40 Leadership Lessons from the Freedom Trail – #6

On the 31st August 2013, Lesley, my wife and soul-mate, retired after 35 years teaching in secondary schools. Two days later, as planned, we set off for a magical celebratory holiday, taking in New York, California and Oregon. Our trip became known as the ‘Freedom Trail’.

While on the Freedom Trail, I journalled every day and ended each entry with a leadership moment/lesson. Here’s another!

Grand Central Terminal#6 – Leaders have grand visions

A visit to New York City without visiting Grand Central Terminal is like going to the beach and not eating ice-cream. It is unthinkable!

The building is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, receiving 21.9 million visitors in 2013. Interesting that my wife and I were two of those millions of visitors that year. If you have never been you have missed a rare treat.

The outer façade is impressive, but the real spectacle is on show in the interior, especially the main concourse. When you see this, it is not hard to imagine why so many people visit the Grand Central Terminal.

The interior main concourse is vast. It seems to stretch for an eternity. It is multi-levelled and multi-faceted. It is built on a massive scale and yet contains much that is delicate and intricate. The ceiling, for example, is a work of art.

The Terminal contains everything the traveller might need. From boutiques to eating places, restrooms and quiet spaces. In amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday New York City frenetic energy and oases of tranquillity exist side-by-side. Like yin and yang, they complement rather than compete and offer a stunning opportunity for observing life ‘in the raw’.

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world. – Joel A. Barker

There is  so much to take in. Indeed, so much so that a guided tour, time permitting, is a must! In fact, make time for the guided tour. That way you will miss little of importance. Our guide was wonderful and transported us back to the heyday of America’s long-distance passenger rail network. Tales of the Vanderbilt’s and other great tycoons, and an illustrious list of TV shows and films featuring the building, further embellished our guide’s stories. He conjured up an almost forgotten age though the building remains a resolute reminder.

We left the Terminal remarking on those early pioneers of rail in America. Their vision and passion, foresight and perseverance, led to incredible wealth, some clearly channelled into this magnificent building. It remains an evocative symbol of those days and the people who made their vision a reality.

Leaders have grand visions … and make them happen!

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