William W. George, Harvard Business School (HBS) professor of management practice and former chairman and chief executive officer of Medtronic Inc., will deliver the prestigious Francis Greenwood Peabody Lecture on April 13 at 8 p.m. in Memorial Church. George’s newly published book, “True North: Discovering Your Authentic Leadership,” written with Peter Sims, examines the topic of effective leadership, or what he terms “authentic leadership.” George points out that despite the numbers of individuals with the capacity for leadership, a leadership vacuum still exists today.
According to George, “The problem is that we have a wrongheaded notion of what constitutes a leader, driven by an obsession with leaders at the top. That misguided standard often results in the wrong people attaining critical leadership roles.” George offers a road map for successful leadership in “True North” and states, “When you follow your internal compass, your leadership will be authentic, and people will naturally want to associate with you.” He continues, “You can learn from others’ experiences, but there is no way you can be successful when you are trying to be like them. People trust you when you are genuine and authentic, not a replica of someone else.”
Francis Greenwood Peabody (class of 1869), in whose honor this lectureship is named, served from 1881 to 1905 as the third Plummer Professor of Christian Morals. Known as the founder of the field of social ethics, he was famous for his application of Christian theology to the social problems of the day. As a founder of Phillips Brooks House, he was an ardent advocate of social service. He also served for 46 years as a trustee of Hampton Institute in Virginia, the school that educated Booker T. Washington and hundreds of black youth. Previous Peabody lecturers have included noted religious historian and writer Karen Armstrong and best-selling author Reynolds Price. The lecture is free and open to the public; for further information, call the Memorial Church at (617) 495-5508 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.