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Essay: Inspirational Business Leader Research Paper – John D. Rockefeller

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September 24th, 2017

Inspirational Leader Research Paper

John D. Rockefeller

When you think of business leaders who have left their mark on our society not only for the success of their business but the type of person he or she was, Rockefeller would come to mind right away. An inspirational leader who is remembered like Rockefeller doesn’t get to that level by just having a profitable business. He had an impact on society in a positive way. According to 7 Non-Negotiables of Winning, it is the leadership’s “soft skills” that make you a great leader and someone that every respects. Respect, Belief, Trust, Loyalty, Commitment, Courage and Gratitude, if you don’t have one of these it will hurt your chances in becoming that person (Williams).

Rockefeller was a man who took his one little company, saw an opportunity and became the richest man in the world because he took that risk. I believe John Rockefeller”s biggest strength was that he cared about how the person operated within the work environment and how the person related to his workers and co-workers. What I mean by this is that he believed that a good worker is someone who is happy when at work.  He cared not only about the task at hand but also the people he was doing the task with. He always wanted them to feel comfortable asking him a question if there was something wrong, unlike some other places where if you ask questions you can get fired. In his book, The Personal Relations in Industry, he has many good examples of how people should treat other people. He states how a football team would never thrive without chemistry within the team or how a father should treat his son but I think his best example is one about a soldier. “In an army they train men to become perfect machines but in addition of being obedient and subject to discipline, the man who thinks, who is capable of acting on his judgment when occasions arise, who is bound to his fellow soldiers and his officers by personal friendliness, admiration and respect, is far more efficient soldier” (Rockefeller 11). This quote not only says that you can be this very strong, live by the rules person but you have to think on your own and use your own opinion sometimes to be a great worker and a great person to work with.  Another one of his strengths that go hand in hand with personal relationships is that he didn’t believe money was everything. When you become a rich man you can sometimes forget what got you there in the first place. “Once you focus on building a solid character and reputation of giving value, money will begin to follow you wherever you go” (leadershipgeeks). One thing that Rockefeller didn’t keep in wrap was following the laws against monopolistic practices. “He convinced many of his competitors that it was unprofitable to challenge him”. In 1911 the Supreme Court ruled that Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company violated antitrust laws and was forced to break up into 34 companies including BP and ExxonMobil (

When you look at the oil industry in the 1800s you don’t really see that many competitors for John Rockefeller. He owned 90% of America’s oil refining so his competitors were non-existent to him. I believe the people you have to compare him to are not people in the oil company but people who have run a monopoly in the past like he did. Usually, when a company is a monopoly or oligopoly they usually do it to benefit themselves and drive up the prices to profit more. That is the exact opposite of what Rockefeller believed in and that’s why he is looked at as such a great man. Even though he was rich he didn’t always follow the rules exactly. After 20 years in the oil business he still had the same goal “the best…at the lowest price”, he pushed the price down from 58 cents to eight cents a gallon. He wrote this to one of his partners “Let the good work go on. We must ever remember we are refining oil for the poor man and he must have it cheap and good” ( Rockefeller was this poor family and he wanted to help them in anyway he could.

Rockefeller was a man who was very religious and felt that his money should be used to help organizations to make a difference in the world. He even once said “God gave me money” but he was a philanthropist that took very high interest in changing people’s lives all across the world. From taking an interest in higher education for African Americans, giving to numerous universities, Baptist church, the civic life in NYC, the list goes on and on. “Throughout the first decade of the 20th century, Rockefeller was thinking seriously about founding a perpetual grant-making foundation. By 1909, he had given away $158 million of personal funds to various causes. That year he donated 73,000 shares of Standard Oil, worth $50 million, as a first installment to establish what would become the Rockefeller Foundation.” ( He wasn’t worried about personal gain, he knew that he was going to keep making millions but he wanted to be remembered as not only the richest man of all time but the richest man of all time who made a positive difference in the world we live in a century later.

Growing up in a family that was really into sports, I was always attracted towards them. I played almost any sport I could and learned them from my parents and brothers. They pushed me to be my best even if that meant my brothers beating me every game for years. However, I never gave up because I knew eventually I would be able to beat them if I kept persevering. I took these skills and used them throughout my entire life. In high school, I was the captain of all three of my varsity sports and was a two-year captain of my basketball team. My teammates and coaches respected me because I didn’t take my title and use it to my advantage and brag about it. I wanted to be their leader in the way I thought best and they knew I always had the right vision in everything I did. Rockefeller brought his company to where it was because he had a vision and was determined to get there no matter what. After college, I want to be one of two things; a college coach or a sports agent. I know it seems that it doesn’t have anything to do with Rockefeller but in my opinion there are many similarities. Rockefeller was a leader for his workers and the consumers of his product. He did that by giving them direction to make the best possible product for the least amount of money. As a college coach, you have to have your players in mind when you lead them so they can be the best possible team possible. If you don’t listen to them and help them when they need it, you will truly never have the relationship you need. Same thing goes for sports agents.  He/she has to have his clients’ best interest in mind when giving him advice or when trying to make deals for him or her.  The last similarity is one that is a big stretch but a big goal of mine. I want my name to be known across the country. I know it will never be like John D. Rockefeller; I don’t think that would ever be possible. With that said however, I want to make enough of a difference in enough people’s lives that people will know me from coast to coast. Whether that is going to be because I’m a great coach, successful agent, or huge charitable man, whatever it is, I want people to remember the name Daniel Lewis.

Works Cited

Folsom, Burton W. “John D. Rockefeller and the Oil Industry | Burton W. Folsom.” FEE,

Foundation for Economic Education, 1 Oct. 1988, Accessed 26 Sept. 2017.

Gordon, John Steele. “John Rockefeller Sr.” The Philanthropy Hall of Fame The Philanthropy

Roundtable, Accessed 26 Sept. 2017.

Michael. “John D Rockefeller – Leadership Profile.” Leadership Geeks, 24 May 2017, Accessed 26 Sept. 2017.

Rockefeller, John D. The Personal Relation in Industry. New York, 1917.

Williams, David K. “10 Influential American Business Leaders Today.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine,

3 Jan. 2017, Accessed 26 Sept. 2017.

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