansi Flick’s Remarkable Turnaround at Bayern Munich Ever since Hansi Flick took over from Niko Kovac at Bayern Munich, the results have been nothing short of spectacular. After losing two games in a row shortly after becoming head coach, Flick has led Bayern to a 38-game unbeaten streak heading into Sunday’s Champion’s League finals against…

Reflections on July 4: America’s Most Patriotic Holiday

In the midst of the largest COVID-19 spread yet, my family and I are spending a quiet 4th of July holiday in Colorado. Instead of taking our four grandkids along with their parents to the July 3rd cookout and dinner, followed by the 4th of July parade where we wave the American flag and my…

Fortune: A 7-Point Plan to Slow COVID-19 and Restart the Economy

The rapid surge in COVID-19 cases, concentrated in states that reopened too fast without following CDC guidelines, has dented America’s plans to restart its economy. On Wednesday a record 50,203 new coronavirus cases were reported, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. With cases rising rapidly, governors of at least 16 states and many businesses are pulling back from reopening. As…

Visiting the Scenes of Minneapolis Protests

On Monday evening my men’s prayer group and I visited the heart of the Lake Street protests, led by member John Cuningham who lives in the neighborhood, one block from the protests. This is an extremely diverse neighborhood, very peaceful with no crime. At the start of our tour we walked past the boarded-up buildings…

America at a Tipping Point; We Must Rediscover Our True North

America is at a tipping point. We are heading into an era of dramatic change. Earlier tipping points were triggered by cataclysmic events: the end of World War II (1945), the assassination of President Kennedy (1963), Osama bin Laden’s assault on New York (2001), and the collapse of the global financial system (2008). The lesson…

Fortune: America Is At A Tipping Point. Here’s How We Can Recover

America is at a tipping point, as we face the greatest crises since the Great Depression. We are confronting four crises simultaneously that are inextricably intertwined: racial tensions revealed in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing, the ongoing spread of COVID-19, the ensuing economic turmoil, and political disintegration caused by extreme partisan division. Floyd’s killing ripped off…

A Letter from Minneapolis: Pain, Outrage and a Call for Moral Leadership

As I sit in my home, just a few blocks from stores that are closed indefinitely, I feel sadness, pain and outrage at what has happened to our city in the last few days. Penny and I came here fifty years ago. After changing companies twice, living overseas in two countries, and teaching at Harvard…

All I Know About Leadership From Coaching Soccer

Back in 1986 during my days of coaching youth soccer (1983-1995), I wrote these lessons to capture my thoughts on leadership. Later I used them in writing Authentic Leadership and True North. See if they apply to your leadership: All I Know About Leadership, I Learned from Soccer If you want a winning team, start…

Stakeholder Capitalism Is Here To Stay

If there is any positive consequence resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the acceleration of the shift to stakeholder capitalism away from its singular emphasis on shareholders. Ever since Noble Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman declared in 1970 that the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits, a debate has raged between advocates of…

Fortune: The Coronavirus Crisis Has Accelerated The Shift To Stakeholder Capitalism

If there is any positive consequence resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the acceleration of the shift to stakeholder capitalism away from companies’ singular emphasis on shareholders. Ever since Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman declared in 1970 that the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits, a debate has raged between advocates of shareholder primacy…

Becoming a Sage Podcast with Dr. Jann Freed

I recently had the opportunity to join Dr. Jann Freed’s podcast, Becoming a Sage. We discussed how we can all step up and lead during this global crisis, and the importance of leaving your legacy. You can listen to the full podcast here: http://leadingwithwisdom.net/2020/05/08/becoming-a-sage-bill-george/

Now FREE – LinkedIn Learning: Leading In Crisis

My new LinkedIn course on “Leading in Crisis” via LinkedIn Learning is now FREE! I hope you will use this crisis to sharpen your leadership skills and step up to lead – don’t wait to be asked. Crisis is the real test for every leader. How you lead needs to change now from Leading in…

MPR News: Former Medtronic CEO: ‘The Office Is Going To Change Dramatically’

The economic pain from COVID-19 spans businesses big and small, across industries — and it isn’t clear when it will let up. That makes for tough planning on the part of business owners and executives. MPR News host Cathy Wurzer talked with Bill George about how the corporate sector is weathering the pandemic — and…

From Coronavirus’s Front Lines: An Authentic American Hero

In wartime, Americans have celebrated our military warriors and veterans who have risked their lives to preserve our freedom. As the ravages of Coronavirus spread, today’s heroes are the front-line health care workers – the doctors, nurses, orderlies, technicians – who risk their lives every day to save ours. Yesterday I spoke with Dr. Saquib…

COVID-19 Pandemic Will Change Our Work and Lives Forever

Each day we are learning ways to adapt to the new “Working from Home” reality as we self-isolate in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As people speculate on how long this shutdown will last and when will we return to our normal lives at work, the reality is that this may never happen. Once the…

An Easter Message of Hope in the midst of Pandemic

The joys of Easter with the empty tomb remind us that no matter how dark the days were – and they were truly dark on Good Friday – that there is always hope for a new beginning. These are indeed sad and very difficult times for so many people who are suffering from COVID-19, locked…

The Deeper Meaning of Coronavirus

As the Jewish people celebrate Passover this week, and Christians reexperience the death of Jesus on the cross on Good Friday, people throughout the world are suffering from Coronavirus.  This is a good time to reflect on what we can learn from these experiences, and how we can learn new ways of living and working….