From Values to Action | Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr.

Summary of: From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership
By: Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr.


Embark on a journey to discover the essence of values-based leadership in this summary of ‘From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership’ by Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr. The book explores how self-reflection, balance and perspective, true self-confidence, and genuine humility can forge leaders who inspire and motivate employees. Reveal the steps Kraemer took to incorporate these principles into his CEO tenure at Baxter International, and learn how values-based leadership principles can be applied across different aspects of life. As confidence in leaders has reached an all-time low, this summary is vital for individuals seeking inspiration and guidance on how to become authentic, ethical leaders.

Values-Based Leadership

Leaders inspire values-driven actions through genuine humility, true self-confidence, balance, and self-reflection. Harvard research found that Americans want ethical, authentic leaders who create higher-level impacts. A leader’s true goal is to create growth and change through working with others rather than focusing on themselves. By considering these four basic principles, ethical leaders identify and pursue critical goals that inspire and motivate their followers.

Self-Reflective Leadership

Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr., former CEO of Baxter International, emphasizes the importance of self-reflection for leaders. Knowing one’s priorities, values, and ethical boundaries allows for mindful decision-making based on what is truly important. Silence and self-reflection help leaders determine their priorities and make clear and informed decisions. Kraemer recommends asking reflective questions such as, “What did I say I was going to do today, and what did I actually do?” and “What did I learn today that will impact the future?” Focusing on the right things cultivates a reputation as an explicit and thoughtful decision-maker.

Embracing Gray Areas

Leaders should seek balance and perspective by welcoming diverse viewpoints and self-reflection. Balanced leaders prioritize doing the right thing and encourage open communication among staff members. They also extend balance and perspective to every area of their lives, achieving life balance.

The Power of True Self-Confidence

When Jim Kraemer was a junior manager, he was asked to perform a financial analysis for a firm his company was considering purchasing. Although he found the acquisition to be a good idea at a price of $75 million, the company decided to move forward with the deal for $100 million. Despite his low rank, Kraemer spoke to the CEO and explained why the purchase was not financially sound. As a result, the firm did not make the acquisition. Kraemer’s true self-confidence gave him the courage to speak up, and it was based on his competence in all the important areas of his life. True self-confidence is the opposite of false self-confidence, which is empty bravado.

The Humble CEO

Former Baxter CEO Kraemer stresses the importance of humility and self-knowledge in leadership. He emphasizes that talent can be found at all levels and encourages leaders to remain aware of day-to-day happenings. Kraemer believes that the best CEOs focus on doing their best rather than solely aiming to become executives. Confidence and genuine humility, not excessive ambition, attract followers. This insight comes from the advice Kraemer provides to management students when CEOs frequently visit Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

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