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Can a Book Help You Find Your TRUE NORTH?

Maybe. I recently finished True North by Bill George and here are my take-aways, with paraphrasing from some sections of the book:

· We all have stories. Leaders have the ability to use their life stories to help them realize their passions and pursue their purpose.

· The book is full of interviews of successful leaders. (Not too many middle managers, in case you were wondering.) The authors conclude that NONE of the leaders they interviewed had a universal trait or style which led to their success.

· Knowing your true values BEFORE a crisis is key – this will help us keep our footing and navigate high pressure situations.

· When are we most effective as leaders? The author describes a concept of “Motivated Capabilities” which is “…alignment of our motivations with your strongest capabilities in order to find the sweet spot for your leadership.”

· If you are a mentee, find a mentor who will challenge you rather than just support you.

· If you are a mentor, it’s easy to support ideas but it’s harder to point out someone’s blindspots.

· We all strive to lead with the most effective leadership style. Under stress, leaders tend to lead with their LEAST attractive, not necessarily best or most effective, styles.

· Every chapter ended with journaling prompts to process/apply the information to our own lives.

One of my favorite quotes from the book, “There were some qualities that life was waiting to pull out of me,” by John Gardner. His story of finding out what those were is intertwined throughout the book.

After reading the book, I didn’t walk away with a super clear True North, and perhaps that was a silly assumption since it’s framed from MY life stories, not by reading other’s. At this point, we have some questions to ponder:

  1. What are you leading toward?

  2. Can you define your “motivated capabilities?”

  3. If you believe you have a “True North,” how do you know when you’re following it?

Until next week,


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