- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Jossey-Bass; Expanded and Updated edition (August 10, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1119082943
- ISBN-13: 978-1119082941
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 78 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Discover Your True North Expanded and Updated Edition
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From the Publisher
Author Q&A with Bill George
1. What makes 'Discover Your True North' different from other leadership books?
'Discover Your True North' is the only leadership book that offers a comprehensive approach to becoming an authentic leader – which is the gold standard for leadership today. Why? Because leading with authenticity is the best way to gain credibility with your team and to inspire people to fulfill your company’s mission. Authenticity is what continually separates great leaders from those who fail.
From the 101 authentic leaders profiled in 'Discover Your True North', we learned many new things about how leaders grow: the importance of turning your crucibles into opportunities for post-traumatic growth; becoming self-aware through introspection, mindfulness and honest feedback; taking the 'I to We' journey to become a leader who serves a greater purpose; and building your global intelligence (GQ) as a global leader.
What is your message to the next generation of leaders?
The next generation of leaders is ready to step up now to take on major leadership opportunities, and has the passion and vision to do so. 'Discover Your True North' will help them become great leaders as they develop their emotional intelligence (EQ) and integrate their hearts and their heads – the mark of any great leader. I am really excited about the Gen Xers and Millennials, and believe it is time to pass the leadership baton to them. The world needs fresh voices: people who understand that leadership is about service and that 'We' leaders are those who can make a difference in the world. I believe the next generation will resonate with the principles at the core of 'Discover Your True North'.
3. What separates the next generation of leaders from leaders of the past?
Having lived through the corporate crisis of 2002-03 and the financial system meltdown of 2008-09, the next generation of leaders has learned the pitfalls of charismatic, ego-driven leaders who focus on their self-interest, and is prepared to lead entirely on behalf of their organizations and the impact they can have. This generation is more collaborative and less hierarchical, and empowers the people doing the work with a unified mission and set of values.
The new generation has been exposed to the diversity of people around the world much earlier than mine, and values that diversity of life experience as a strength. They bring passion, compassion, empathy and courage to leadership, which is very empowering for their colleagues. They also appreciate the value of an integrated life that values work and personal life, and enables them to be the same authentic people in all settings.
4. What one thing would you want someone to take from reading your book?
My hope is that this book will enable readers to discover their True North, and to stay on course of their beliefs and values throughout their lifetimes, so they can realize the fulfillment of leading others with a common purpose. My vision is for 'Discover Your True North' to build a new generation of authentic leaders who can make this world a better place to live for all people.
If you want to learn how other leaders overcame adversity or where they went wrong so you don't make the same mistakes, then this book provides great examples (Opensource, June 2016)
From the Inside Flap
This leadership classic enables you to discover your True North, the internal compass that guides you successfully through life. When you follow your True North, you can unlock your full potential as a leader and human being.
Discover Your True North offers a concrete and comprehensive guide for becoming an authentic leader, and reveals how you can chart your path to success. As you embark on this journey, you'll encounter first-hand stories of 101 leaders across the globe and learn how they discovered their True North. Among them are the poignant and revealing stories of Warren Buffett, Howard Shultz, Paul Polman, Indra Nooyi, Arianna Huffington, Jack Ma, Michael Bloomberg, and Mark Zuckerberg, along with some who lost their way like Rajat Gupta and Lance Armstrong.
Once you discover the purpose of your leadership, you'll find the true leader inside you, enabling you to inspire and empower others as authentic leaders. Discover Your True North helps you to stay on track of your True North in today's complex global world by:
- Cultivating self-awareness
- Defining your values
- Finding the "sweet spots" of your motivated capabilities
- Building your support team and leading an integrated life
- Making the journey from "I" to "We" as an empowering leader
- Becoming a global leader
When you discover your True North, you will make a difference in the world and leave a lasting legacy.
Discover Your True North is an expanded and updated edition of True North, which became a must-read business classic when it was introduced in 2007. Bill George's latest book contains more than 60 percent new content, including profiles of 101 authentic leaders, and exercises after each chapter that enable you to become the leader you want to be.
