Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Harvard, November 28th
Bill George is a great professor at Harvard University; he has written a tremendous book named “True North, Discover your Authentic Leadership”. But basically he is a great and generous person. I like what he says about being ready to follow your own and authentic leadership, and that you will find your authentic leadership looking into your own story. It is when you are full of energy and vitality, your internal compass is heading towards your true north and therefore you are being authentic to your own leadership. And that helped me to understand my own leadership style, why I enjoyed so much working with people, taking care of them, empowering people and helping them to their success. Bill George says that one thing is to become a leader; another is to become a hero. Thinking about my corporate life, I have been a good leader, but not a hero. I just made groups work. When I was asked to do heroic things, I was not necessarily a good hero. Look, I didn’t leave the mountain walking, I didn’t put the group on my back and went for help. Roberto and Nando did it. I stayed with the rest of the group, trying to contribute with what I could, although I was prepared to leave walking in the next expedition should Nando and Roberto fail.
In some way, I´ve been in the mountain the kind of leader I´ve been later in my life.
Bill George invited me to address his class at Harvard, which was for me a great honor. The presentation was very good, a large attendance, students and staff from other schools and from an enormous variety of origins such as India, Pakistan, Iraq, Peru, England, Argentina and of course, some locals. There were over 150 people sitting in the formal and majestic Harvard setting. The Harvard Students listened to my story with rapt attention, and finally they closed the meeting with the biggest standing ovation I have ever had.
Later, Bill George sent me a feedback. He said his students were “spellbound” by my remarks and that they rated my presentation as the best in their semester, even better than those of very well known CEOs and professional speakers. What an accomplishment!!