It was an absolute privilege to be part of the amazing scenes on Friday when thousands of people gathered in Endcliffe Park in Sheffield, along with millions watching on BBC TV, to see the fly past by the US Airforce to honour the memory of the 10 American airmen who sacrificed their own lives to save others crashing their plane in 1944.
It all happened because of one man – 82 year old Sheffielder Tony Foulds saw the plane called Mi Amigo crash while he was playing with friends in the park as a young 8 year old child. Tony learned the aircraft had been attempting a crash landing in the park – the only green space for miles – but diverted course for fear of harming him and his friends.
Tony’s passion, dedication, persistence and vision provide some great lessons in leadership for all of us.
Lesson 1: Get That Vision Thing!
3D Leaders establish a clear picture of the future that ‘stimulates, excites and inspires’, and it was clear that Tony had this. For years he has tended to the memorial for the US airmen in Endcliffe Park, and has held a burning desire to do something to commemorate the 75th anniversary of it happening, and that was a flypast. Keeping your ‘vision’ alive is also a key characteristic of the best leaders and Tony has definitely done that. His desire resulted in the epic flyby on Thursday that had the support of the US Air Force, the BBC, Sheffield Council and it’s clear that Tony’s ‘vision’ stimulated, excited and inspired thousands, if not millions, of people around the world.
Do you have a vision and picture of the future that ‘stimulates, excites and inspires’?
Lesson 2: Share That Vision!
Anyone that met Tony dutifully looking after the memorial would hear him talking about his wish to have a full blown memorial service on the 75th anniversary of the tragic events. One of the people he shared it with was BBC Breakfast TV presenter Dan Walker who was walking his dog one Sunday morning. Not knowing who Dan was, Tony explained what he was up to and about his ‘vision’. Luckily for him, he was sharing his vision with someone who had the ability to turn it into a reality. 3D Leaders share their vision in a way that stimulates, excites and inspires others and they focus on the ‘destination’, and engage others to help them achieve it!
Who have you shared / should you share your vision with?
Lesson 3: ‘Get Engaged’!
3D Leaders get ‘buy in’ to their vision and they don’t leave it just to their people. They engage their suppliers, advisors, friends, family and customers – anyone, and everyone who can help them achieve their goals. Dan certainly ‘bought in’, and he was so moved by Tony’s passion and commitment that he promised to do something about it, and using his contacts and position of influence he did. The moving video of Tony being surprised live on BBC television by the US Air Force Commander telling him the fly past was on is definitely worth a watch (Hankies at the ready please!).
How are you ‘engaging’ others to help you achieve your vision?
Lesson 4: Maximise ‘Connectivity’!
In today’s connected world, good news spreads far and wide and sharing your vision with your contacts can prove to create real benefits as it can be spread so quickly and so far… provided of course, that it ‘stimulates, excites and inspires’ them. Tony’s vision clearly did and the result was the fantastic event on Friday. Here’s what it looked like…
How are you maximising ‘connectivity’ to get your vision ‘out there’?
Lesson 5: Leadership At Every Level’!
As an 85 year old man, Tony demonstrated that leadership is not limited to high flying dynamic entrepreneurs and business people. It can, and does happen at every level and ANYONE can be a leader.
How are you creating leadership at every level of your business?
We’re now hearing that there is a campaign to get Tony’s brilliant efforts recognised – you can sign the petition calling for Tony to receive an MBE here.