It's one of our favorite questions to ask each industry leader who graces the cover of Multifamily Executive: "Who is your ideal leader?" Invariably, the answer provides deeper insight into an executive's psyche and management style than an entire two-hour interview. The response also offers a myriad of other insights in just one take: What are the executive's political views? Is he or she deeply religious? A die-hard sports fan? A Renaissance man or woman at heart? Bent toward a buck-stops-here accountability approach or more toward consensus building and team-based achievement?
Leaders commonly point to historical icons and powerful personalities, be they political figureheads such as President Ronald Reagan (a favorite among our cover subjects) and John F. Kennedy or housing heavyweights—think Enterprise Communities' James Rouse and Trammell Crow's Ron Terwilliger.
Other times, the answers are further afield. In the February 2007 cover story, Lynda Ausburn, who heads up Marietta, Ga.- based Walton Communities, chose Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy and his son Dan, the fast food chain's president and chief operating officer. Why? "They lead with Biblical principles and practice servant leadership," Ausburn says. Grant Barnhill, president of Denver-based Boutique Apartments, who MFE profiled in February 2006, is a big advocate of green building. Consequently, he chose as his ideal leader Ray Anderson, president and founder of Interface, which manufactures environmentally responsible floor coverings. If you haven't heard of Anderson yet, you will. The green activist was named one of Time magazine's Heroes of the Environment in 2007 and appeared in Leonardo DiCaprio's environmental crisis documentary The 11th Hour.
There are also executives who can't pick just one source of inspiration. August 2006 cover subject Cecil Phillips, chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based student housing developer Place Properties, said, "Someone with the character of Harry Truman, the steadfastness of Abraham Lincoln, the eloquence of Churchill, and the humility of Mother Teresa." Now that's quite a combo.
Choosing the best of the best is never easy, but we've tried to follow Phillips' lead, combing through the past four years' worth of MFE for a definitive sampling of our cover subjects' ideal leaders. Each of the five men profiled on the following pages—Frank Lloyd Wright, James Rouse, Ronald Reagan, Vince Lombardi, and Lance Armstrong?offers distinct lessons on how to lead and inspire. We've individually deconstructed these five legends, highlighting key leadership strategies, famous inspiring quotes, and perspectives from renowned historians who have studied their every move. We encourage you to revisit this story anytime you need inspiration. Because everyone has one of those days.
Credit: Josue Evilla/AP Photos
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT
Ultimate Takeaway: A healthy ego can go a long way.
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT is arguably one of the most influential and imaginative architects of the 20th century. And he'd be the first to admit it. "Early in life, I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility," he said. "I chose honest arrogance and have seen no occasion to change."
Love his work or hate it, you can't help but admire a man whose career lasted nearly 70 years. Wright designed 1,141 homes and buildings, of which 532 were completed before his death in 1959 at age 92. Coining the maxim "form and function are one," he developed a style all his own, using natural materials, skylights, and walls of windows to blend the built environment with the outdoors. His iconic projects include New York City's Guggenheim Museum and the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, Calif.
"Frank Lloyd Wright was truly focused on designing environments to meet the needs of their inhabitants. He designed organically from the inside out. As a result, his buildings had a profound impact on how people lived, worked, and worshiped. As a developer of senior living, I can honestly say Wright's approach has been my inspiration for creating communities that work."
—Michael Grust, president and CEO, Senior Resource Group
"When Frank Lloyd Wright was on the outs with most everyone because he'd deserted his wife and taken up with the wife of a client, he still got major contracts with builders and developers. They knew his designs would sell, even when they might not be able to put his name on them. They knew also that he would never cheat them but would deal honestly and aboveboard. Wright often proclaimed 'truth against the world,' and because he believed 'better honest arrogance than hypocritical humility,' others believed in his integrity—maybe the most important element in selling an idea or a product. He did what he believed in and didn't shy away from hard questions. You could trust his word."
—William Allin Storrer, adjunct professor, School of Architecture, University of Texas, Austin; author of the only catalog of Wright's built work, The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright: A Complete Catalog and The Frank Lloyd Wright Companion
Credit: Josue Evilla/AP Photos
Ultimate Takeaway: Look beyond the dollar signs.
FOR JAMES ROUSE, development was about more than making a living; he wanted to improve people's quality of life. At age 67, Rouse's commitment to urban redevelopment landed him on the cover of a 1981 issue of Time magazine. The story celebrates his 40-year tenure as CEO of The Rouse Co., a Columbia, Md.-based for-profit firm. In 1958, he built the first enclosed shopping center east of the Mississippi River and, in the '60s, turned his attention to master-planned communities. His biggest endeavor: He led the creation of a new city?Columbia, Md., outside Washington, D.C. In the mid-1970s and into the '80s, Rouse revitalized downtowns with festival marketplaces such as Boston's renowned Faneuil Hall. In 1982, Rouse and his wife Patty launched The Enterprise Foundation (now known as Enterprise Community Partners). The nonprofit works to ensure every American lives in a decent, affordable home. Rouse died at age 82 in 1996, but his vision lives on through the work of Enterprise, which as of December 2007 has helped to build or preserve more than 240,000 affordable homes across the country.
"I have great respect for Jim Rouse's ability to look at the role of a real estate developer as having a positive impact on the community and the environment. His focus on making life better should be a guide for all of us who build."
?Tom Bozzuto, CEO, The Bozzuto Group
"Jim Rouse was responsible for several innovations that changed the American landscape. He was inspirational because everything that he undertook was with the aim of improving American cities. If he made money along the way, that was great, but building better places was always his foremost goal."
