Sixty-five-year-old Sander A. Flaum, and his 35-year-old son, Jonathon A Flaum, embarked on a six-month-long, 100-mile walk in their quest to find the essence of leadership.
Their journey took them down the streets of New York and New Orleans, through the Blue Ridge Mountains, and along the Long Island coast.
Together, they talked about their experiences, their outlook on life and work, the achievements of leaders they have known, and how each views the nature and purpose of leadership.
“Each generation leads in its own way. But to progress together, they must find ways to bridge the divide between their perspectives,” explain father and son.
Ultimately, the two men agreed on the following nine key traits and practices essential to all leaders.
- People. Have the self-esteem to hire people as smart or smarter than you are, and who will not only respond to your pushing, but will also push back.
- Purpose. Clearly define your vision for your people, and shape all decisions around that objective.
- Passion. Do the job like it’s never been done before.
- Performance. In a culture of incessant “multitasking,” remember the importance of focus and flawless execution—one A+ outcome at a time.
- Persistence. Success means “no” is only for today; fight for a “yes” tomorrow. It takes total conviction that It Can Be Done.
- Perspective. Check out the internal environment daily. When someone needs a pat on the back, give it. The payback is immeasurable.
- Paranoia. Assume your competitors are gunning for you. Do whatever is necessary to keep your competitive edge. Conversely, you can escape the grip of paranoia by accepting competition as a natural outcome of capitalism, to be approached creatively, not combatively.
- Principles. “The real work of leadership,” credibility and ethics must be drivers of your everyday actions. If they are only vague statements unrelated to your “real work,” you are not a real leader. Do the right thing all the time, not just when it’s convenient, and people will flock to you.
- Practice. Real leaders continuously work at their craft, and they love to practice just as artists, athletes, and musicians do. Practice the nine Ps daily, and live your principles, until what you do is what you are!
The father and son’s new book, The 100-Mile Walk, is now available in bookstores and online.
Sander A. Flaum works in healthcare marketing and was named Man of the Year for the industry in 2002. Now CEO of Flaum Partners, he is former chairman of the advertising agency network Euro RSCG Life and founder of the Leadership Forum at Fordham Graduate School of Business. He has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, Bloomberg, and other TV networks.
Sander received his undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University followed by an MBA degree (magna cum laude) from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Jonathon A. Flaum is a speechwriter and coach for leaders.