The Four Foundations of a Great Personal Life, Great Leadership, and a Great Organization (PDF File of PowerPoint and Keynote Slides)

123 Pages Posted: 28 May 2014 Last revised: 7 Jul 2015

Werner Erhard


Michael C. Jensen

Social Science Electronic Publishing (SSEP), Inc.; Harvard Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: May 22, 2014


We argue here that the four factors we identify as constituting the foundation for being a leader and the effective exercise of leadership can also be seen as the foundations not only for great leadership, but also for a high quality personal life and an extraordinary organization. One can see this as a “value free” approach to values because, 1) authenticity is a purely positive phenomenon (being and acting consistent with who you hold yourself out to be for others and who you hold yourself to be for yourself), 2) being cause in the matter as a declaration of the stand you take for yourself regarding everything in your life is a purely positive phenomenon, 3) being committed to something bigger than oneself is also a purely positive phenomenon (that says nothing about what that commitment should be other than it be bigger than oneself), and 4) integrity as we define it (being whole and complete) is a purely positive phenomenon.

Background: This address is based on our leadership research program (conducted with Steve Zaffron, Kari Granger and Jeri Echeverria over the last eleven years). That research is designed to discover what it actually takes to create leaders – that is, to leave participants at the end of the course being leaders and effectively exercising leadership as their natural self expression.

Access to the full set of course materials including the Slide-Deck Textbook and other course materials for the most current Leadership Course can be found at:
Course Materials for: Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership - An Ontological/Phenomenological Model (by Erhard, Jensen, Zaffron and Granger) 1263835.

Keywords: Ethics, morality, workability

Suggested Citation

Erhard, Werner and Jensen, Michael C., The Four Foundations of a Great Personal Life, Great Leadership, and a Great Organization (PDF File of PowerPoint and Keynote Slides) (May 22, 2014). Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 11-122; Barbados Group Working Paper No. 11-04. Available at SSRN: or

Michael C. Jensen (Contact Author)

Social Science Electronic Publishing (SSEP), Inc. ( email )

7858 Sanderling Road
Sarasota, FL 34242
United States
617-510-3363 (Phone)
305 675-3166 (Fax)


Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field
Negotiations, Organizations & Markets
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-510-3363 (Phone)
305-675-3166 (Fax)


National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

B-1050 Brussels

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