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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

When top executives sit down to write a book, the result is often acelebratory memoir or an upbeat treatise on how you can emulatetheir success. Bill George has chosen to produce neither, andreaders are the luckier for it. Instead, the former Medtronic CEOand current Harvard Business School professor has teamed up withco–author Peter Sims to offer a practical, inspiring examination ofthe executive experience, True North: Discover Your AuthenticLeadership. While the volume is a sequel to George′s 2003best–seller, Authentic Leadership, it easily stands alone asa guide to locating what the authors call "the internal compassthat guides you successfully through life."
At the heart of True North is a series of interviews with125 managers, from Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella to Palm co–founderDonna Dubinsky. George and Sims indulge in a few anecdotes thatflatter their subjects. But they also get interviewees to talkabout failures, emotional challenges, personal tragedies,regrets in short, life events that knocked them off typicalcareer paths. Taken together, the stories illustrate TrueNorth′s thesis: that there is no single way to become an idealleader. The volume is both memorable and perceptive.
True North has three parts. The first is an anecdote–richsection that describes what it means to be an "authentic leader"and examines how various people arrived at this status or losttheir way. There′s Kevin Sharer, who abandoned GeneralElectric for MCI, only to find that he was miserable and thatJack Welch wouldn′t take him back. ("Hey, Kevin, forget you everworked here," Welch told him.) Sharer learned patience and humilityand went on to become chairman of Amgen. The key experience forNovartis′ Vasella, in contrast, came from childhood: He enduredyears of illness and learned the value of compassion in healthcare.
The book′s second section, which focuses on the five key facets ofa leadership plan, is its most useful. First comes "knowing yourauthentic self," i.e., learning to be self–aware. This proveddifficult for David Pottruck, a former CEO of Charles Schwab whofound that his long workdays and aggressiveness made colleaguesresent and distrust him. His answer, on the job and in his thirdmarriage, was to force himself to seek feedback on a regular basis.Next, after you attain a measure of self–awareness, you shouldfocus on the values and principles that matter to you. David Gergenand Jon Huntsman, both of whom served in the Nixon White House andexperienced the Watergate scandal up close, had to learn to drawethical lines. Huntsman recalls that "an amoral atmospherepermeated the White House." The growing realization, highlighted bya request to entrap a politician, prompted him to leave.
A third step in the construction of a leadership plan isdiscovering what motivates you. The most successful leaders, theauthors learn, rarely start out wanting to get rich. They areinspired to make a difference, to test their limits, to follow apassion. In many cases, they abandon secure posts for the unknown.Fourth in the authors′ scheme is building a support team. Here, weread that many in Silicon Valley, including Palm′s Dubinsky, wereaided by Intuit Chairman Bill Campbell, whom George calls the "deanof mentoring." Howard Shultz of Starbucks found inspiration inmanagement guru Warren Bennis. Finally, you should try to forgewhat George and Sims call "an integrated life" that augments workwith such things as family, friends, community service, exercise,church, and whatever else matters in your life.
True North′s last section deals with empowering the peoplearound you. The authors ask leaders including many women(more than in any other part of the book) to talk about thehigher calling of their work. Avon Products′ Andrea Jung explainsthat "what we do is elevate women in the community," while AnneMulcahy of Xerox talks about trying to motivate personnel as thecompany struggled to stave off bankruptcy. As elsewhere in thebook, this is no victory lap. At one point, Mulcahy recountspulling over on a highway after a tough day, saying to herself: "Idon′t know where to go. I don′t want to go home. There′s just noplace to go."
Most readers will relate to at least some of the subjects′struggles, whether they involve watching a sibling die or fightingto keep ego from getting in the way of results. These people comeacross as fallible, emotional, and, yes, authentic. A series ofexercises at the end of each chapter may help readers evaluatetheir priorities and practices. While True North offers nosimple answers, it provides plenty of fodder to help readers figureout for themselves how to become a leader. ( Business Week,March 12, 2007)

"Now comes a truly worthwhile look at leadership...this is oneof the most important books on leadership in years."(International Herald Tribune, April 2007)

"memorable and perceptive...a practical, inspiring examination ofthe executice experience." ( Business Week, March 12, 2007)

"Now comes a truly worthwhile look at leadership...this is oneof the most important books on leadership in years."(International Herald Tribune, April 2007)

--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .

