Bill George

Speech Topics

In this talk, George makes the case that we do need new leaders, not just new laws, to bring us out of the corporate crisis. He persuasively demonstrates that authentic leaders of mission-driven companies will create far greater shareholder value than financially oriented companies. Bill presents a tested guide for character-based leaders and all those who have a stake in the integrity and success of our corporations.

Speaker Bill George talks about his personal views in this inte
Bill George talks about his personal views in this interesting capitalism speech. George explains that he is a believer in capitalism, and has no problem with outsourcing jobs. In fact, the idea of working with experts from all over the world excites him.

George admires companies that find skilled people from other countries. He doesn’t believe in criticizing these kinds of actions in business. He discusses the idea of compassionate capitalism. George says that corporations can improve rough situations in other countries, such as poverty or economic self-sufficiency, through outsourcing.

George states that compassionate capitalism must include fairness, decency, transparency and honesty. However, George does acknowledge that capitalism can cause harm under certain circumstances. According to George, this creates the need for authentic business leaders, rather than people who are only motivated by money.

Harvard Business School Professor and former Medtronic CEO Bill George advises leaders to stay in touch in this employee relationships speech. It is often very hard for leaders of large organizations to maintain relationships with employees at all levels, however George believes that this is the key to the success of a business.

The problem with many companies now is there is way too much administration and layers, and George believes we need to remove this in order to place the emphasis on the people who can build a company. One of the examples George provides is with his own experience running Medtronic, where everyone ate lunch together. This small action brought people together, unlike so many big offices where people do not even speak to those on a different floor.

Leaders should always be talking about the mission and values of a company. Even though they may sound like a broken record it is what resonates with people. Bill George concludes the employee relationships keynote by highlighting how successful leaders are on the floor with their troops.


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Bill George is senior fellow at Harvard Business School, where he has taught leadership since 2004. He is the author of four best-selling books: 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis, True North, Finding Your True North, and Authentic Leadership, as well True North Groups. His newest book, Discover Your True North, was published in August of 2015 along with its companion workbook, The Discover Your True North Fieldbook.

Mr. George is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Medtronic. He joined Medtronic in 1989 as president and chief operating officer, was chief executive officer from 1991-2001, and board chair from 1996-2002. Earlier in his career, he was a senior executive with Honeywell and Litton Industries and served in the U.S. Department of Defense.

Mr. George currently serves as a director of Goldman Sachs, The Mayo Clinic, and Minnesota’s Destination Medical Center Corporation. He has served recently on the boards of ExxonMobil, Novartis, and Target Corporation. He is currently a trustee of World Economic Forum USA, and has served as board chair for Allina Health System, Abbott-Northwestern Hospital, United Way of the Greater Twin Cities, and Advamed.

In April 2014 the Franklin Institute awarded him the Bower Award for Business Leadership. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2012. He has been named one of “Top 25 Business Leaders of the Past 25 Years” by PBS; “Executive of the Year-2001” by the Academy of Management; and “Director of the Year-2001-02” by the National Association of Corporate Directors. Mr. George is a CNBC Contributor and has made frequent appearances on television and radio.

He received his BSIE with high honors from Georgia Tech, his MBA with high distinction from Harvard University, where he was a Baker Scholar, and honorary PhDs from Georgia Tech, Mayo Medical School, University of St. Thomas, Augsburg College and Bryant University. During 2002-03 he was professor at IMD International and Ecole Polytechnique in Lausanne, Switzerland, and executive-in-residence at Yale School of Management.

He and his wife Penny reside in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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