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.