In Mission-Driven Leadership, Mark Bertolini, the long-time chairman and CEO of aetna, the Fortune 500 health insurance company, reveals that genuine leadership is not about dollars and market share but about improving lives and communities.
Mark Bertolini didn't get to the corner office through traditional means. He grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood in Detroit. Early in his career, he was known for his bare-knuckled leadership and hard driving competitiveness that helped him to turnaround several companies. But his ambition came at a cost as he ran roughshod over his colleagues and employees, and spent time away from his family. Two events served as wakeup calls for the hard-charging Bertolini. First his son Eric was diagnosed with incurable cancer, and Bertolini found himself confronting the healthcare industry firsthand, not as an executive, but as the parent of a deathly ill child, determined to save his son's life. And miraculously, after a year in the hospital, often at death's door—Eric was twice given last rites—his son recovered. The second wakeup call was a skiing accident several years later in which Bertolini broke his neck. As his life unraveled in the face of years of chronic pain, therapy, and medication, he realized he had to reinvent himself, emotionally, spiritually, and as a leader—or go under. Mission-Driven Leadership speaks to the lessons Bertolini learned about empathy, about helping employees and aetna's customers take better care of themselves and each other, about the need to "find the divine in me," and the importance of getting out to meet with employees and customers face-to-face in town halls to truly discover their needs and better serve them.
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