(May 18, 2021) People often ask me, “Why have you always been so focused on leadership issues? What drives this? What is your inspiration?”
The answer is simple – my great grandfather, The Right Honourable Vincent Massey.
In many ways, he formalized the very concept of leadership in modern Canada. As CEO of the family firm, Massey Ferguson, he created the world’s largest farm implement corporation. As chair of the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences, he conceived and laid out the role that Canadian culture could play as the source of national creativity. His strategy and recommendations led to the creation of integral Canadian institutions and programs, and he reorganized a national political party to govern and shape Canada for much of the 20th century.
My great grandfather defined the idea of cultural leadership and management. The lesson he taught us all is that leadership must be a remarkable combination of individual skills, adapted to individual needs. He taught us that there must be understanding of – and commitment to – what it means to be a great leader. Whether down-to-earth management, the mastery of tactics or the imagination and courage for strategy, leadership is always about finding the right balance between each of these in any circumstance.
Today we might call these elements purpose, professionalism and passion – and all three require an understanding of the people who will need to carry out the tasks.
There are no cookie cutter answers. No easily predictable human types.
We must try to understand the need before us and identify the person who has the talent, experience and drive to fulfill it.
So, yes. Massey Henry is driven by an inspiration and as am I.
We are proud of that.