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Today's Marketing Cookie - Leaders Are Like Eagles
"Leaders are like eagles, they don't flock...you find them one at a time."
The photo for today's fortune was submitted by Laurie Vertuccio of Boston, Massachusetts. Laurie is a Marketing Manager at NxStage Medical, a leading medical device company that develops, manufactures and markets innovative products for the treatment of end-stage renal disease, and acute kidney failure. She is also the Executive Director for the SJV Memorial Ride for Cystic Fibrosis that raises money for the Cystic Fibrosis Center at Children's Hospital Boston. You should follow her on Twitter: @lvertuccio
Today's Marketing Cookie gives me pause.
Eagles live a solitary life. It's true. Some of the most difficult choices I have ever made as the president of a company, I've had to make alone. The eagle is a revered symbol in America and I for one, am glad that Benjamin Franklin was overruled about his idea of elevating the Turkey to such status. The eagle is a valiant creature for us to emulate and admire, often seen soaring effortlessly on the currents. A graceful, yet fierce predator and always with an eye on the entire landscape. The bald eagle in particular, is of course, the one I relate to the most - a beautiful creature that should be a sense of pride for all bald headed leaders everywhere!
However, flying alone, hunting alone and living alone, hardly seems like leading now does it? You may be one in a million, and look as handsome as an eagle, but without a flock, you're no leader. No, my experience of leadership, serving two terms as president of the American Marketing Association in Boston was much more like being a duck.
Yes, a duck.
A friend in Kentucky once told me that ducks fly in formation so they can gain a lift from the air stream of the front duck. That makes sense. I also heard once that ducks have one wing longer than the other, which is how they decide which side of the formation they choose. Who knows if that stuff about a duck's wing being short is true. It's probably not important... that was an ADD moment. sorry.
Getting back on point now - One important thing I learned about ducks is that the ones who are following the first duck, all quack in formation to keep their timing and to encourage their leader. Did you get that? That's correct. They encourage their leader. In fact, the front duck never quacks. It's those ducks in the back who quack. Yes. They encourage their leader, because he has the hardest job of navigating and creating a lift for his flock.
When the front duck gets tired, he moves to the back to quack, and another duck takes the lead. That's how it is in the AMA. When Steve Halling was president, I quacked for him. After he finished two terms, he moved to the back and quacked for me. While I was President, I had volunteers who encouraged me to provide a lift for the association. Then, after I grew weary, I quacked in the back for Amy Quigley, who navigated the chapter and will soon give the lead to Rick Littrell, and so on. It's been like that in Boston for 75 years. Each time a new leader takes over, he or she moves to the back, and quacks.
Eagles are beautiful, they are prestigiously bald and an appropriate symbol for America. However, I disagree with today's cookie. While there can only be one leader at a time, and although we may have one short wing, I believe the greatest leaders are ducks, not eagles... and it's because the best duck leaders have a flock of followers who encourage him to give them a lift.