George and Mary-Lynn

Review: True North

By Bigg Success Staff
12-27-07

Bigg Book Review

Good people are hard to find. They’re even harder to keep. People follow leaders who demonstrate passion and purpose. These authentic leaders will have a leg up on other executives in the coming years.

So says Bill George and Peter Sims in their book, True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership. For George, a professor at Harvard Business School and former CEO of Medtronic, this is a follow-up to Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value. Sims established a class on leadership at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and co-founded an investment firm, Summit Partners.

The authors interviewed 125 executives for this book. These interviews are why we think this book is so interesting. The interviewees talk openly about their challenges, failures, tragedies, and regrets. We think you’ll find these stories fascinating.

The authors help us understand that authentic leaders lead with their heads and their hearts. This helps keep them on course, in spite of pressures and temptations before them.

Leaders are made, not born according to the authors. Made from life experiences where they discover their passion. That provides the motivation they need to effectively lead their organizations. When you combine your passion with your strengths, you find that sweet spot that makes you much more likely to succeed.

The authors also present a 5-step leadership plan:

  • Know yourself.
  • This is the starting point. Discover your strengths and weaknesses. Seek objective feedback from others. Find your passion and your purpose.

  • Practice your values and principles.
  • You have to lead by example. Do what I say, not what I do, doesn’t work anymore. Did it ever? People want to follow authentic people. Leaders who are real. Leaders who live the values and principles that they preach. Every day.

  • Discover what motivates you.
  • The executives they interviewed wanted to make a difference. They enjoyed pushing themselves to their limits. They wanted an occupation congruent with their passion. Getting rich was a by-product of their success, not the driver of it.

  • Build a support team.
  • The world is too complex to go it alone. You have to develop a team. People who complement your strengths, but who share your passion and core values.

  • Create a balanced life.
  • Balance is important, even for busy executives. You must schedule time with family and friends. Make time for yourself – for exercise, a hobby, or whatever catches your fancy. Give back to your community. Balance gives you fresh perspectives that you can bring into your workplace to solve problems.

This book will inspire you and provide insight to help you develop into an authentic leader – the leadership style of this century!

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