Solving the leadership crisis |

Solving the leadership crisis

"True North" by Bill George.

Bill George knows about failure.He lost seven elections in a row it was high school and college, but still. How did he become chief executive officer of the worlds leading medical technology company?Youll have the chance to find out Thursday as the Vail Symposium hosts the former CEO of Medtronic as part of its Hot Topic lecture series. George will be speaking about his call for a new kind of leader one who can empower and inspire others to lead.I think weve got a misguided notion of thinking about the all-powerful leader on top, he said. Frankly, the most valuable people at Medtronic were not the executives like myself but the people in the labs coming up with innovations to save lives in hospital operating rooms.

It applies to people in all organizations, not just the ones who are saving lives, said George, who serves on the board of directors of ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs and Novartis. The key is having a passion for the product and the companys mission.Employees arent motivated by getting stock prices up, he said. Theyre motivated by helping customers.Once on track to becoming CEO of Honeywell, George found that he was miserable being so focused on making more money and not on the product. The company was changing me instead of me changing the company, he said.The idea of Georges book True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership involves helping people find and stick to their moral compass, which, in turn, will help them make beneficial choices for themselves and their company, he said. I think we went backwards in the 90s, George said. We gave too much power to the person on top and paid CEOs way to much money. It seduces people into making bad decisions.

George is a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School and said people would be surprised to hear him tell his students that leadership does not come from your traits or skills but from your life story thats where you find your true passion.Youre never too old or too young to step up and lead, George said. After interviewing 125 of societys top leaders for True North, the common link he found among them is that very few of them feel that a person is born a leader.We all have gifts, he said. Its a matter of how we use them.To learn more about Bill George, visit For tickets to the Vail Symposium event, call (970) 476-0954 or visit Cost of admission is $20 for Vail Symposium contributors and $25 for all others.

What: A Talk about Alzheimer’s, with Dr. Howard Fillit and Leonard LauderWhen: 12:30-2:30 p.m. July 10Where: Sonnenalp Resort of VailCost: $25 VS Contributors/$30 All othersWhat: Radical Islam’s Rise, with Sadanand DhumeWhen: 5:30-7:15 p.m. July 16Where: Beaver Creek ClubCost: $20 VS Contributors/$25 All othersWhat: Media’s Wild West, with Deanna Lee & Judy MullerWhen: 5:30-7:15 p.m. August 20Where: Red Sky Ranch, WolcottCost: $20 VS Contributors/$25 All othersFor more information, visit or call (970) 476-0954.

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