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George Bradt
George Bradt
Offering a unique perspective on transformational leadership based on his combined senior line management, journalistic, and consulting experience. Founder of executive onboarding group PrimeGenesis, author of four books on onboarding and “The New Leader’s Playbook” weekly column on


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Leading by Example with Flames of Giving

Dec. 21, 2011 6:50 am
Categories: Leadership Skills
Keywords: None

We’re all leaders all the time. Everything we do, everything we say, everything we don’t do and don’t say communicates. We lead with our examples. Sari Gross’s Flames of Giving program is a classic example of leading by example.

Almost two decades ago. Sari was looking for ways to make her children more aware of and more connected with the community around them. She knew there were others in need. She wanted her children to understand “that people in need are everywhere and you can do something to make a difference.”

So she called some local agencies that connected her and her children with people in need. They wrote up “little flames” with information about the people in need and recruited their friends and neighbors to donate gifts. That year, they collected and distributed 40 gifts.

The next year, her children asked if they could do it again. And a movement began.

Now, 17 years later, people that Sari and her children don’t know call up and ask “When is the flames program starting. I want to go shopping.” This year they will give away about 1,000 gifts. The program takes over Sari’s life (and her house) from October to December.

This is a serious, big time model that anyone can follow.

Lessons for other leaders

Which other leaders? All of them. And this means you. You have ideas. You have thoughts about things that could make stronger connections between the people in your organization. You have ideas that can connect people in your community. What’s holding you back?

  • Focus your efforts on connecting people.
  • Get your ideas out of your head, off the piece of paper, and get started.
  • Give others guidance and structure and let them take it and run with it to multiply your impact.

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