Authentic Leadership

Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value

by Bill George

Former Medtronic chairman and CEO Bill George wrote this book following a series of corporate scandals, including Enron, Sunbeam, Tyco, and Worldcom—just to name a few. These companies imploded because management was fixated on maximizing short-term shareholder value.

To paraphrase my favorite line in the book: you are running a business, not a stock. That said, the compound annual growth rate of Medtronic split-adjusted stock price was 28.5% during George’s 12-year tenure, according to my calculations. Not too shabby!

The first part of the book deals with the character, values, and sense of purpose required to inspire employees. George also shares his wisdom and personal experiences regarding customers, quality, market share, growth, innovation, acquisitions, FDA approval delays, Wall Street analysts, and corporate governance. Continue reading “Authentic Leadership”

The Shareholder Value Myth

The Shareholder Value Myth: How putting shareholders first harms investors, corporations, and the public

by Lynn Stout

Business schools and law schools teach that the purpose of a corporation is to maximize shareholder wealth. “Shareholder wealth, in turn, is typically measured by share price—meaning share price today, not share price next year or next decade.” Lynn Stout (1957-2018), who was a business law professor at Cornell, makes the case that this is both untrue and harmful.

“United States corporate law does not, and never has, required directors of public corporations to maximize either share price or shareholder wealth… State statutes similarly refuse to mandate shareholder primacy… As long as boards do not use their power to enrich themselves, the [business judgment rule] gives them a wide range of discretion to run public corporations with other goals in mind, including growing the firm, creating quality products, protecting employees, and serving the public interest. Chasing shareholder value is a managerial choice, not a legal requirement.”

Continue reading “The Shareholder Value Myth”

Boards that Lead

boards-that-lead

Boards that Lead: When to Change, When to Partner, and When to Stay Out of the Way

by Ram Charan, Dennis Carey, Michael Useem

“A board can be a destroyer or a creator of value.” This book presents an excellent analysis of how the inept boards of Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, and AIG destroyed shareholder value; interesting insights into the turnarounds of Apple and Tyco; CEO succession at Ford, 3M, and GlaxoSmithKline; and Procter & Gamble’s acquisition of Gillette. Continue reading “Boards that Lead”