Principles of Personal & Organizational Leadership
Leaders throughout time in planet earth, come and go, some lead temporarily, some lead for a while. But only few leave a lasting footprint in our history, and even change the course of humanity while doing so. Leadership is not given, it is earned through groundbreaking strategies and lasting relationships with the followers, passing on the information learned while leading, and creating future leaders in the process. Not only do leaders take responsibility, but some go a bit further, once their main role in their company is realized, they pursue a higher calling for society, philanthropy. As defined in Merriam Webster’s “goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially: active effort to promote human welfare” (merriam-webster.com, 2018). They embody the example of ethical values and the definition of a leader, answering the call of mankind’s well-being.
Moreover, as is the case of a man from Seattle, Washington. Born from parents that lived and survived the trials and challenges of the Great Depression, grew up to become a household name, posed to change and transform the word forever. Yes, everyone knows his name, and it is one of the most successful persons of earth, his name is William Henry Gates, best knows as Bill Gates. Mr. Gates started his role as a leader following his parents’ footsteps and ethical values of working hard, not taking things for granted. His early traits started when he took the helm of his own destiny throughout education and following what he was inclined to, computers and technology. Taking a lead role of his future, he pursued programming and learning source code. “In 1973, Gates enrolled at Harvard, where he studied mathematics and computer science. However, Gates was more interested in pursuing his own coding, and when he saw an opportunity to found his own company, he dropped out of Harvard without finishing his course” (Pettinger, 2017). Founding what we know today as Microsoft, which has become the largest software business in the planet. By being the majority shareholder in the company, Mr. Gates has become the wealthiest man on earth, topping the Forbes 400 list for 24 years “number one for the 24th consecutive year is Bill Gates, who is now worth $89 billion, up $8 billion from a year ago”. (Dolan & Kroll, 2017). But with great power comes great responsibility, leading with so much wealth, there is no doubt that Mr. Gates has the ethical responsibility to lead the Philanthropy movement.
Furthermore, Mr. Gates and his wife started in the late 90s, what we know today as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. From a Newspaper article that moved the couple in 1997, acknowledging that children were dying in the world from deceases that were eliminated long time ago in developed countries. They decided to take the first steps, in order to do something about it. “Bill Gates and Melinda French were raised knowing it’s important to give back to the community. “Both the Gates and French families instilled the values of volunteerism and civic engagement. Our families believed that if life happens to bless you, you should use those gifts as well and as wisely as you can.” (Gatesfoundation.org, 2018). The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, goal is ‘‘to help all people live healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty” (gatesfoundation.org, 2018). Through investment in the following areas; development, health and policy programs, the foundation is aiding third world countries such as; India, Africa and China to educate, develop and create new medicine and procedures to abolish deadly diseases, and give them the chance to receive an education and to further the development of their countries.
Therefore, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation follows deep imbedded values seeded in the couples’ moral, and ethical upbringing. Reflecting what Mr. Gates stands for, as a person, “When I think back to why I joined Microsoft, a very big reason was Bill Gates. Here was a guy with all the money in the world, yet he showed up every day to change the world. Rather than just retire and play with his money, he focuses his time, energy, and resources on making a better world” (Meier, n.d). Mr. Gates embodies the concept of being a true leader, as stated on many doors of his company, he lives the message of “change the world, or go home”, a motto widely used within the company to remind its employees and competitors that Microsoft is in the business of changing the world. Mr. Gates is passionate about helping those in need, as stated on a speech in Harvard University “taking a look back, one big regret is, I left Harvard with no real awareness of the awful inequities in the world. The appalling disparities of health and wealth and opportunity that condemned millions of people to the lives of despair” (Meier, n.d). However, the values imbedded in Mr. Gates persona, not only enhances his ethical credibility, but cements the philanthropical ethos of the foundation, and what Bill and Melinda Gates stand for. Thus, Mr. Gates foundation has a phenomenal image management system that preserves the integrity of the foundations intentions and what it stands for.
Finally, embodying the example of ethical values and the definition of a leader, in order to answer mankind’s call to action is not only the responsibility of the wealthiest man on earth; but a call to action for companies and corporations with the power to make a change and influence others to cooperate in the name of humanity. It is in the best interest of humanity as a whole to preserve, and advance our civilization. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is just an example of what a philanthropist group with social interests and ethical values do, not only to help humanity as a whole, but to preserve their integrity and to keep a positive image for the world to see. Setting the example of how to lead responsibly in all aspects of the business. Passing that information down to their employees, customers and benefactors. Ultimately creating a message of true leadership, compassion and trust between leader and follower.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2018). Retrieved February 17, 2018, from https://www.gatesfoundation.org/Who-We-Are/General-Information/History
Dolan, K. A., & Kroll, L. (2017, October 17). Forbes 400 2017: Meet The Richest People In America. Retrieved February 17, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/luisakroll/2017/10/17/forbes-400-2017-americas-richest-people-bill-gates-jeff-bezos-mark-zuckerberg-donald-trump/#6896e6b15ed5
Meier, J. D. (n.d.). Lessons Learned from Bill Gates. Retrieved February 17, 2018, from http://sourcesofinsight.com/lessons-learned-from-bill-gates/
Pettinger, T. (2017, February 10). Biography of Bill Gates. Retrieved February 17, 2018, from https://www.biographyonline.net/business/bill-gates.html
Philanthropy. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2018, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/philanthropy