According to former Medtronic CEO Bill George in a recent (Minneapolis) Star Tribune column:
Minneapolis-St. Paul has been blessed with the finest business leaders in the nation. They are ethical, mission-driven, values-centered and committed to building both their companies and our community. That’s why their organizations have thrived for the last four decades.
Today’s CEOs of our local corporations are the best leaders their companies have ever had. They fit perfectly with my definition of authentic leaders who have discovered their “True North” — based on their beliefs, values and leadership principles. That’s why I feature several of them in my new book, “Discover Your True North”: Ecolab’s Doug Baker and Martha Aronson, Carlson’s Marilyn Nelson, Target’s Brian Cornell, and Medtronic’s Omar Ishrak and Chris O’Connell.
For example, Ecolab’s Baker built his company from industrial cleaning supplies into a global provider of water, hygiene and energy equipment. Nelson built Carlson into a global hospitality leader. Their vision, integrity and ability to empower employees catapulted their companies to the top ranks of their industries.
Our two leading banks, U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo, avoided the financial crisis because their leaders, Richard Davis and John Stumpf, focused on commercial banking and didn’t fall prey to the high-risk dealings of New York banks. That’s why Davis and Stumpf are considered the two finest commercial bankers in the country today.
Examples abound of exceptional leaders: At 3M, CEO Inge Thulin has restored its renowned innovative spirit. Under the leadership of CEO Dave MacLennan and predecessors Warren Staley and Greg Page, Cargill has emerged as a global powerhouse in the food industry, as has General Mills under Ken Powell. With Steve Hemsley at the helm, UnitedHealth Group has become the nation’s leading health insurer.