Présentation de l'éditeur

"Just as a compass points toward a magnetic field, your True North pulls you toward the purpose of your internal compass, your leadership will be authentic, and people will naturally want to associate with you. Although others may guide or influence you, your truth is derived from your life story and only you can determine what it should be."-From the Introduction

True North shows how anyone who follows their internal compass can become an authentic leader. This leadership tour de force is based on research and first-person interviews with 125 of today's top leaders-with some surprising results. In this important audio book, acclaimed former Medtronic CEO Bill George and coauthor Peter Sims share the wisdom of these outstanding leaders and describe how the listener can develop as an authentic leader. True North presents a concrete and comprehensive program for leadership success and shows the listener how to create his own. Personal Leadership Development Plan centered on five key areas:

  • Knowing your authentic self.
  • Defining your values and leadership principles.
  • Understanding your motivations.
  • Building your support team.
  • Staying grounded by integrating all aspects of your life.
True North offers an opportunity for anyone to transform their leadership path and become the authentic leader they were born to be.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 103 commentaires
53 internautes sur 55 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Inspirational and Enlightenging 9 mars 2007
Par Stoney deGeyter - Publié sur
Format: Relié
I could not wait to dive into True North after having read and reviewed George's first book, Authentic Leadership. While North is a great read, I have to say that I enjoyed Authentic far more. North is less of a book about leadership principles as it is a collection of interviews of great business leaders. Don't get me wrong, the book is about leadership principles but the vast majority of the content is actual examples, stories and quotes of great leaders reflecting on each of those principles.

For those who learn by stories, North will be a valuable read. I found the stories compelling and interesting, and even applicable, but at times it just felt like that's all there was to North, story after story after story.

George does a great job integrating his narrative into the recounting of each leader's story, but ultimately I felt that the book lacked the meat that was part of Authentic. Still, North provides a valuable insight into the business leadership community as well as the struggles, trials, and failures they have suffered on their way to success. We are also given a glimpse each leader's success from the human standpoint, rather than the hero standpoint, which is a very refreshing perspective.
63 internautes sur 70 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
"To thine ownself be true...." 26 février 2007
Par Robert Morris - Publié sur
Format: Relié
It is preferable but not imperative to have read previously published Authentic Leadership before reading this book which Bill George also wrote, with Peter Sims. In the former, George observes that authentic leaders are first and foremost authentic human beings. For me, this is his key point and because it seems so obvious, it may also seem simplistic. On the contrary, he has cut through all the rhetoric and urges his reader to examine her or his own core values. For most of us, that is an immensely difficult, perhaps painful experience. In this context, I am reminded of the fact that in The Inferno, Dante reserves the last and worst ring in hell for those who, in a moral crisis, preserve their neutrality. Throughout all manner of organizations, there are women and men who are authentic leaders and should be commended. The reality is, their respective organizations need more of them. Indeed, all of us in our global community need more of them. In Authentic Leadership, a truly unique and compelling book, George challenges us to join their number.

What we have in True North is a further development of George's concept of authentic leadership but also a rigorous, revealing, and rewarding analysis of what George and Sims learned during their interviews of more than 100 leaders. Most of their names were previously unfamiliar to me, although all are eminently worthy of the attention they receive. (That's a key point: Many - too many - studies of "leadership" limit their attention to C-level executives - usually "celebrity CEOs" -- when, in fact, authentic leadership is needed at all levels and in all areas of an organization, whatever its size and nature may be.) At twenty-three, Jonathan Doochin was the youngest leader interviewed; while a senior in college, he created Harvard's Leadership Institute. Ninety-three-year old Zyg Nagorski was the "senior" leader" interviewed for this study; after running the Aspen Institute's Executive Programs for a decade, he stepped aside at seventy-five and then, with his wife, started the Center for International Leadership and continues to conduct values and ethics seminars eighteen years later.

George and Sims discuss an unusually diverse group of men and women in terms of what is characterized as a three-phase "journey to authentic leadership" which begins with character formation and culminates (not concludes) with full development of authentic leadership within five separate but related dimensions: pursuing purpose with passion, practicing purpose with passion, practicing solid values, leading with heart, establishing connected relationships, and demonstrating self-discipline.

Hundreds (thousands?) of self-help books on leadership also invoke the "journey" metaphor while suggesting all manner of "phases," "stages," "dimensions," etc. What sets this book apart from them is the authenticity of what interviewees share so candidly and so generously. More specifically, as in Geeks and Geezers co-authored by Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas, those interviewed recall especially difficult experiences such as the death of a spouse or a child, losing a high-profile job, an extended illness, a failed marriage, etc. In fact, what Bennis and Thomas refer to as a "crucible" is all about the only personal experience shared in common by those whom George and Sims interviewed.

I was tempted to cite some exemplary "crucibles" provided in the book but have decided not to because each should be presented within the context of the lively narrative. However, I will observe that, for me, some of the most interesting and valuable material in this book focuses on coping with severe hardships of one kind or another. Long ago, Jack Dempsey observed that "champions get up when they can't." Authentic leaders must first become authentic people and, more often than not, that process requires experiencing and then overcoming being "knocked down." To paraphrase Dempsey, authentic leaders get up.