?Joshua Olsen, vice president of acquisitions, Monument Realty, Washington, D.C.; author of Better Places, Better Lives: A Biography of James Rouse
Credit: Josue Evilla/AP Photos
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN
Ultimate Takeaway: An optimistic spirit can restore faith and confidence.
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN was not only beloved by the Republican Party but managed to gain the trust and respect of Democrats, too?an achievement that ultimately underscores his true impact as a leader. The actor-turned-politician is best remembered for bringing back a sense of hope to an American public dealing with an international hostage crisis and paralyzing economic inflation. The 40th president of the United States beat President Jimmy Carter in a landslide to take office in 1981 with Vice President George H.W. Bush. In 1984, the popular duo easily won a second term against Democratic challengers Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro.
Dubbed "The Great Communicator" for his ability to frame issues in bold rhetoric, Reagan's spirit and charismatic speeches captured the heart of the nation and revived the conservative movement. Major accomplishments during his eight-year tenure include ending the Cold War, overhauling the income tax code, and obtaining legislation to stimulate economic growth, curb inflation, and increase employment.
"Ronald Reagan accomplished so much in his life. People felt great interacting with [him]. Th at is a tremendous combination of skills."
?Scot Sellers, CEO, Archstone
"A reporter once asked Reagan how he could stand so much criticism. Reagan said, 'Let me tell you a story.' He told of two psychiatrists, both of whom started the day as chipper as could be. At the end of the day, the younger one was drained from the emotional stress of his patients' problems. The older one was as happy and energetic as he was at the beginning of the day. The younger psychiatrist asked him, 'How do you do it? How do you stay so upbeat when you have all these patients telling you these dark problems?' His older colleague replied, 'I never listen.'"
?Steven Greffenius, author of The Last Jeffersonian: Ronald Reagan's Dreams of America
Credit: Josue Evilla/AP Photos
Ultimate Takeaway: Failure is not an option?any goal can be accomplished with hard work and 100 percent commitment.
FIERCELY COMPETITIVE COACH Vince Lombardi had a genuine gift for turning the worst football teams into champions, thanks to a strict philosophy of discipline and hard work.
In 1958, Lombardi became head coach of the Green Bay Packers at age 45. The team had won only one game the previous year. Th ree years later, the Packers defeated the New York Giants 37-0 to win the NFL championship. When he retired in 1967, Lombardi had led the Packers to a whopping six division titles, five NFL championships, and two Super Bowl wins.
Sadly, Lombardi died of intestinal cancer in September 1970 at age 57. The next year, the beloved coach was inducted into the Hall of Fame and the Super Bowl trophy was renamed in his honor. Lombardi's unforgettable adages, including, "Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all-the-time thing," continue to echo in locker rooms across the country.
"He had the ability to inspire and motivate grown men to give all they had. According to Coach Lombardi, a team is not just 11 guys on the field. It's 11 guys committed to a sense of mutual respect and mutual accountability."
—Carl Greene, executive director, Philadelphia Housing Authority
"Lombardi was, in many ways, the first coach to transcend sports and become an iconic figure in other realms, especially business. He had the look of a father figure, a no-nonsense demeanor, a set of speeches and sayings that transcended football, and an unmatchable record. [Ironically], his most famous saying, 'Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing' was not his. It was first uttered by a 13-yearold actress in the John Wayne movie Trouble Along the Way."
—David Maraniss, associate editor, The Washington Post; Pulitzer Prize winning author of When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi
Credit: Josue Evilla/AP Photos
Ultimate Takeaway: Never give up hope, even when all odds are against you.
LANCE IS BACK with a vengeance. Th ree years after retiring, the cycling icon plans to compete in the 2009 Tour de France. Talk about drive. The 37-year-old beat testicular cancer and went on to win the iconic race a record seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005. Now, he plans to win his eighth. His declared motivation: "I have decided to return to professional cycling in order to raise awareness of the global cancer burden," Armstrong wrote in a September press statement. "Th is year alone, nearly 8 million people will die of cancer worldwide. Millions more will suffer in isolation, victims not only of the disease but of social stigma."
Regardless of whether he will pull off another win, Armstrong teaches us to believe in ourselves?even when the odds say otherwise. The cyclist was given a 65 percent to 85 percent chance of survival; his chances dropped to 50/50 and then to 40 percent when doctors discovered tumors on his brain. After surgery and chemotherapy, Armstrong was diagnosed cancer-free in 1997. France's Team Cofidis nonetheless didn't believe Armstrong could return to the sport and cancelled his contract. Armstrong signed with the U.S. Postal Services team and subsequently won seven Tour de France races.
Armstrong is revered as much for his cycling talent as he is for his commitment to fighting cancer. In 1997, he founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation for Cancer, now known as LiveStrong, which has raised more than $250 million to inspire and empower people affected by cancer. The now famous rubber yellow bracelets, sported by everyone from punky teens to suit-clad execs, prove one man really can make a difference.
"He has overcome great obstacles, leads by example, understands the importance of teamwork, and is always driving for greater successes."
—Bryce Blair, chairman and CEO, AvalonBay Communities
"Lance doesn't like fairy tales, either. He wants people to understand that while he survived, others don't. Th at his happy ending was a matter of good fortune and of fighting incredibly hard, and it wasn't a Disney story."
—Excerpt from an online chat with Sally Jenkins, sports columnist, The Washington Post; co-author of Armstrong's book, It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life