40 Leadership Lessons from the Freedom Trail – #18

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 journaled every day and ended each entry with a leadership moment/lesson. Here’s another!

A shop in HealdsburgLeaders have deep-rooted values

Heading towards an overnight stop at Fort Bragg, we drove up through throngs of vineyards in the Sonoma Valley and stopped over en route in Healdsburg and Ferndale.

They were both delightful towns and appeared very much like my idea of Middle America.

The sun shone all day and in Healdsburg, we delighted in wandering in and out of stores, comparing what was on sale with what we might expect back home in the UK. It was a fascinating experience. Everywhere in Healdsburg appeared neat, tidy and orderly.

Everywhere in Healdsburg appeared neat, tidy and orderly. I noticed several posters of city ordinances and politeness and courtesy were the order of the day. An air of calm maturity and sophistication overlaid the town.

I finally found what i was looking when I spotted a barber’s pole. Heading inside, there were two men waiting in line. I thought that would be fine, so Les and I settled down to wait. Boy, were we in for a surprise?

Some 45 minutes later, I had my haircut. I guessed the barber had been trained by the military. His tools and equipment, lotions and potions were laid out in a regimented fashion.  He was polite and courteous and engaged me in conversation as to where I was from. He was slow, deliberate and methodical.  I had a great haircut, but it cost me $21, the most expensive haircut I’ve had in many years.

House in FerndaleMoving on from Healdsburg, we took a walk around Ferndale. This was a lovely town too, with lots of great architecture, much of it wooden in construction. Walking down the main street, I felt I had stepped back into

Walking down the main street, I felt I had stepped back into the 1960’s. In mid-afternoon, the town was quiet and peaceful. My guess was that it was like this pretty much most of the time.

It had the feeling of a place of deep roots, and strong community values like Healdsburg. A strong patriotic spirit was evident in the many US flags on show, in houses as well as in shops. Just strolling around was a pleasure, the sun slowly sinking behind us.

Though we didn’t stay long in either town, we very much enjoyed our visits. It left me with a sense of solid dependability, of strong social care and concern, and of a powerful way of life that has existed for many years.

Reflecting later in the day in our motel at Fort Bragg, I thought that, like the evident community values apparent in both towns, leaders too have deep-rooted values which provide a solid anchor in times of trouble or distress. Values shared bind people to you as a leader, as clearly they did in both towns.

[Tweet “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. – Dwight D Eisenhower”]

As always, I welcome your comments and meaningful dialogue. I am always happy to listen and ready to help. I wish you an entertaining and enlightening experience of this series of posts. Thank you for reading.

Leaders have deep-rooted values which provide a solid anchor in times of trouble or distress.

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