From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership

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Silver Medal Winner, Business and Leadership, 2012 Nautilus Book Awards

Respected former CEO, professor, and speaker examines what it takes to become a values-based leader

In this highly-anticipated book, Harry Kraemer argues that today's business environment demands values-based leaders who, in "doing the right thing," deliver outstanding and lasting results. The journey to becoming a values-based leader starts with self-reflection. He asks, "If you are not self-reflective, how can you know yourself? If you do not know yourself, how can you lead yourself? If you cannot lead yourself, how can you lead others?" Kraemer identifies self-reflection as the first of four principles that guide leaders to make choices that honor their values and candidly recounts how these principles helped him navigate some of the toughest challenges he faced in his career.

  • Offers a framework for adopting the principles of values-based leadership—self-reflection, balance, true self-confidence, and genuine humility—to lead organizations effectively
  • Based on Kraemer's popular Kellogg MBA course on values-based leadership
  • A recognized expert in values-based leadership, Kraemer is a sought after speaker on the subject

Lively and engaging, Kraemer's book comes at a critical time when true leadership in every facet of society is desperately needed.

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About the author

Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr. is a professor of management and strategy at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, where he teaches in the MBA and the Executive MBA programs. He is an executive partner with Madison Dearborn Partners, one of the largest private equity firms in the United States, where he consults with CEOs and other senior executives of companies in MDP's extensive portfolio. Kraemer is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Baxter International Inc., a multibillion-dollar global health care company. He was voted the Kellogg School Professor of the Year in 2008. Visit www.fromvaluestoaction.com

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Additional Information

Publisher
John Wiley & Sons
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Published on
Mar 10, 2011
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9781118037188
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Leadership
Business & Economics / Management
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Much has been written about leaders and leadership. Journal articles, blogs and books try to home in on the essence of an effective leader. While there is common agreement that a executive's performance can make or break company, defining that essence of effective leadership remains the Holy Grail for those who find themselves at the top, for those who are responsible for carrying out the strategies and dictates of their managers, and for the shareholders who want to see commitment, action and positive financial return.

Breaking the Leadership Mold is designed to help senior executives and managers respond to the challenges of today and shed the vestiges of days gone by. In so doing they will better lead and enable their staff, and create a work environment that is healthy, engaging, productive and sustainable. Based on the author's extensive research and 35 years' experience in working with local, national and international companies, Breaking the Leadership Mold offers 20 principles-such as Principle #10: Recognize How Executive Team Dynamics Promote Mediocrity and Principle #14: Get Other Executives On Board (or Out of the Way)--that when implemented will ensure that not only is there effective communication throughout the organization, from top to bottom and bottom to top, but also that employees and executives alike contribute to their full potential. The net result -- the organization wins on every measure. The 20 principles are built on the pillars of case studies, experience and research.

Effective leadership is an absolute in any business environment, but becomes even more critical in times when businesses face unprecedented challenges and need to be nimble and responsive to change. Breaking the Mold has proven strategies to empower, unite and galvanize managers and employees -- and their organization - to enable them to prosper and adapt in a swift-changing environment.

How to turn company values into competitive advantage

We are inclined, for whatever reason, to treat values like works of art. We view them as nice to hang on the wall, and beautiful to look at, but we don’t act as though they truly mean much to us in the real world. In fact, the opposite is true. The best organizations understand their values, articulate them clearly, and hold them higher than any short-term concerns or short-cut methods. This does not put these companies at a competitive disadvantage. It is the source of their competitive advantage.

If there's no clarity at the top about what values really mean, then there's no consistency at the management level or further down the organization. This means that there's no way to measure, coach, assess, promote or fire people in line with those values. Any organization that does not articulate its values concretely functions like a modern Tower of Babel. No one can be quite sure that they are speaking the same language at different levels or different locations within the organization. Decisions don't always make sense or feel right. Confusion reigns. No matter how compelling and inspirational the organization's vision may be, its aspirations fall far short in reality.

Values are about achieving results in a way that is consistent with what an organization stands for. They provide a direct connection between the CEO, the factory worker and everyone in between; and form the basis of the organization's "brand" as understood by employees, customers, suppliers and even shareholders. When the work is done right, values provide an organizing principle, a directional compass that helps organizations succeed; they become a source of energy for an organization's vision, strategy and day-to-day efforts. Vision, strategy, market share, reputation and profits are all very important – but having a clear and consistent set of values is far more critical in predicting whether an organization will continue to succeed and grow as its people, markets, competitive landscape and technology change. People must make their contributions to an organization willingly and independently to bring passion, commitment, creativity and energy to a job. But they will do so only so long as they believe that what they are doing is authentic and meaningful, and is part of a code of commitment shared by the organization as a whole.

Inside the Box focuses on values in a clear and practical way to understand what they are, where they come from and how they are transmitted from employee generation to generation. Inside the Box provides a roadmap for any leader or manager on how to identify the values that make an organization, department, team, or individual unique. It also shows how to measure whether an organization or individual is operating according to those values, and how managers can use values as the basis for all of their people decisions and drive superior performance as a result.

What does it mean in practice to be a values-based leader? When faced with real situations, how can you be your best self and create best teams—while also being a best partner with customers and vendors, a best investment for your stakeholders, and a best citizen making a difference in the world? It's a tall order, but these are the expectations for world-class organizations today.

In his bestselling book From Values to Action, Harry Kraemer showed how self-reflection, balance, true self-confidence, and genuine humility are the traits of today's most effective leaders. In Becoming the Best, his highly anticipated follow-up, Kraemer reveals how, in practical terms, anyone can apply these principles to become a values-based leader and to help create values-based organizations.

Drawing on his own experiences as the former CEO and chairman of Baxter International, as well as those of other notable leaders and organizations, Kraemer lays out a pathway for understanding the principles and putting them into practice, showing specifically, how to:

Use self-reflection to become your "best self" as you lead yourself and others more effectively Create a "best team" that understands and appreciates what they're doing, and why Forge "best partnerships" through win/win collaboration with vendors and customers that enhance the end user's experience Support the mission, vision, and values of the organization to generate returns that distinguish a "best investment" Make a difference in the world beyond the organization by becoming a "best citizen"

Powerful case studies from Campbell's Soup, Ernst & Young, Target, Northern Trust, and many others demonstrate the four principles of values-based leadership in action and show how thinking beyond the corporation can trigger positive outcomes for both the company and the world.

Regardless of level or job title, individuals can make a difference in their organization and beyond by embodying the essential traits of a great leader. Becoming the Best offers a definitive, actionable guide to show anyone how to apply in practice the principles of values-based leadership personally and professionally, making it an indispensable manual for the new wave of better leaders.

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