The 100-Mile Walk: A Father and Son on a Quest to Find the Essence of Leadership / Edition 1

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Overview

Each leader has his or her own beliefs, perspectives, experiences, and style. Perhaps nowhere are the differences more pronounced than between leaders of different generations. As they try to work together toward common goals, their divergent approaches often carry them miles away from one another and from desired outcomes.

But there is more common ground than most leaders realize. Finding it may involve a bit of a journey—in Sander and Jonathon Flaum’s case, it was a literal one. In search of the universal qualities of leadership, the father and son found themselves having their most enlightening discussions not in an office or boardroom, but while walking together. Over mountains and along beaches, up and down city streets and country roads they went, for six months, until they had covered 100 miles—and perhaps learned as much about each other and their relationship as they did about the essence of leadership.

So, what sort of definition of leadership do you get when you meld the perspectives of a 65-year-old traditional CEO with those of his son, a 36-year-old entrepreneur who is a student of Zen? The 100-Mile Walk recounts the authors’ trek and sets out their newfound knowledge in the form of nine points on which every leader (and aspiring leader) must focus:

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, the elder Flaum advises. Do whatever is necessary to keep your competitive edge. Conversely, says the son, 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 challenge of leadership is timeless. As it turns out, so are its several solutions. As the realm of the contemporary leader grows ever wider and more complex, the nine points identified in The 100-Mile Walk will continue to resonate with leaders of every type and generation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“I recommend this book to those who have more than a passing curiosity about leadership.

-Asheville Citizen Times

BizEd magazine
"[The book] is both thoughtful and charming as they deconstruct what a leader must know about people, purpose, passion, performance and other leadership practices...As business adapts its paradigm to accommodate a changing workforce, books like this will help managers find their way."
Asheville Citizen-Times
A unique and sometimes provocative analysis that is enlightening and entertaining. I recommend this book to those who have more than a passing curiosity about leadership.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Two Generations Of Leadership
Co-author Sander Flaum acknowledges early in The 100-Mile Walk that there are 250 books on leadership written every year. So why is this one different?

It is different because its purpose is to compare and contrast very different perspectives: that of a 65-year-old CEO (Sander) with that of a 36-year-old CEO (Jonathon) who happen to be father and son. The two embark on a walk of 100 miles within six months to discover, discuss and debate what each believes about leadership.

The Nine Ps of Leadership
Sander Flaum developed a list of nine key leadership practices using wisdom from participants at the Fordham Leadership Forum, his experience as a CEO and college instructor and insights from his son. These "Nine Ps of Leadership" form the basis for the book: People, Purpose, Passion, Performance, Persistence, Perspective, Paranoia, Principles and Practice.

Each chapter of the book covers one leadership practice in detail. Sander illustrates the various aspects of leadership by telling stories about his own experiences and those of other leaders he knows. Jonathon, a Zen Buddhist, often uses Zen-based philosophical tales to make his points. The contrasting styles make for engaging reading.

People, Purpose and Passion
As the authors begin their walk in New Orleans, they discuss People-related leadership skills. Sander stresses the concept of hiring people you would follow. Jonathon says to spot a leader, he looks for actions, not titles. They agree that leaders must be willing to teach people all the time, work to motivate them and trust their gut instincts.

A walk through Central Park is the backdrop for a discussion of Purpose. Sander remarks that many times it's more important to know the right questions than the right answers. Jon's Zen-based approach is that you do not pick your purpose as much as it picks you.

At Ohio State University, Sander's alma mater, the authors witness the Passion of a football game. They recognize together that passion is "a leader's lifeblood." Doing what you love, they say, is an important part of achieving personal satisfaction and success.

Walking Through Leadership
Continuing their journey, hundreds of yards of stone walls in the mountains of North Carolina aptly symbolize Persistence. Jon observes that the shapes of the stones themselves determined their best place to fit in the landscape. In the end, he says, we do not build projects; projects build us. Moving north to Bear Mountain, New York, Perspective is the topic. Here, the two authors diverge. Sander holds the view that the younger generation's insistence on work-life balance could lead to a leadership crisis. Jon feels an either/or model is unreasonable.

Back in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sander and Jon find that basic Principles include credibility, integrity, vulnerability, accountability and steadfastness. They agree that principles must be actively practiced and constantly considered. Their walk concludes with a consideration of Practice. This, father and son agree, is the core of leadership. Practice means living and working as though there were no beginning, middle or end to a goal.

The 100-Mile Walk includes an addendum: "The tenth P – Providence." Despite plans and actions, sometimes things happen. The mark of a great leader is the ability to accept providence and adapt.

Why We Like This Book
The 100-Mile Walk weaves together pertinent stories about leaders the authors know with leadership philosophy in a unique framework. The "walk" allows both authors to consider the nine practices that anchor the book; they share their individual perspectives with us in two distinct voices. The result is a spiritual book on leadership that is authoritative yet personal, and educational yet inspiring. Copyright © 2006 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814408636
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 1/10/2006
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Sander A. Flaum (New York, NY), an expert in healthcare marketing, 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. Jonathon A. Flaum (Asheville, NC) is a speechwriter and coach for leaders and founder/CEO of WriteMind Communications.

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Table of Contents

CONTENTS

F O R E W O R D

The Leadership Enigma, by John Glenn vii

A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S xi

P R O L O G U E

Walking the Rocky Road 1

C H A P T E R 1

People: When Ideas Lead, People Follow 22

C H A P T E R 2

Purpose: Before You Set Sail, Know Your Direction 52

C H A P T E R 3

Passion: A Fire That Warms 75

C H A P T E R 4

Performance: Results Don’t Lie 95

C H A P T E R 5

Persistence: ‘‘No’’ Is Only for Today 111

C H A P T E R 6

Perspective: The Seeing Is in the Doing 137

C H A P T E R 7

Paranoia: Never Take Your Eye off the Ball 156

C H A P T E R 8

Principles: A Leader’s Cornerstone 174

C H A P T E R 9

Practice: It Never Stops 197

C H A P T E R 1 0

Coda: The Tenth P—Providence 206

E P I L O G U E

What We Know Now That We Didn’t Know Then 211

A P P E N D I X A

Resources 215

A P P E N D I X B

About the Leaders Discussed in This Book 219

I N D E X 245

About the Authors 253

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