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Bill redefines one's True North, showing the critical differences between leaders in the last century and now. Everyone has a life story, but successful leaders reflect on their stories and reframe them to learn and grow, especially from their crucible experiences. Bill provides a graphic compass for your True North journey composed of one's values and principles (north), sweet spot (east), support team (south), and integrated life (west) to arrive at one's center of self-awareness. It's a simple and powerful graphic.
One's self awareness derives from one's story, including sometimes losing your way and the crucibles encountered, and progressing through introspection and honest feedback to self-compassion, self-acceptance, and self-actualization. Another powerful graphic.
Healing through vulnerability is a critical concept. If one is open and vulnerable to others, then how can others do something to you that you haven't already revealed? In such vulnerability, there is power. Power, not to dominate, but power to build relationships. Beautifully described.
All this is not soft, sappy stuff because organizations led this way are mission driven and values-centered. They engage people unleashing innovation and superior service which delights customers, grows revenue and profits, and enhances the shareholder value. It's not only the right thing to do, but it pays off financially. Again beautifully described.
Another winner from a master leader and thinker.
The ideas behind the book are not complex and it's tragic that so much of the time the book feels like it is fighting an uphill battle. Gems like not shortchanging the future in order to fund the now. Like treating your fellow human beings the way you want to be treated. Like incorporating your IQ with your EQ. Like being mindful of not only yourself but the greater whole of the world and your companies place in it.
The mantra of service to others, to all your shareholders, the employees and the customers, not just the stockholders, rings as true in this book as it has in numerous other books.
<b>Your Life Story</b>
Bill George begins by explaining that leadership follows from understanding your 'True North' (purpose). While this may seem obvious, it's actually not very often practiced. Many people want to be leaders just to be important or climb the ranks in a company. Often people want to be leaders because that seems to be what one ought to aspire to. Bill George uses the lift stories of other iconic leaders and shows how that the best cases of leadership are derived from following your True North. The best example is that of Howard Schultz (CEO of Starbucks). Schultz says:
My inspiration comes from seeing my father broken from the 30 terrible blue-collar jobs he had over his life, where an uneducated person did just not have a shot.
For those familiar with the business of Starbucks, Starbucks provides health-coverage to even part-time workers. In addition they have a world-renowned training program that many Starbucks employees have called 'life-changing'. This has led to many Starbucks employees and executives looking up to Schultz as a true leader. I doubt Schultz would have been seen as the iconic leader he is if he didn't derive his leadership from identifying and following his True North. The moral of this chapter? <i>Reflect on your life story and examine how it shapes you and your reason to lead</i>.
<b>Losing Your Way</b>
This chapter ties in very well to the previous one. We all have at least a somewhat decent understanding of our True North, but more often than not we forget about it. We become <i>grotesque</i> as Sherwood Anderson explains in [book: Winesburg, Ohio: A Group of Tales of Ohio Small Town Life|23838169] (an excellent read). The <i>grotesque</i> is simply a metaphor how we often let society distract us from our True Purpose. This can happen because we start to chase extrinsic rewards such as money and fame. This can also happen because we become a slave to others' expectations of us, instead of doing what we really want. Bill George gets it right in his analysis of the fallen-from-grace Rajat Gupta who went from being an iconic leader of McKinsey to being in jail for insider trading. He writes:
Maybe he started to define himself by his net worth instead of self-worth.
It is important to not lose your way and become one of the <i>grotesque</i>. By following your True North, you will inevitably end up a more fulfilled person.
We are often defined by our biggest moments of failure or loss. Sometimes we let this define us in a negative way. We let these moments fill us with rage, hate, and resentment. Even worse, we let it distract us from our True North. Instead, we must see these as opportunities to learn and make the world a better place. Bill George uses the story of Marilyn Nelson (owner of Carlson Inc.) and how she was able to use her daughter's untimely death to make the world a better place for others. Bill George puts it best when he says:
Use the event to transform your wound into a pearl.
It may sound cliche, but it's nonetheless true.
