Thoughts + Articles

Reaching for the Gold in Leadership

How do you develop people in your company? How do you help your students to want to learn?

A reporter asked the great American industrialist, Andrew Carnegie “how he managed to hire 43 millionaires?”

Mr. Carnegie responded “ that none of them were millionaires when I hired them.” When asked how he developed them he said, “You develop millionaires the way you mine gold.  You expect to move tons of dirt to find an ounce of gold, but you don’t go into the mine looking for the dirt—you go in looking for the gold.”

Andrew Carnegie knew how to select his winning team. Zig Ziglar says you need to, “Be a good finder” and Mr. Carnegie was a “good finder”.

Mr. Carnegie wrote in his Autobiography “The development of my material success in life can not be attributed to what I have known or done myself, but to the faculty of knowing and choosing others who know better than myself.”

What are the 3 ways Andrew Carnegie hired his team members?

1) He chose experts in the steel business.

2) He embraced diversity for his team members selecting people on their skills, personalities, business experience, and believed if you had the expertise he was looking for that your age or gender didn’t matter. Mr. Carnegie wanted the best members for his team.

3) Mr. Carnegie was willing to “learn and listen” to the people he was leading.

Andrew Carnegie said, “I did not understand steam machinery, but I tried to understand that much more complicated piece of mechanism- man.” He also said, “As I grow older I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”

Throughout his life he was “an avid reader”. As a young bookkeeper, he was invited on Saturdays to go to private libraries of well-off citizens to read and learn from their collections. Once he had achieved success, he gave back by assisting in the building of “three thousand libraries” for young people to have appropriate books to read.

Carnegie-Mellon University was built by Andrew Carnegie, as was Carnegie Hall in New York City, the most famous concert hall in the United States. He also donated over $350 million dollars to his public foundations, and awarded grants annually “to benefit the public”. His foundations continue to give to worthy recipients each year. In 1999, his Carnegie Corporation of New York was valued at over $1.55 billion even after grants had been given of “millions of dollars” continually.

In the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus”, Richard Dreyfuss plays Glenn Holland, a musician and composer who takes’ a job as a high school orchestra teacher to support his family. His dream was to write a great symphony. Over the course of 30 years, Mr. Holland evolves into a caring, compassionate teacher who inspired, motivated, and encouraged his students to “love learning”. He worked diligently with them and was willing to go the extra mile to make a difference. Mr. Holland was determined to educate his students and have them grow into fine young men and women who would be able to study, work hard, and think clearly to reach their goals for their futures.

In his 30th year of teaching at the high school, the music program is being phased out, and Mr. Holland will no longer have a job. As he’s getting ready to leave the school for the last time, he hears sounds coming from the auditorium. When he goes into the auditorium he sees his former students on stage with their instruments getting ready to play the music on their stands. Sitting in the filled auditorium are his wife, son, fellow teachers, and more former students he has helped to educate over the years. He is asked to take the baton and conduct his symphony for the concert.

Mr. Holland’s “true symphonic masterpieces” were all his former students that he shaped and groomed over the years to be fine young men and women who would go on to reach their goals and help others reach them, just as Mr. Holland taught them to do!

What 3 things did Mr. Holland teach his students that benefited them through their life’s journey?

1) He taught his students the joy of learning by making it fun and exciting to learn. He showed them with a positive attitude how to focus and concentrate on the work and how to enjoy working with others. He taught them using “the Learning by Example” approach.

2) He taught his students by encouraging, motivating, and inspiring them to do their best work. He was always kind, patient, and compassionate with each student and they knew he cared about them and believed in them. He removed roadblocks from their path and made each of his students believe in themselves. He was always willing to spend the extra time explaining a difficult concept until the student understood the material, giving them self-esteem and self worth.

3) He taught his students to never give up and how to work step-by-step to do their very best work and to be able to think clearly and concisely.

So what three things should you do to develop your winning team at your company or school like Andrew Carnegie and Glenn Holland?

1)  Throughout his life Andrew Carnegie was “an avid reader”. Never stop learning and always continue to develop your mind by studying and reading to gain new knowledge every day.

2)  Glenn Holland showed compassion and dedication to helping his students understand the material by explaining it step- by-step in a clear and concise manner. Jackie Robinson said: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

3)  Andrew Carnegie developed his team members by mining the gold in each of them. Glenn Holland like Andrew Carnegie developed his students by mining the gold in each of them.

Benjamin Franklin asked himself each morning “What good shall I do today?” And before he went to sleep at night he would ask himself “What good have I done today?”

You should ask yourself these two questions each morning and evening. In leading your team at work or teaching your students, be willing to help them reach for the gold inside of them.


Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM, John Maxwell Team Member, and Certified World Class Speaking Coach is an Best Selling Author, sought after speaker, business owner, teacher, researcher, and concert artist. She helps businesses and organizations “Tune Up their Businesses”. Her innovative observations show you the blue prints necessary to improve and keep your businesses successful. She writes a monthly newsletter “Madeline’s Monthly Article & Musical Tips Blog” and a monthly radio show “Madeline’s One Minute Musical Radio Show”. She has just published her new book “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” available in print or as an e-book. To contact Madeline for your next speaking engagement:




This entry was posted on Friday, May 15th, 2015 at 1:12 am and is filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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