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It’s not uncommon for bold leadership to influence others in reaching their greatest potential. Likewise, it’s also not uncommon for bold leadership to leave a lasting legacy for decades to come. Such is the case with John Pierpont Morgan, better known as JP Morgan. Though greatly misunderstood at times, Morgan was one of the nation’s most influential leaders of all time. Therefore, it’s of little surprise his name still appears on the country’s largest banking institution, JP Morgan Chase.

john pierpont morgan cartoon
John Pierpont Morgan and his bold leadership still resonates with our bold leaders today.

In examining Morgan’s leadership talents, it is apparent he exhibited many bold and courageous traits. From challenging the norm to acting ethically, to showing social responsibility, he was a true portrait of bold leadership. Such leadership not only influenced the elite of his era but continues to make an impact to this day. Within JP Morgan Chase’s leadership programs and beyond, Morgan’s bold leadership effects remain significant.

John Pierpont Morgan quoted
Complacency will never drive a business anywhere near the word ‘success’.

John Pierpont Morgan – A Leader Comfortable with Change

An important aspect of bold leadership involves being adaptable, embracing constant change, and challenging norms. From this perspective, Morgan certainly exhibited bold leadership. Perhaps this originated from his diverse education, which involved traveling to England, Germany, and Switzerland. Or from his early exposure to the ups and downs of the financial sector in his father’s banking enterprises. Regardless, this is a key trait that Morgan showcased throughout his career.

Adapting to change actually became Morgan’s calling card. As a powerful financier, he often rescued failing businesses by facilitating their reorganization and restructuring. This became known as “Morganization” out of respect for his talents in persistently achieving success through change. Morgan’s desire to promote efficiency and modernization required that he’d feel comfortable with change. He not only showed he was comfortable with it, but his bold leadership thrived in such situations.

bold leadership, jp morgan quoted
Moral responsibility was a huge piece of the pie in JP Morgan’s projects.

Bold Leadership with Ethics and Social Perspectives

When it came to approaching any banking deal or public offering, Morgan took his responsibilities seriously. He always sought to improve existing situations for the businesses that he overtook or sought to help. And despite being unable to please all, he also focused on trying to do the most good along the way. His core philosophy was that cutthroat competition undermined the nation’s ability to thrive. Instead, he believed the attainment of efficiency, modernization and prosperity were possible through consolidations. This ethical and socially responsible vision drove many of Morgan’s endeavors.

To appreciate his bold leadership, we should look at his notable social achievements. For example, his influence on the nation’s leaders’ decision to maintain the gold standard reflected his beliefs about societal securities. And his influence used in forcing banking and government collaborations to resolve the Panic of 1907 reflected similar efforts. Through bold leadership guided by ethical values and social concern, Morgan enhanced our nation’s well-being.

bold leadership, John pierpont morgan quoted
Character will fuel a business, not money.

Taking Risks and Learning from Failures

During the latter part of the nineteenth century and into the next, Morgan was a catalyst for change. Embracing Progressive Era ideals, he knew risks had to be taken to foster America’s success financially and otherwise. It’s therefore not surprising that he was responsible for some of the largest business consolidations ever known. Among these mergers included the formation of General Electric, U.S. Steel, and AT&T. Understandably, this bold leadership risks that he took earned him tremendous respect.

Of course, not all of Morgan’s endeavors were successful. Efforts to consolidate railroads companies failed due to political disfavor. There was resistance in Parliament during his pursuit to compete in London’s underground rail. And a few major investments, such as those involving a trans-Atlantic communication network, resulted in losses. But in each case, Morgan’s exhibited resolve while appreciating the opportunities to improve. This resilience is yet another bold leadership trait that he demonstrated throughout his life.

bold leadership, john d. rockefeller quoted
Not all successful financial figures were born moneyed. Some of them just believed in taking risks.

A Powerful Role Model, But a Humble Leader

At the time of his death, the estimate of Morgan’s net worth was a little over $100 million. Despite being one of the most powerful leaders during his time, he had not amassed tremendous wealth. This is especially true because many would label him one of America’s most powerful financiers. But Morgan was more concerned about positive influences than he was on material goods. And through his actions and words, he achieved this while remaining humble.

Morgan’s bold leadership traits continue to impact individuals today. This is most evident within JP Morgan Chase as the company embraces many of its founder’s leadership characteristics. For example, the JP Morgan Chase leadership development program utilizes influential role models and mentors. Similarly, it encourages learning for failures, taking educated risks, adapting to change, and behaving ethically and responsibly. Often, bold leadership makes an impact well beyond its immediate effects. And based on Morgan’s life and legacy, this can be well appreciated.

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