It is at this point in the book that Bill George starts to tie in the idea behind one's True North to leadership. Here, Bill George makes the distinction between Authentic Leadership and Leadership. Many of us are leaders, but not many are authentic leader. What's the difference? It should be obvious if you've ever met a leader that isn't authentic. Something just feels off about certain leaders and that is usually because of a lack of authenticity. It is important to be an authentic leader. People follow authentic leaders much better than leaders who are not authentic. The key to building this authenticity is self-reflection. Many leaders have a natural tendency to try and appear invincible and even have a holier-than-tho air about them. This is a mistake for two reasons. It makes you appear not authentic AND it breaks you down as a person when you fail to use any of the existing support structures around you. He writes:
To protect yourself from harm, you may develop a false self by building protective layers. In doing so, you become less authentic. Without being aware of your vulnerabilities... it is easy to go off the track of your True North...
John Bryant (CEO of Hope) explains that vulnerabilities left untouched are weaknesses. But, vulnerabilities exposed to your support structure and peers can actually be strengths. He says:
If I've got nothing to hide and admit my faults before you can call them out, what are you going to do to me?
We all have values that are important to us, as derived from our True North. Bill George says:
Leadership principles are values translated into practice.
When being a leader it is important that we let our values define how we act, not letting how we think a leaders should act define how we act. This makes a leader authentic and able to lead with purpose.
The Sweet Spot can be viewed as a culmination of the lessons mentioned above. It is important to identify what makes us tick and use it as a basis for acting on our values. Once we do this, we can truly lead. Bill George uses Warren Buffet as an example. Being one of the most successful people in finance, one may think Charles Schwab is just in it for the money. It turns out, that's not true in the least. His sweet spot was helping others. He founded his company with the purpose of trying to end the "thieving" he saw rampant on Wall Street. He sought to make financial independence an achievable goal for even the average American through a variety of financial tools. By leading from his sweet spot he ended up wildly successful, likely much more successful than if he led from just the desire to make money.
As Bill George mentioned earlier, part of being authentic is exposing and talking about your vulnerabilities. From this follows the necessity of a support team. These are people who you can trust for honest feedback and will stick around you even (and especially) in times of failure. They will help you stay on the path of your True North. In this chapter he uses a host of different examples of how to take advantage of and where to find support teams.
This chapter serves as a necessary example that a good leader isn't just a person that works relentlessly 24/7. A good leader needs to have a well-rounded life. This includes making time for friends, family, exercises, personal time, and hobbies. Most of this should be obvious and going into the science behind why well-rounded people are actually more productive than pure workers isn't really necessary here. Nonetheless, this is an important chapter that will illuminate how you may be able to live a happier and at the same time a more productive life.
<b>I to We</b>
This is one of the most important chapters in the book. Here, Bill George presents the idea of a <i>servant leader</i>. That is a leader that serves others in order to lead the group forward. In order to do this, a leader must make the transition from I to We. It should be a bit eye-opening to think:
You have to realize, it's not all about you.
One may think that now that they are a leader (whatever that means) that it is finally about THEM; that now they are the important one. This couldn't be further from the truth. One shouldn't view leadership as a manifestation of power in one's self. It's incomplete. Instead, one should view view leadership as <i>a manifestation of power in one to help others achieve</i>. By thinking on the <i>we</i> level instead of the <i>I</i> level, one can truly become a great and influential leader.
Bill George explains here that in order to lead an organization, we must have a strong idea of purpose. He says:
Purpose is the motivating force that binds people together to drive the organization toward common goals.
It is important to have a clear and defined purpose, otherwise everyone is simply running in every direction. By having a purpose the transition from I to We can become a lot smoother.
Here, Bill George talks about the value of being a global leader in a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected. Personally, it was difficult for me to find value in or apply any of these lessons since in order to be a global leader you need to be fairly far along in your journey. Nonetheless, exposure to this idea was very important and this section could be very important to others.
This the final section that brings the book full-circle. Once one has made this journey, it is important that we always focus on empowerment and creating other leaders. This is a critical aspect of going from I to We and becoming a servant leader. If leaders focus on empowering others, than those that follow them will do so happily and everyone will prosper in the end.
All in all, a great read. The most important tip I have is to actually write down answers to the questions at the end of each chapter. The self-reflection is very useful and will immediately result in the book becoming relevant to your daily life.
Discover Your True North provides the inspiration and tough questions to help guide you in your journey towards authentic leadership and the direction of your own personal true north.