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Becoming the Best: Build a World-Class Organization Through Values-Based Leadership

Becoming the Best: Build a World-Class Organization Through Values-Based Leadership

Harry M. Kraemer

ISBN: 978-1-118-99942-4 March 2015 Jossey-Bass 224 Pages


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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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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

Acknowledgments 201

About the Author 205

Index 207

“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)