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From Values to Action

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From Values to Action

The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

Real leadership is based on values and ethical principles. The challenge is to put those principles to work.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Overview


Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr. is the former chairman and CEO of Baxter International, a leading global health care company. In this book, he outlines the four primary principles of ethical, values-based leadership. Now a professor at the Kellogg School of Management, Kraemer is a veteran leader with much to teach about working ethically. He recounts how he handled various leadership crises and faced difficult issues, including the traumatic time when a Baxter medical product led to the deaths of 53 people. His examples demonstrate how he thought through his actual business problems based on being ethical, and how he put his values to work leading his company. getAbstract recommends this worthwhile treatise to business people at all levels.


Leaders Should Value Values

Leadership is the opportunity to influence people. “Values-based leadership” affects people on an even higher level. A values-driven leader’s actions inspire employees by example and motivate them to do good things and focus on what truly counts.

A 2010 study by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University found that Americans’ confidence in their leaders had fallen “significantly below average” for the third year running. More than ever, people want authentic, ethical leaders.

Values-based leadership rests on four basic principles: “self-reflection, balance and perspective, true self-confidence” and “genuine humility.” Ethical leaders consider these principles when they identify and pursue their most critical goals.

1. Self-Reflection

Self-reflective leaders know their priorities, values and ethical boundaries. Author Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr. found that being thoughtful in this way served him well as chairman and CEO of Baxter International. By using careful reflection, Kraemer developed a reputation as a mindful, “explicit” decision maker, someone who carefully weighs all the considerations and ...

About the Author

Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr. teaches management and strategy at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He is a former chairman and CEO of Baxter International, a health care company.

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