It is worth noting that throughout the narrative, most of those interviewed emphasized the importance of establishing and then nourishing personal relationships. This is especially true of those who are entrusted with leadership responsibilities. More often than not, what George and Sims characterize as a process of "peeling back the onion" to locate the "authentic self" requires the assistance, indeed the direct involvement of others. David Pottruck (former CEO of Charles Schwab) offers a compelling example of someone who created all kinds of problems for himself in his professional career and personal life until, finally and probably desperate, he assembled his colleagues and said "I am Dave Pottruck, and I have some broken leadership skills. I'm going to try to be a different person. I need your help, and ask you to be open to the possibility that I can change." Pottruck credits others and especially his third wife, Emily, for helping him to become - finally - an authentic person.

What about the title? According to George and Sims, True North is "the internal compass that guides you as a human being at your deepest level. It is your orienting point - your fixed point in a spinning world - that helps you stay on track as a leader. Your True North is based on what is most important to you, your most cherished values, your passions and motivations, the sources of satisfaction in your life. Just as a compass points toward a magnetic field, your True North pulls you toward the purpose of your leadership." Many readers will appreciate the provision of several self-audit exercises in Appendix C, each of which is dedicated to issues addressed in a specific chapter. I presume to suggest reviewing all of the exercises first before beginning to read this book, then proceed chapter-by-chapter, pausing to complete the appropriate exercise per each.

I was especially interested in what George and Sims have to say about "Empowering People to Lead" (Chapter 10). Appropriately, they stress the importance of mutual respect which they view as the "basis for empowerment" (I agree). Peter Drucker despised the word "empowerment." (I don't. Only misapplication of it.) Just as authentic leaders must first be authentic people, empowered cultures must be comprised of empowered people. CEOs as diverse as Anne Mulcahy (Xerox), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), Roy Vagelos (Merck), and Marilyn Carlson Nelson (Carlson Companies) have much of value to say about how to empower people throughout any organization and precisely the same values should also guide and inform relations with those outside the given organization.

Although George and Sims eloquently advocate the importance of developing leadership at all levels and in all areas of a given organization, they correctly emphasize the necessity of having leadership provided by a wholly authentic CEO, one thinks of power only in terms of first-person plural pronouns. In this context, I am reminded of a passage in Lao-Tzu's Tao Te Ching:

Learn from the people
Plan with the people
Begin with what they have
Build on what they know
Of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The people will remark
We have done it ourselves.

Those who share my high regard are urged to read the aforementioned Authentic Leadership and Geeks and Geezers as well as Success Built to Last co-authored by Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery, and Mark Thompson, Michael Ray's The Highest Goal, James O'Toole's The Executive's Compass and Creating the Good Life, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Andrew Ward's Firing Back, and David Whyte's The Heart Aroused.
18 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An incredible book 2 mars 2007
Par Fawzi Jumean - Publié sur
Format: Relié
This book is for people who care deeply about being leaders, true to themselves, and focused on creating a positive impact. By analyzing over a hundred of the world's most resourceful leaders in every field and of every age, the authors give the reader a sense of companionship on the journey of life. True North makes you comfortable in your own skin, while pushing you to be a better you, rather than to be things that you are not. We learn that leadership is sustainable when it is built on authentic values and passions, not just ambition and competence.

What I loved most about True North were the stories of all the leaders who have given us details of their struggles and triumphs. Those stories gave me great insights into these unique individuals, but more importantly, they helped me better understand myself, my purpose and my life. The book is an easy read, and ranks high on "number of cool insights per page."
22 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A compass with no map? 30 août 2007
Par Stephen Parry - Publié sur
Format: Relié
I am not sure if the authors are clear on their objectives for this book. It certainly contains a wealth of information about leadership characteristics and behaviours but little practical advice.

It is also inspirational in places; however, I am left with what feels like a collection of random cameos of leadership wisdom, which in themselves are useful, but together lack cohesion. If the book is trying to say `look, the world of leadership is very complex, random and idiosyncratic' then it achieves this very well but if they are trying to provide direction in such a world then the book clearly fails.

There is no framework for potential leaders to follow, the authors only state that if you know your true north and your values you can be authentic, which is about as useful as a chocolate teapot at a tropical tea party.

If you are a successful leader already I dare say you would agree with most of this book but if you are an aspiring leader then providing the compass without a map is very cruel.
12 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An instant classic 8 mars 2007
Par Matthew Breitfelder - Publié sur
Format: Relié
True North is an instant classic -- that rare kind of book that can change your life. I read an early copy of True North and it knocked my socks off. Bill George and Peter Sims chart a compelling new course for the way we think about leadership and what it means to be a leader in the 21st century. It couldn't come at a better time, when we are in desperate need of more enlightened leaders in our society.

True North re-centers the leadership journey on authenticity, not celebrity, and grounds it in our most personal values. True North empowers leaders to give themselves permission to be human, and to discover their greatest leadership potential in that humanity. The authentic leaders profiled here demonstrate this beautifully and show how authenticity leads to healthier, more innovative, and more successful organizations.

This book is destined to have a far-reaching impact on the business world. George and Sims have articulated what many leaders feel intuitively but struggle to express. In the coming months, True North will provoke powerful "ah-ha's!" around the world and with any luck will help create a new generation of True North leaders.
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