William “Bill” George candidly shared his career and life experiences at a recent Scheller College of Business Impact Speaker Series.
George, a Georgia Tech alumnus (ISYE ’64), is the author of leadership books True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership and Discover Your True North. The former chairman and CEO of Medtronic -- and senior fellow at Harvard Business School -- defined “true north” as one’s inner sense.
“I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw a miserable person… me,” he shared. “I knew I’d drifted from my true north.” The revelation was a critical part of his personal leadership journey.
After a career at Honeywell, he landed an opportunity at Medtronic where he instantly left a personal impression on the lives of his customers and employees. “Leadership makes the difference between success and failure,” he said, and highlighted how leaders often fail because of a lack of awareness, passion, compassion, or empathy. “These are matters of the heart, not IQ,” George continued.
The crux of George’s talk centered on how leaders make a journey from leading with their heads to leading with their hearts. The hardest part of the process, according to George, is not defining one’s true north but staying the course of it. He also assured students in attendance they would be presented with leadership opportunities during the course of their career and asked that they always consider, “What’s the purpose of my leading?”
Watch Bill George's full Impact talk on the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship's YouTube channel.
Organized by the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship (ILE) at Scheller College, Impact is a weekly series that brings successful leaders from the corporate and nonprofit sectors, as well as innovative entrepreneurs, to campus for an authentic discourse with students and staff.
Events for the series take place every Wednesday at Scheller College in in room 200, at 4:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted. The series is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required.
Watch past recordings on the ILE YouTube channel.