wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
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Max De Pree (1924- )Max De Pree 

American former chief executive of Herman Miller, the successful American office furniture manufacturer (pictured right).


Key book


Leadership is an Art (1989)

Everyone at work has creative potential.

De Pree’s father discovered this when he heard the beautiful poetry of a recently deceased employee.

So leaders must realize people's potential by serving them (based upon Robert Greenleaf’s ,pictured right below, idea of servant leadership).Max De Pree

So a leader must:


1. Be clear about his (or her) beliefs 

(and the best way to treat people).


2. Be visible and available when required

(“roving leadership”).


3. Effectively communicate 

(the organization’s values and an inspirational vision).


4. Involve employees in decision making.


5. Respect and protect people’s interests in a “covenantal relationship” 

This clearly defines mutual rights and responsibilities between the organization and its employees.


6. Trust and rely on other people’s talents

(“abandoning oneself to the strengths of others”).


7. Act with integrity 

(“a fine sense of one’s obligations”) and make sure everybody else has this.


8. Reward suggestions 

(for improved customer service, quality and productivity).


9. Give employees shares 

(in the company, so that they can share in its success).


10. Listen to people’s ideas 

(and encourage constructive debate by welcoming “contrary opinions”).


Key quotes on leadership


Liberating people to do what is required of them in the most effective and humane way possible” (De Pree’s definition of leadership).

Leadership is much more an art, a belief, a condition of the heart, than a set of things to do.

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor.

 Leaders don’t inflict pain; they bear pain.

The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers.


Key quote on corporate culture

A corporation's values are its life's blood.

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