The Challenge

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.

The Solution

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.

3

Philosophies Aligned

We mapped and aligned the company’s historical values, current design tenets, and servant-leadership principles to reveal how the company has always been and continues to be a servant-led organization.

7

Employee Case Studies

We identified, documented, and celebrated 7 examples of employees practicing servant-leadership principles (one for each principle).

1

Very Satisfied Customer

The presentation, connection across principles, and examples of principles in action remain a part of new employee resources moving forward.

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

The late great Max De pree - former CEO of Herman Miler. He wears a suit and bow tie but this is only a head shot with his gentle smile.
Max De Pree

Former CEO, Herman Miller

Let’s Make Things Happen

Ben Lichtenwalner Profile Headshot - He wears a tan jacket and white button down shirt, as he leans in toward the camera with a big smile

Ben Lichtenwalner

Principal
(616) 202-2270

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