Obsession: Pat Riley

Regarded as one of the greatest NBA coaches of all time, Riley has served as the head coach of five championship teams. He won four with the Los Angeles Lakers during their Showtime era in the 1980s, and one with the Heat in 2006.

Patrick James Riley (born March 20, 1945) is an American professional basketball executive, and a former coach and player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He has been the team president of the Miami Heat since 1995 and head coach in two separate tenures (1995 through 2003, and 2005 through 2008).

He was named NBA Coach of the Year three times (1989–90, 1992–93 and 1996–97, as head coach of the Lakers, New York Knicks and Heat, respectively). He was head coach of an NBA All-Star Game team nine times: eight times with the Western Conference team (1982, 1983, 1985–1990, all as head coach of the Lakers) and once with the Eastern team (1993, as head coach of the Knicks). He is the first North American sports figure to win a championship as a player, assistant coach, head coach, and as an executive.

In 1996, he was named one of the 10 Greatest Coaches in NBA history. As a player, he played for the Lakers’ championship team in 1972. Riley most recently won the 2012 and 2013 NBA championships with the Heat as their team president. He received the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award from the NBA Coaches Association on June 20, 2012.

Riley has been quoted as saying that, “To have long term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way.” Clearly, his healthy obsession with the game lead him to become one of the great leaders in NBA history.

Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

Grace Brewster Murray Hopper was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. One of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, she was a pioneer of computer programming who invented one of the first compiler related tools. She popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, an early high-level programming language still in use today.

Hopper had attempted to enlist in the Navy during World War II, but she was rejected by the military because she was 34 years of age and too old to enlist. She instead joined the Navy Reserves. Hopper began her computing career when she worked on the Harvard Mark I team that was led by Howard H. Aiken.

Owing to her accomplishments and her naval rank, she was sometimes referred to as “Amazing Grace”. The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper was named for her, as was the Cray XE6 “Hopper” supercomputer at NERSC. During her lifetime, Hopper was awarded 40 honorary degrees from universities across the world. A college at Yale University is named in her honor. In 1991, she received the National Medal of Technology. On November 22, 2016, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Rear Admiral “Amazing” Grace Hooper is well known for having said of leadership, “You manage things; you lead people.”

Brian Tracy: Be the Leader People Deserve

He is the author of over seventy books that have been translated into dozens of languages. His popular books are Earn What You’re Really Worth, Eat That Frog!, and The Psychology of Achievement.

Brian Tracy is the Chairman and Chief executive officer of Brian Tracy International, a company he founded in 1984 in Vancouver, Canada. Brian Tracy International sells counseling on leadership, selling, self-esteem, goals, strategy, creativity, and success psychology. The company is headquartered in Bankers Hill, San Diego, California.

Prior to founding his company, Brian had served as the Chief Operating Officer of a development company. He serves as the President of three companies headquartered in Solana Beach, California. He teaches sales, time management, personal development and leadership. He is the author of around seventy books.

Tracy is well known for saying: “Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position.”

In this brief, but important thought Tracy notes a common misstep of fledgling and experienced leaders alike—that one cannot lead based solely on the merit of their position alone. No leader will get the best out of people are who are only motivated by the fact that someone else is in charge. In the business world the best work usually doesn’t come from employees who are motivated solely by the hierarchy and the fear of job loss. With volunteers it is doubly important to be a leader people want to follow, that leader should “live the cause” so to speak. The burden of the leader is to inspire good works.

You Can’t Blow an Uncertain Trumpet

“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”
~ Rev. Hesburgh

Hesburgh’s leadership style is well described by his famous quote on vision. This can most vividly be observed in his life through his work with the University of Notre Dame in making it more than an athletically excellent American University.

Theodore Martin Hesburgh, was a native of Syracuse, New York, who became an ordained priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross and is best known for his service as the president of the University of Notre Dame for thirty-five years (1952–1987).

In addition to his career as an educator and author, Hesburgh was a public servant and social activist involved in numerous American civic and governmental initiatives, commissions, and international humanitarian projects. Hesburgh received numerous honors and awards for his service, most notably the United States’s Medal of Freedom (1964) and Congressional Gold Medal (2000). As of 2013, he also held the world’s record for the individual with most honorary degrees with more than 150.

Hesburgh is credited with bringing Notre Dame, long known for its football program, to the forefront of American Catholic universities and its transition to a nationally respected institution of higher education. He supervised the university’s dramatic growth, as well as the successful transfer of its ownership from Holy Cross priests to the Notre Dame Board of Trustees in 1967. During his tenure as president, the university also became a coeducational institution. In addition to his service to Notre Dame, Hesburgh held leadership positions in numerous groups involved in civil rights, peaceful uses of atomic energy, immigration reform, and Third World development. Hesburgh was also active on the boards of numerous business, nonprofit, civic organizations, and Vatican missions.

Peter Drucker: Founder of Modern Management

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
~ Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker was an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business. He was also a leader in the development of management education.

He invented the concept known as management by objectives. Management by objectives is the process of defining specific objectives within an organization that management can convey to organization members, then deciding on how to achieve each objective in sequence. This process allows managers to take work that needs to be done one step at a time to allow for a calm, yet productive work environment. This process also helps organization members to see their accomplishments as they achieve each objective, which reinforces a positive work environment and a sense of achievement.

Drucker is also known for popularizing the management concept of self-control—as an executive function, self-control is a cognitive process that is necessary for regulating one’s behavior in order to achieve specific goals.

Drucker has been described as the founder of modern management. He is often quoted as saying: “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations,” which speaks to his management by objectives philosophy.

Max De Pree: A Caring Corporation

Max De Pree was an American businessman and writer. He served his country in World War II as part of the Army Medical Corp. His most famous piece of writing, the book Leadership is an Art, has sold an astounding 800,000 copies.

De Pree is well known for his “inclusive corporation” in which all voices are heard in the company and for his invention of the “silver parachute” concept of termination benefits. Previously, businesses preferred the so-called golden parachute style wherein employees received a pre-agreed upon termination package. The silver parachute bases its compensation on the length of time an employee served the company, as long as the employee served more than two years.

Being a writer, De Pree had much to say about business during his lifetime, but perhaps one of his most well-known statements about leadership is “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.”

This quote speaks to his inclusive corporation philosophy and his efforts to create what some call a “caring corporation” in which a business aligns its will for financial success with the care of its employees.

De Pree inherited the CEO position of Herman Miller furniture company from his brother Hugh De Pree who had taken over for the founder and their father, D. J. De Pree.