Becoming the Best: Build a World-Class Organization Through Values-Based Leadership
March 2015, Jossey-Bass
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.
Introduction: From Four Principles to Five Bests 1
SECTION ONE BEST SELF 11
1 THE SELF-REFLECTIVE, BALANCED LEADER 15
2 THE HUMBLE, SELF-CONFIDENT LEADER 33
SECTION TWO BEST TEAM 49
3 TURNING AROUND A TEAM 55
4 CREATING A BEST TEAM FROM SCRATCH 73
SECTION THREE BEST PARTNER 91
5 SUPPLIERS AS BEST PARTNERS: A HOLISTIC RELATIONSHIP 97
6 BUILDING BEST-PARTNER CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS 113
SECTION FOUR BEST INVESTMENT 131
7 MAKING A BEST INVESTMENT IN TALENT 135
8 THE PROOF POINT: SHAREHOLDER VALUE 151
SECTION FIVE BEST CITIZEN 167
9 VALUES IN ACTION 171
10 LIVING THE LEGACY AND LEAVING A GLOBAL FOOTPRINT 185
About the Author 205
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, and the author of From Values to Action.
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“I enjoyed diving into Harry Kraemer’s book for a day and the four principles he talks about certainly resonated with what I believe in building a strong business” (PR Week, April 2015)
"Full of fascinating case studies, this is an excellent academic exercise, with salient insights that will benefit anyone who wants to become a more self-aware and confident leader in future" (Financial Adviser, September 2015)
What does it mean in practice to be a values-based leader? First, you must recognize that leadership is not determined by the number of direct reports you have. Whether you are entry level or an executive, when faced with real situations that test your patience and possibly defy your belief system, it’s imperative that you are your best self so that you can create best teams - while also being a best partner for customers and vendors, a best investment for stakeholders and a best citizen making a difference in the world. Becoming The Best: Build a World-Class Organization Through Values-Based Leadership (Wiley, March 9th, 2015), a new book by Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr., offers a how-to guide for putting the principles of values-based leadership into action to achieve “5 Bests.”
A follow up to his best-seller From Values to Action,in whichKraemer showed how self-reflection, balance, true self-confidence and genuine humility are the traits of today's most effective leaders, Becoming The Best addresses how to apply these principles to help create a values-based organization. Kraemer, a professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, an executive partner with Madison Dearborn Partners and the former CEO and chairman of Baxter International, offers a rallying cry for employees to stay grounded in who they are and what they stand for. He defines the human side of leadership and proves that values and success are not mutually exclusive.
Kraemer’s “5 bests” for readers are:
- Best Self: You actualize who you are meant to become, with fuller self-knowledge of and a deeper understanding that in order to influence people, you need to relate to them first.
- Best Team: All team members understand and appreciate what they're doing, why they're doing it, and how that fits with and fulfills the goals and objectives of the organization.
- Best Partner: The organization, its vendors and suppliers forge a partnership in order to enhance the customer experience. Each party understands what the organization is trying to do and why, as it provides products and/or services.
- Best Investment: Everyone in the organization focuses on generating a return for the owners (whether stockholders, debt holders, a foundation, or other stakeholders) through positive and meaningful actions that support the mission, vision, and values of the organization.
- Best Citizen: From the C-suite to the most junior levels of the organization, everyone is focused not only on success, but also significance, through social responsibility and making a difference in the world, beyond the organization and its people.
Powerful case studies from Campbell’s Soup, Target, Ernst & Young, Fieldglass and more help illustrate a key message Kraemer has for readers – that values-based leadership applies to those in the cubicle or corner office, entrepreneurial start-ups or global corporations, regardless of their industry or origin. Put quite simply, it should be the foundation for any leader or organization.