Sub-prime leadership to blame for economic crisis

“The root cause of the economic crisis wasn`t subprime mortgages; it was subprime leadership.”

I want to share with you this review, from Reuters, of Bill George’s book ‘7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis’

Harvard Business School Professor and Former CEO of Medtronic Bill George Offers leaders a Path Through the Economic Crisis in His Latest Book, 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the meltdown of Wall Street, Harvard management professor and former Medtronic CEO, Bill George, reminds us that it is precisely in times like these that leaders of organizations of all sizes must remember to “NEVER WASTE A GOOD CRISIS.” According to Professor George, today`s unprecedented economic challenges should not frighten leaders into running for cover. Instead crises should be faced as opportunities for leaders or managers at any level to make the significant, long-term changes they need to position their organizations for lasting, sustainable growth. In 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis, George argues that a crisis can be used to fuel the future by providing the sense of urgency necessary to implement restructuring and other game-changing decisions that are much more difficult to make when times are good.

“There could not be a better testing ground for leaders than the global economic meltdown,” writes George. “I believe all the economic misery, financial disasters and millions of lost jobs will produce a new generation of leaders who are battle-tested in crisis and ready to get the global economy pointed in a healthier long-term direction.”

As Fortune magazine said in its August 31st review of 7 Lessons, “the root cause of the economic crisis wasn`t subprime mortgages; it was subprime leadership.”

To help leaders navigate these difficult times, George offers seven lessons he has learned through his own in-the-trenches leadership as CEO of Medtronic, as well as from the experiences of a wide range of corporate and non-profit leaders profiled in his book.

Those lessons are:
Lesson #1: Face reality, starting with yourself
Lesson #2: Don`t be Atlas: Get the world off your shoulders
Lesson #3: Dig deep for the root cause
Lesson #4: Get ready for the long haul
Lesson #5: Never waste a good crisis
Lesson #6: You`re in the spotlight: Follow True North
Lesson #7: Go on offense: Focus on winning now

On September 17, 2009, Bill George will bring these lessons to life as he moderates a panel of some of today`s most respected leaders at “A SUMMIT ON LEADING IN CRISIS: Personal Stories from the Trenches.” Panelists include: eBay CEO, John Donahoe; David Gergen, Director of Harvard`s Center for Public Leadership; former CEO of Xerox, Anne Mulcahy; and, Marilyn Carlson Nelson, former CEO of the Carlson Companies.

About Bill George

Bill George is one of the leading experts on leadership in the world today. He is currently professor of management practice at Harvard Business School, and serves on the boards of directors of ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the World Economic Forum USA.

George was chief executive officer of Medtronic, the world`s leading medical technology company, from 1991 until 2001 and chairman of the board from 1996 to 2002. Under his leadership, Medtronic`s market capitalization grew from $1.1 billion to $60 billion, averaging 35% growth per year.

He is the author of three best-selling books: Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secret of Creating Lasting Value (Jossey-Bass, 2003), True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership with Peter Sims (Jossey-Bass, 2007) and Finding Your True North, A Personal Guide (Jossey-Bass, 2008).

The New York Times called his previous best-seller, True North, one of the most important books on leadership to come along in years.
George has been featured on national television and radio programs, including The Today Show, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Now with David Brancaccio, Charlie Rose, CNN, Bloomberg News and NPR`s All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation. He is a contributor to CNBC and a contributing columnist for and His articles have appeared in national print magazines such as Fortune Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and the Harvard Business Review, to name just a few.

For more information about 7 Lessons or the Summit for Leading in Crisis, visit:

7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis By Bill George
Jossey-Bass, A Warren Bennis Book Publication Date: September 1, 2009
$19.95; 978-0-470-53187-7; Hardcover


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