December 2, 2009

News & Opinion: Bill George

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 7:23 AM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

We're huge Bill George fans around here, and not just because his book Seven Lessons for Leaders in Crisis is (so far) our bestseller this year. We're fans because his diagnoses for business are imbued with a higher purpose than financial profit alone—though I assure you there is plenty of that kind of profit to be had from reading his books as well. It seems to me, however, that the most important lesson he consistently reminds us of is that business has to be sustainable and profitable to the community it serves, not just the company's bottom line. Or, as he wrote in a recent article for BusinessWeek:
Long-term leaders recognize that they cannot rely upon cost-cutting, acquisitions, and other short-term moves to create sustainable value. By focusing clearly on long-term missions, values, and strategies, they earn and keep the trust of their customers, employees, and the society they serve.

It is a message he lays out in some depth in his ChangeThis manifesto, Moving Beyond Short-termism, and that he hammers home by focusing on innovation and job creation in his recent article for The New York Times. He knows that until jobs start returning, the recession is not really over—not, at least, for the millions of families who are still struggling, wondering where their next paycheck is coming from. He puts it succinctly in the article:
President Obama’s decision to hold a summit meeting on jobs this month acknowledges the reality that people on Main Street have known all year. Jobs are not a lagging indicator as economists have told us. They are the indicator.

We are very pleased to see major media outlets give Mr. George a platform for his message, and hope that people pay attention. In the face of the multiple crises we face right now, it is an important message not only for businesses, but for society as a whole.
The direct links to the articles referenced above can be found here: BusinessWeek | New York Times
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