Entelechy Speaks to Bill George about Authentic Leadership

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Entelechy Speaks to Bill George about Authentic Leadership

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Terence Traut from Entelechy, Inc. interviews Bill George for leadership

leadership, management, supervision, Medtronic, Bill George, authentic

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I’ve had the pleasure and honor to meet some of the world’s greatest
leaders and leadership gurus, from Sir Richard Branson, General Tommy
Franks, and Captain Mike Abrashoff to Dr. Warren Bennis, Dr. Henry
Mintzberg, and Tom Peters.

I recently had the opportunity to meet with Bill George, former chairman
and chief executive of Medtronic, Inc., the world’s leading medical
technology company, and author of the best-selling book, Authentic
Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value.

Bill George speaks boldly against the “shareholders are king” philosophy
that has created many of the problems facing businesses today. With
corporate accounting scandals rampant and CEOs being handsomely rewarded
even while their companies are rushing headlong to failure, George
believes that leaders must reexamine their values and principles and
refocus their companies on the things that create true sustainable value:
satisfied customers serviced through valued employees.

In the pursuit of shareholder – not customer – value, CEOs have been
driven to pursue quick riches – almost always at the expense of long-term
growth and customer service. Worse, this misguided pursuit of
shareholder profits has led some – as evident in Enron, WorldCom,
Adelphia, and others – to create the illusion of profitability and

Where’s the leadership?   In many cases, the leadership is as vaporous as
the long-term profits.

Bill George calls on all of us to demonstrate authentic leadership, to
return to the core values of sound business. He argues that taking good
care of employees and customers will result in a higher stock price than
focusing on shareholder value. And his arguments are persuasive. During
his tenure as CEO at Medtronic, revenues grew from $750 million in 1989
to $5 billion in 2001. The company’s market capitalization rose from
around $1 billion to more than $60 billion – a 37.5% growth rate
compounded annually.
Bill George has faced many of the same pressures all leaders face: the
CEO cult of personality, the 24/7 workday, the passionate pursuit of
earnings, the excesses of ego, and the breach of trust by far too many
corporate leaders in the 1990s. In his book, Mr. George draws from his
rich experiences – as well as from those of leaders he admires and
disdains – to illustrate his five dimensions of authentic leaders:

•   Understanding why you want to lead
•   Practicing solid values
•   Leading with a heart
•   Establishing connected relationships
•   Showing self-discipline

Terence R. Traut is the president of Entelechy, Inc., a company that
helps organizations unlock the potential of their people through
customized training programs in the areas of sales, management, customer
service, and training. Terence can be reached at 603-424-1237 or Check out Entelechy's website at

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Mike Ward Mike Ward Senior Project Manager
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