Bill George: True North for Today's Emerging Leader

The Bleeding Edge of Digital Health

13-06-2023 • 36 min

In this week’s episode, host Mike Moore talks with Bill George, former chairman and CEO of Medtronic, about his experience leading Medtronic and his thoughts on leadership in today's business world.Medtronic is a renowned company specializing in the development and production of advanced medical devices and therapies aimed at addressing over 30 chronic conditions. Their groundbreaking innovations cover a wide range of ailments, such as heart failure, Parkinson's disease, urinary incontinence, Down syndrome, obesity, chronic pain, spinal disorders, and diabetes. With a strong focus on improving patients' lives, Medtronic consistently pushes the boundaries of medical technology to provide effective solutions for these challenging health conditions.Today, Mike and Bill discuss the challenges of leading in a stakeholder model, the trend of layoffs in companies, and the impact on company culture and talent recruitment. They also touch on the topics of talent recruitment and leadership development in the tech industry, digital health, and the pressure on CEOs to weigh in on social issues.Notable Quotes“We were quite conservative in hiring. So we were kind of slow to hire, slow to fire, and tried never to lay off. And I had a policy of never, no matter what happened, laying off R&D people. I mean, if people weren't performing, they could leave. But we never had a layoff. And we never had a layoff among our sales people either. – Bill (06:08) “As a CEO, you change your position on something, that's when the activists come after you, that's when the politicians come after you. So if you stand for something, Medtronic stands for helping patients. And so anyone wants to take Medtronic on, that's fine. We're going to stand forever to help patients. – Bill (28:18)In This Episode(03:28) Challenges of leading in today's business world and the need to stay true to mission and values(05:17) The trend of layoffs in companies and Bill’s approach to it when leading at Medtronic(10:04) Underestimation of the Medtech field(11:12) The biggest challenge digital health leaders are facing today and how to overcome it.(14:33) Advice for early-stage companies looking to recruit(16:13) The importance of having a mission beyond just making money (18:42) Advice for first-time founders in developing leadership skills and attracting/leading employees.(23:54) The hybrid work model and the importance of personal contact in the workplace.(26:09) Advice for CEOs weighing in on social issues(30:04) The genesis of Medtronic's four-for-one stock option plan and how it was a valuable tool for recruiting and retention.(32:30) Challenges of leadership and layoffs Our GuestBill George is an executive fellow at Harvard Business School and former CEO of Medtronic. He has served on the boards of Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil, Novartis, Target, and the Mayo Clinic. Bill is a prolific author of leadership books, including "True North" and "Authentic Leadership," and is renowned for his expertise in leadership development.

Resources & Links
LinkedIn: Mike Moore
LinkedIn: The Bleeding Edge of Digital Health

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