Question: What impact does your work have on the world?
Bill George: I would like to have some impact on the leaders of the future. And I'm mentoring about four dozen young people right now, and I have a lot of students at Harvard. I also have, I hope, some modest impact on the people who are already in varied leadership positions of great responsibility to try to help people understand that leadership is not about you, and about creating followers; but about building society and addressing societal problems, and making contributions to that. And oh yes. You do make money doing that. If you do that well, you make a lot more. So I'm certainly not against people who are successful making money; but I'd like to think I've had some contribution in giving some clarity about what 21st century leadership is all about, and how we can build more leaders; and get away from the succession we have of leadership from the top and start realizing that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of leaders in every organization just waiting for the opportunity. And why aren't we giving it to them? Why don't we empower them to step up and lead? And companies that do that create far greater results over the long term.
Recorded on: July 6 2007