How you can transform into an authentic leader? How are you planning to fulfill your dreams? Are you all you ever dreamt of?
Bill George, former Medtronic CEO and current Harvard Business School professor, answered these questions by teaming up with co-author Peter Sims to offer an insightful examination of the current executive experience, True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership.
True north is defined as an orienting point – your fixed point in a spinning world – that helps you stay authentic as a leader. It is based on your deeply held beliefs, moral orientation and the principles that guide your life. It’s your unique guide book to life, your personal identifier.
“The reservoir of all my life experiences shaped me as a person and a leader.” – Howard Schultz
George explains that leaders go through a discovery journey to realize their leadership purpose, their “true north.” Whether the leader in question is Howard Schultz, Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela or you, each leadership journey – the “I to we” experience — entails three phases:
- Phase I, ending around age 30, is when we experiment with our style and learn leadership basics. The goal here is not to amass followers. Rather it is about empowering others on their paths.
- Phase II, between the ages of 30 and 60, is the time when we deliver our best and most active leadership. It’s our prime, the time to lead and step up to the challenge.
- Phase III is all about giving back – being a mentor and coach, and pushing young leaders to the main stage.
Ironically, the journey that takes the leader from “I to we” culminates in a state where the leader understands that it’s not about being a hero at all. As one comprehends quickly, discovering your True North takes a lifetime of commitment and learning. Everybody experiences tough times and difficult circumstances, but as long as you are true to who you are, you can deal with everything.
Whether you are a director, manager or CEO, you are already living your own story. What are the events and memories in your life that shaped your valued and helped you understand your purpose as a leader? Is your leadership position just a job, or does it define your purpose? What keeps you awake at night?
If you consider yourself a leader, then True North is the guide to discover your authentic self.