I’ve got two short stories for you today.
“Easy Eddie” was the lawyer for the famous Chicago Gangster, Al Capone. It was his job to keep him out of gaol for all his notorious activities from bootlegging booze, prostitution and murder. Eddie did his job very well and ensured Mr Capone was a free man for a very long time. And, as a result, Al Capone rewarded him very handsomely.
Eddie lived the high life, with money being no object. Al Capone was also rumoured to have also provided him and his family a fenced estate that filled an entire Chicago City block! Life was good for Eddie, but the means by which he’d earnt it wasn’t sitting “easy” with him – he knew that he wasn’t a good role model for his son. Though Eddie could give his son practically anything he wanted, he knew that he could never give him 2 things – a good name and a good example.
So one day, Eddie made an extremely difficult decision – he would testify against the Mob – he would tell the truth about Al Capone’s affairs. He wanted to clean up his name and offer his son some semblance of integrity while he still could.
Easy Eddies life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago street but in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest
price he would ever pay.
Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier, Lexington, in the South Pacific.
One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He wouldn’t have enough fuel to complete his mission and return to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier.
Reluctantly, Butch dropped out of formation and headed home. As he was returning, he saw something that made his blood turn to ice. A squadron of Japanese aircraft was closing in fast on the American fleet, undetected.
The American fighters were away, and the fleet was all but defenceless. He couldn’t reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. It was up to him to somehow divert the Japanese from the fleet.
Disregarding personal safety, he dove into the formation of the Japanese. Wing-mounted 50 caliber’s blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault, diving at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly.
Finally, the Japanese squadron diverted their course away from the Americans and a greatly relieved Butch O’Hare flew his battered fighter back to the mother ship. Upon arrival he reported in and told of his return flight.
The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane showed the extent of Butch’s actions to protect his fleet. He had destroyed five enemy aircraft.
This took place on February 20,1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy’s first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honour. A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O’Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.
So what do these two stories have to do with each other?
Butch O’Hare was Easy Eddie’s son. That’s a picture of them above.
Our values make the people around us know what we stand for.
Butch O’Hare was left in no doubt as to how highly his father valued Integrity and self-sacrifice for the good of others, by his example to his son, and this had a lasting impact on the way Butch lived his life. A great testament to Easy Eddie.
My values are the FLITU Principle: Family. Loyalty. Integrity. Trust. Unity.
In this blog today, I want to focus on Family.
We’re all obviously born into a family, but “Family”, in the FLITU Principle extends beyond your natural family. The word “Family” can be used metaphorically to create more inclusive categories such as Community, Nationhood, Global Village and Humanism. (Wikipedia)
You can never build anything great on your own. The people closest to you, i.e. your “family”, will determine the success you achieve in your life. Ultimately you will duplicate the people you surround yourself with.
When the heart and spirit of a human being is aligned and connected, great things can happen. When it comes to your Family and your Extended Family – which is the people you spend time with in your life day in day out – loyalty, empathy, love and respect for each other will be key ingredients to self-actualise and achieve the goals and vision you as the leader has for the team you Lead.
Whatever you as the leader does, the team you lead will duplicate. Just like Easy Eddie.
What are you duplicating?
The people you surround yourself with that are loyal and sold out to you as the leader must know what you believe in and what your Core Values are and what you stand for.
Does the team you lead know what you stand for?
Does the team you lead stand with you?
Leadership is a responsibility and when you look at families today, parents have a great responsibility to lead their children and Leaders have a great responsibility to lead their teams – their “Family”.
How a Leader lives their life is how the team you lead will live their life. Everything duplicates good and bad.
How are you currently living your life?
If there is one thing you would change in relation to the way you live your life, what would it be?
Culture is Leadership. Good Culture, good Leadership. Bad Culture, bad Leadership.
When it comes to Family, the Values and Core Principles of the Leader will drive the Culture of that Family, whether it is the Family you were born into, your new Family as parents or the people you spend every day with.
Do the people you surround yourself with know what your values are?
The FLITU Principle is who I am and what I live day in day out that I bring into my own personal family life, my three businesses that I lead and build, and my corporate and sporting clients lives that I have had the privilege to be part of over the last 11 years.
Do you truly know what you stand for – what is unacceptable to you?
Family is everything to me as a Leader, beginning with my own family that I was born into and the family I have nurtured over the last 32 years.
My wife and I have just celebrated 29 years in marriage. The Values that I stand for – FLITU, have helped us reach this point in our marital life, but as a result of these FLITU Principles, it has duplicated into many other family areas that exist in my life today.
Our Staff are family to us. Our Clients are family to us.
The “F” for FLITU is the beginning of what I stand for.
When you are able as a Leader to create the heart and spirit of a loyal and united family, nothing will stop you from achieving your Vision.
What can you do better to instil your Values as the Leader into the different families you surround yourself with?
Do the people you surround yourself with know what your personal values are?
How can you live your values better which will increase your leadership effectiveness?
The FLITU Principle begins with developing a united family in all areas of my personal life.
Do you have Unity?
Do you have Respect?
Do you have Trust?
Do you have Love?
Do you have Loyalty?
When you live your life knowing what your values are, the people that you surround yourself with see the authenticity of your Leadership and trust will grow under your Leadership.
What can you do more effectively to grow your values within your family units?
Thank you for taking the time to read my article.
I trust my articles can play a part in helping you grow your Leadership strength to live a better life!
I talk further about the importance of values in my book, “The Dream Is Everything”.
If you’d like to receive a FREE e-copy, (RRP $24.95), click here.
Some other articles I’ve written on this topic (or similar ones) are: