Inspirational Quotes

  Max DePree quotes

Max De Pree (1924 − 2017) in an American businessman and writer



The greatest thing is, at any moment, to be willing to give up who we are in order to become all that we can be.



Max DePree quotes

We cannot become what we need to be
by remaining what we are.

De Pree




We can teach ourselves to see things the way they are. Only with vision can we begin to see things the way they can be.

Sometimes we think we're a little too gifted to show up, you know. But none of us truly is... By avoiding risk we really risk what's most important in life  −  reaching toward growth, our potential, and a true contribution to a common good.





We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.












Max DePree quotes

Leadership is liberating people to do what is required of them in the most effective and humane way possible.

De Pree



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

Leaders don't inflict pain − they share pain.

Leadership is much more an art, a belief, a condition of the heart, than a set of things to do. The visible signs of artful leadership are expressed, ultimately, in its practice.


The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers. Are the followers reaching their potential? Are they learning? Serving? Do they achieve the required results? Do they change with grace? Manage conflict?





Innovation is the lifeblood of an organization. Knowing how to lead and work with creative people requires knowledge and action that often goes against the typical organizational structure. Protect unusual people from bureaucracy and legalism typical of organizations.





In some South Pacific cultures, a speaker holds a conch shell as a symbol of temporary position of authority. Leaders must understand who holds the conch that is, who should be listened to and when.




Leadership is an Art

Leadership is an art. It's about leading others with compassion and humanity rather than simply using intimidation and scare tactics to get things done.

Artful Leadership skills can help executives and managers build a better, more successful organization.

Artful Leadership as a kind of stewardship that focuses on building relationships, initiating ideas, and creating a lasting value system within an organization.


From his experience and observation, he knows that in order to have power you need to give power. His main purpose in his book is to show ways this can be achieved, which differs from most leadership books I have read, that only focus on achieving corporate excellence. He gives a strong emphasis to the importance of building relationships, initiating ideas, communication, and creating a lasting value system within an organization. He also thinks one of the most important aspect of leadership is to recognize the potential of the followers (in this case he is referring to the people who work in the company). In order to do this, he states that it is everyone's right to be part of the decision-making process and all information should be shared; this is why trust plays an important part of being a leader.

De Pree tries to stimulate the readers thinking to be "out of the box" and create a very positive corporate culture, making employees enthusiastic and happy to work there, thus creating extremely positive outcomes from the company.
Leadership is an Art explores how executives and managers can learn leadership skills that will build a better, more successful organization.
One of the most vital aspects of any organization is healthy communication. Just as any relationship requires honest and open communication to stay healthy, so the relationships within corporations improve when information is shared accurately and freely. So what is good communication? Good communication is the way people bridge the gaps formed by a growing company, it is the way they stay in touch, build trust, ask for help, monitor performance, and share their vision.
The best way to communicate is through action. You see, a corporation’s values are its life’s blood, so when you actively practice those values, you are communicating the company’s values in a way that people can clearly see and understand. As a result, others will follow andcontinue to communicate those values through their everyday actions. Not only must a leader communicate effectively, but he or she must also possess elegance. And no, elegance isn’t simply dressing in expensive designer suits and acting sophisticated. Instead, the marks of elegance go much deeper.
Once on vacation in England and Scotland, author Max De Pree and his friend were debating whether they were driving along the English Channel or the Falmouth Estuary. When they saw two women up ahead, they decided to stop and ask them to settle the debate. When they asked, “Excuse me, ma’am, is that the English Channel?” She simply responded, “Well, that’s part of it.” This story simply illustrates how oftentimes we only look at parts, instead of considering an entire whole. When we look at employees, we struggle to see all the different sides of people. An elegant leader, however, reaches for completeness.
For example, contracts, as we have mentioned, are just a small part of relationships. A complete relationship needs a covenant. Furthermore, an elegant leader recognizes that decisions must be made carefully and thoughtfully. Instead of rushing to make impulsive decisions, an elegant leader will analyze the situation before agreeing to develop a new product or hiring a new vice president. When Herman Miller was in the process of hiring a new vice president, De Pree understood the significance of a VP to both the organization and its employees. For this reason, De Pree created in-depth checklists that the corporation required from its leader when making such a decision.
These checklists included things like, “is open to contrary opinion,” “is intimate with the organization and its work,” “can be a tribal storyteller,” and that the candidate must understand and speak for “the corporate value system,” and “participative management.” De Pree then sent out the checklists and received feedback and additions. In the end, the company collaborated with one another and took their time before hiring a new vice president. Lastly, elegant leadership is also about treating everyone with respect, regardless of their place in the hierarchy. Ultimately, leadership isn’t just about leading a company to success, it’s about leading with kindness, benevolence, and authenticity.
Leadership is an art. It’s about leading others with compassion and humanity rather than simply using intimidation and scare tactics to get things done. When employees respect management and vice versa, then amazing things can happen. Communication comes easy, people listen to what others have to say, and as a result, employees will feel included and important. So forget the hierarchy and adopt an inclusive system that values each and every person. Recognize the unique role that each person plays and lead by example, and soon you’ll see the company benefit in more ways than one.


Inspirational Leader

The Tao of Leadership