imgimgA Leader's Path

Imagine you are standing in Battery Park, on the southernmost tip of Manhattan. The city bustles around you, and on this clear morning you have stunning views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. History is beneath your feet: one of the oldest settlements in North America. From these early hubs, the western migration of settlers began. Soon, you will follow in their footsteps.

As you stand in the park, you are oblivious to the sounds of the city—the horns and sirens, the pulse of the metropolis. Gathered around you are 4,000 people from 40 countries. And your job is to lead this diverse group of people on a cross-country trip by foot over the next five years—from New York to Santa Monica on the Pacific shore, a distance of 2,500 miles by the most direct route. That is the vision, the destination of this organization.

On that early morning, you know that a solitary walker, putting in about 10 hours a day, could make it from New York to Los Angeles in about 90 days. However, you have been given five years (a typical tenure of a CEO) to reach Santa Monica, which means your team of 4,000 people will walk about an hour every day for the next half decade. As you ponder the enormity of leading 4,000 others on such a trek—physically moving them from here to there—you ...

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