Herman Miller, the world-renown furniture design and manufacturing company (now Miller-Knoll), has a long and great history of servant-leadership. Former CEO, Max Depree, wrote Leadership is an Art, among other leadership books. Often cited in servant-leadership texts, Max’s work and Herman Miller’s culture shine among servant-leadership examples. However, there was a growing concern by some in the company that these servant-leadership roots were being lost over the years. They needed a way to remind employees of this history and culture, to ensure the practices continued and the culture was sustained.
We gathered a group of individuals from Herman Miller’s past and present to create a program that reflected where the organization had been, where it was today, and where it would go, continuing to apply these core principles. We mapped the company’s Design Tenet’s, Values and Principles to the Acronym Model of Servant Leadership(TM). Then presented speakers who had worked with Max De Pree. We highlighted employee stories that shined as examples of servant-leadership principles. Finally, we organized all this into video presentations and included in new employee hiring materials.