Milton Hershey

Milton Hershey was not the type of person that anyone would have viewed as a leader, or shrewd businessman. Being born into a rather poor lower class family, he was not very well educated. The one thing that we do know for sure though, is that leaders are not born, they are made. This is exactly the case of Milton Hershey, and because of his undying determination to succeed, he became one of the greatest success stories of all time.


What factors or events made the person a leader?
For Milton Hershey, he was the type of person that not a lot of people expected a whole lot out of. He was your typical small town boy, and although he had very little growing up, he learned to be happy with what he was given. Although Milton Hershey, did grow to be an amazing businessman, he had almost no formal schooling or education after being thirteen years of age. He left school to work, and also to help take care with his mother. It was while Milton was growing up, that his father (Henry) left his mother. In many ways, it was Henry, Miltons father, who inspired him to be the type of leader he was, and to never give up, no matter how many times he failed. While Milton was still growing up, Henry tried getting in on the oil business that was going on at the time. While he did learn a lot from the experience, he walked away empty handed. The problem that Milton could see with his father, was that he was bursting full of ideas, but he had no money, and was growing older as time went on.

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It was this sense of determination and entrepreneurship that was about to make Milton a lot of money. Milton actually started off with his first candy store in a little shop in Philadelphia. It cost him $150 to get it up and running, and he ended up failing miserably in it. After this, he tried starting another candy business in New York City. This as well failed. It wasnt until Milton started dealing with caramel, that he really started seeing results back on his business that he was getting from customers. The thing that really eneded up striking gold for him as we all know was the chocolate industry. He took a big risk in getting into too, considering that he sold his fairly profitable caramel candy store to pursue finding a way to distribute chocolate cheaper and easier to lots of lower class people.


What was their leadership based on?
Milton Hersheys leadership style was based on never giving up, and his determination to succeed at all costs. He also wasnt afraid to take his dreams seriously. He learned not to give up from his father, who had failed in many things, but was always willing to try something new. This is what ultimately led Milton to fail in business five different times before he finally succeeded in the candy industry.


What specific acts impacted their people?
Milton Hershey affected the people that he worked with in a big way, in the sense that he wasnt afraid, or too good to get down on their level and help them out. Although, this obviously became more impossible as his business got bigger, he still did everything he could to help out his employees and their families. One example of this was when he founded an education system. Even during the Great Depression, he would get rid of work machines such as tractors and replace them with 50 men who he knew needed a job. This was the type of man people saw him as.


What rules did the person use and reflect upon?
The one big basic rule that Milton Hershey obviously lived by, was to never give up. He realized that no matter what position he was in life, he could always make it better. Knowing this, and applying it to his life, made him one of the greatest leaders and entrepreneurs of the early 21st century. Another tactic that he was known for using as well, was that he wasnt afraid to get down in the ditches with his employees and help out with the work if it was needed.


What can I take from their lives that I can use to become a leader?
After watching the video on Milton Hershey, I felt almost overwhelmed at his ability to look on the bright side of things, and never give up. This is something that I feel I am pretty good, at, but its encouraging sometimes to hear and see the success stories of other people who have done the same thing. If anything, this reminds me that no matter what it is that I choose to do in life, to never give up at it. Always have a determination to succeed at all costs and you will. You cant let people tell you it wont happen, or to stop dreaming, because its the people with the shattered dreams and the people who already gave up who are telling you that. I cant ever let their lives become mine, because I have too much to live for to be normal.

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