Former Medtronic CEO Recounts His Own Path to Leadership

In a wide-ranging conversation, George recounts his own path to leadership, and what he’s learned about success. Driven by Medtronic’s mission to “alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life,” the company’s market capitalization grew from $1.1 billion to $60 billion during his tenure from 1991 to 2001.

“You’re here on earth for a short time and you want to make a difference. I felt like leaders can make the greatest difference because they have such a powerful impact on people. It can be for good or it can be for ill. And I wanted to be one of those people who had a very positive impact on people I worked with.”

George offers advice on leaders taking a stand on social issues, creating an inclusive workplace, adapting to an employee driven culture. And he shares why he thinks younger generations are well equipped to take charge.

“Leaders today have to understand how to work in a multi-stakeholder environment. Leaders have to make bold moves. You’re going to have people who disagree with you,” George said. “If you stand for something, people will respect you for being who you are. In the end, isn’t that what we all want?”

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