Friday, November 11, 2011

Seven Lessons For Leading In Crisis By Bill George

Seven Lessons for Leading in Crisis (J-B Warren Bennis Series)

Seven Lessons for Leading in Crisis (J-B Warren Bennis Series)
By Bill George

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Average customer review:
(19 customer reviews)

Product Description

One of the country's most trusted leaders offers time-tested and real world advice for leading in economic hard times

From business giant Bill George, the acclaimed author of Wall Street Journal's bestseller True North, comes the just-in-time guide for anyone in a leadership position facing today's unprecedented economic challenges. The former CEO of Medtronic draws from his own in-the-trenches experience and lessons from leaders (representing an array of companies) who have weathered tough economic storms. With straight talk and clear directions, George shows leaders specifically what they must do to become strong leaders and survive any crisis. His seven lessons include: Face Reality, Starting with Yourself; Never Waste a Good Crisis; and Be Aggressive: This is Your Best Chance to Win in the Market. Seven Lesson for Leading in Crisis is a survival kit for anyone in a leadership position.

  • A concise handbook for applying proven leadership lessons in tough times
  • Written by Bill George one of America's most trusted business leaders and author of True North and Authentic Leadership
  • Offers realistic actions leaders can take to put their companies on the right long-term path

Seven Lesson for Leading in Crisis gives leaders a solid strategy for staying the course.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #103378 in eBooks
  • Published on: 2009-07-23
  • Released on: 2009-07-23
  • Format: Kindle eBook
  • Number of items: 1
Editorial Reviews

About the Author
Bill George is a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School, where he has taught leadership since 2004. He is the author of three best-selling books True North, Finding Your True North, and Authentic Leadership.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful.
5Harvard Student Grades the Professor: A+
By Zachary S. Clayton
Bill George is one of Harvard Business School students' favorite professors. Why? He has led real people in the real world and produced real results. In 7 Lessons For Leading In Crisis he shares the lessons of principled, effective leadership. 7 Lessons is an entertaining, efficient guide for how leaders should react when crisis strikes, margins grow thin, and board members become restless. Bringing seasoned business acumen and analysis to the page, Bill also includes firsthand accounts of his career and others to provide the best and worst examples of leadership in adverse conditions. Highlighting such successful leaders as Anne Mulcahy at Xerox and Greg Steinhafel at Target, while also profiling the downfalls of Lehman Brothers' Dick Fuld and AIG's Martin Sullivan, he offers advice with an energetic writing style.

There are lots of books about the current crisis by reporters. There are lots of books prescribing formulas for leading by professional authors. This book is entirely different. It's a thought-provoking guide to leading in crisis by someone who is on the inside who has actually led. By illuminating the "dos" and "don'ts" of crisis-time leadership through case-study analysis, he sidesteps the ambiguity that so often plagues business "how-to" books and strikes at the heart of the issues that are particularly pertinent in today's for today's recession-stricken leaders. I highly recommend it.

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
5A leadership book for today's challenging times...
By Chuck Bolton
... is what Bill George has created in 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis. I read this book last night on my flight from LA to Minneapolis and it was informative, engaging and filled with great insight. Most leaders have more questions than answers these days in the turbulent world we live and lead in. Being a leader in tough times is not for the faint of heart. Bill doesn't give "vanilla" how-to answers, but he does cause the reader to reflect, think for himself and operate in a high integrity, authentic way. Bill candidly shared examples of leadership meltdowns and shortfalls that have been part of the fabric of the recession we've experienced since 2007. He is courageous in naming names and pulls no punches. He also gives credit to a number of leaders who follow their True North and lead by their values. While this is Bill's shortest book (160 pages), I think it might be his best. I give two thumbs up. Invest a couple of hours reading this book and you'll learn something, I promise. It's the right book for the right time. I'll be purchasing copies for my CEO executive coaching clients. Thanks, Bill.

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
5A primer for principled as well as effective leadership while under duress
By Robert Morris

In two of his previous books, Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value and True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership co-authored with Peter Sims, Bill George urges his reader to discover or rediscover what he characterizes as "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." George as well as Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas (among others who also include playwrights Arthur Miller and Robert Bolt) have also written about "crucibles" of severe pressure from which some people emerge stronger while many others don't. Given the current and imminent economy, there seems to be no shortage of crises, of "crucibles," that test one's character as well as one's resources.

What George offers in this slender but deceptively profound book is "a practical guide to leaders about navigating through a crisis." Actually, that is somewhat misleading. If I understand the thrust of his thinking, he is talking about the initiatives that almost anyone must take (regardless of rank or status) to get through whatever dire circumstances they may have now. Ever the pragmatic idealist, he identifies and then discusses seven "lessons" he has learned throughout his own life thus far. None is a head-snapping revelation, nor does George make any such claim. All are easy to provide as guidelines for positive thought and productive behavior but none is easy to follow consistently. For example, "Face reality, starting with yourself." Nonetheless, especially during a crisis, many people find it difficult (if not impossible) to face the painful realities of their circumstances, much less respond effectively to them. Lesson #4 urges us to "get ready for the long haul." OK, but most people have the interest span of a finger snap and little (if any) patience, especially during an extended period of fear, anxiety, confusion, and discomfort. Throughout history, the human race has been provided with various commandments, laws, rules, etc. that, more often than not, have been ignored. What George recommends may suffer the same fate as "Don't eat that apple" and "Don't kill anyone" but he cannot be blamed for trying to help his reader "navigate" the perilous journey ahead.

There are more than 70 leaders featured in this book who serve as exemplars of George's key points, for better or worse. A few are admirable or contemptible but most are ranged somewhere in between. While reading this book, it is important to keep in mind that he is examining human behavior in extreme circumstances. He duly acknowledges his deficiencies. At one point in his narrative, he confides that his own defining moment occurred in 1988 when he realized that, for reasons best revealed in context, he "was in the midst of a crisis and drifting away from his True North." While driving near his home, he looked into the rearview of his car and saw "a person striving so hard to become CEO of a large company like Honeywell that he was rapidly abandoning his True North," his internal compass, his personal GPS to remain on as proper course.

Decades ago, my grandmother explained to me that "character" is who we are and what we do "when no one's looking." There are also times, such as the situation George describes, when we aren't "looking" either and lose our way. Crises have a way of attracting, often commanding our attention but, when doing so, they can also bring out the best or worst in us. In this context, I am reminded of a U.S. Open golf championship years ago (perhaps at Shinnecock or Oakmont) when many of the players angrily complained about the severe conditions (the fairways were too narrow, the greens too fast, the pin placements "impossible," etc.). In response, the U.S.G.A. official who supervised the course conditions replied, "We're not trying the embarrass the world's best golfers, we're trying to identify them." I think this is one of George's key points in this book. Those in leadership positions who possess and rely upon their True North are more likely to "stay on track" and make the right decisions when under severe stress. The importance of those decisions is compounded by the fact that others trust and depend upon these leaders to do what is difficult but necessary (e.g. Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill) rather than what is easy or at least expedient.

Although presumably written primarily for adults and especially for those entrusted with leadership responsibilities, I think this primer will also be of substantial value to school and college students who will soon - too soon - be facing even greater challenges to their judgment and character. Bill George makes no claim that he is providing all the "right answers" but in this volume, I think he is raising many of the right questions that can help his readers locate their own right answers.



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