“There is no such thing as a instant leader.” begins Bill George. Think about the typical CEO of a company. What made his or her leadership style significant to the livelihood of the company, if it was successful to begin with? One quickly realizes that the definition of being a ‘leader’ is not all black and white as numerous leadership studies and archetypes make it out to be. In fact, the former CEO of Medtronic argues that the best leaders are those who do not aim to be leaders, but those who aim to embody leadership throughout the company, called ‘authentic leadership.’
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Philip Delves Broughton made quite a name for himself by writing a book, which was highly critical of Harvard Business School and the MBA system in general. During his time at HBS, he was surprised that sales was not part of the curriculum. He expected it to be very present in MBA programs and yet found that, in general, they looked down upon such mercantile procedures.
Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric, has said that anyone could have run the corporation in the 1990s. Conditions were so favorable that “a dog could have run GE” he claims. Not very flattering for his predecessor, Jack Welch!
Still, leadership is certainly easier when the economic outlook is good. The real test is during an economic downturn and given the difficult past 5 years books of this sort are more than welcome.
Peter Lorange has had one of the most illustrious careers in academia. Having begun his career teaching at MIT Sloan School of Management and Wharton, he then went on to become President of BI, Oslo and then IMD, Lausanne. He retired from this last position in 2009 but instead of dedicating his time to golf he bought the GSBA, Zurich and renamed it the Lorange Institute of Business. You might conclude that he has quite a bit to say on leadership and you would be right. This is an excellent book.