From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Value-Based Leadership

by | Nov 19, 2012 | Career, Leadership | 0 comments

Sometimes “doing the right thing” while also delivering outstanding and lasting results can be difficult for leaders to achieve, but Harry Kraemer knows it can be done. In Harry’s book, From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership (Jossey-Bass, April 2010), Kraemer explains that in today’s economic and political environment values-based leaders are needed more than ever. Drawing from first-hand experiences as the former chairman and CEO of Baxter International and from the leadership classes he teaches at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Harry offers current and aspiring leaders a framework to adopt the four principles of values-based leadership to make their organizations develop enduring value in the world. He believes that the journey to becoming a values-based leader starts with self-reflection, which he identifies as the first of four principles that guide leaders to make choices that are aligned with their values.


  1. Self-Reflection: The ability to reflect and identify what you stand for,
    what your values are, and what matters most.
  2. Balance: The ability to see situations from multiple perspectives, including
    differing viewpoints, to gain a holistic understanding.
  3. True Self-Confidence: More than mastery of certain skills, true self-confidence
    enables you to accept yourself as you are, recognizing your strengths and
    your weaknesses, and focusing on continuous improvement.
  4. Genuine Humility: The ability never to forget who you are, to appreciate
    the value of each person in the organization, and to treat everyone respectfully.


Harry writes as he speaks: highly engaging, personal and transparent in his stories, passionate in his thinking and inspiring. Harry occasionally comes across a real-life example of the values he advocates. One such example is the One Acre Fund, an organization founded by Andrew Youn that aids African farmers. Impressed by Youn’s mission, Harry has pledged the proceeds of From Values to Action to the One Acre Fund. “I got into this values discussion not just to talk about values, but to bring up examples of people and organizations who seemed to have the ‘values’ piece just right,” Kraemer says. “The fact that this book benefits the One Acre Fund completes the whole circle: Andrew and his team are a great example of what values-based leadership is all about.”

This is a video of Harry talking about his ideas and book. I encourage you to buy and read this inspiring book.