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Big Shoes

Clarion Review (5 Stars)

In today’s volatile economic environment, the strategies offered in Big Shoes are more relevant than ever. The advice for finding success with a new company, with a new department, and in constantly changing market conditions is as timely as it is timeless.

Sander A. Flaum, the CEO of Flaum Partners and former chairman of the Euro RSCG Becker advertising agency, has a proven track record as a leader and corporate executive. He was named Man of the Year in the healthcare marketing industry in 2002.

Big Shoes is based on Flaum’s personal leadership philosophy and lessons learned from experience. It is intended to be a short playbook on succeeding in the role of a leader. Chapters follow the order of the leadership cycle, from the initial few months on the job, to engaging and motivating staff, growing the business and staying ahead of the competition, and finally, to succession planning.

Flaum, who co-authored The 100-Mile Walk, urges new leaders to make the most of their first 100 days in their new position. He cites as an example the changes President Obama implemented during his first few weeks in office. He tells leaders to do their homework and to “hit the ground running,” so that they can demonstrate tangible results to increasingly impatient stakeholders. “In today’s economy, if you haven’t done something, you’ve done nothing,” he writes. “So even while you’re formulating and executing your long-term plansÂ…you should be striving for ‘early wins’ on the job.” Although the book doesn’t present any new ideas for business, it hits its mark by targeting the areas that will help leaders succeed in the current business environment.

After surviving a decade of flagrant corporate greed, Flaum encourages leaders to apply their efforts to making their business and the world a better place. He relates numerous examples of leaders making a positive contribution. For example, former J.P. Morgan executive Jeff Flug quit his job and co-founded Millennium Promise, a non-profit group that helps Malawi villagers avoid famine and develop medical facilities. The book references other successful executives, including Jack Welch of GE, Meg Whitman of eBay, Steve Jobs of Apple, and Alan Mulally of Ford.

Also valuable are his discussions of building a memorable legacy through superior “A+” work and grooming future young leaders to continue the mission. Flaum even shows the importance of gaining perspective through “brainrest.”

To Flaum, wearing the big shoes means being a humble, innovative, and adaptive leader who guides his company to success and leaves a lasting legacy.

Written in true executive style, the message is direct, concise, and to the point. There’s a lot of practical wisdom packed into this small book, which makes it a handy guide for busy executives.