J. Kale Flagg serves as General Partner of the American Development Fund, a respected real-estate investment group. At the age of 24, J. Kale Flagg earned the position of National Marketing Director at a direct-sales firm that grossed over $200 million in sales yearly. With a deep resume that goes back two decades in the fields of real estate, travel, marketing and medical operations, J. Kale Flagg has seen companies come and go and has learned a lot about the qualities of leadership in the process. J. Kale Flagg currently serves as Chief Operating Officer of Von Vesting Inc. and Array Asset Management, and is a graduate of Yale University. In this brief Q&A, J. Kale Flagg talks about decisions and consequences.
Q: What are the qualities that make someone a leader?
J. Kale Flagg: Leadership is a burden for many, but a true leader sees the opportunity to help frame and shape another person’s direction and destiny as both an honor and a responsibility. For me, that’s well worth the trouble and effort.
Q: Can you break that down a little?
J. Kale Flagg: Absolutely. You have to be willing to put in the hard work, put in time (however long it takes), and take the actions needed to hit goals. Become a role model—do exactly what you want your employees and staff to be—approachable, accountable, motivated and consistent. Knowledge is important, of course, but without action and execution, knowledge by itself is useless.
Q: What about the individual, though?
J. Kale Flagg: Some people tend to think that only “special” people can become leaders and achievers, that our lives are predetermined; I think that’s a lazy way of thinking.
Q: Some people might say that sounds pretty harsh.
J. Kale Flagg: Not really, just think about it. Every person is responsible for his own direction; it’s in his or her hands, and no one else’s. Self-recrimination or regret over missed opportunities or failures is such a waste; pick yourself up and figure out the next move, because one of the greatest things about life is that the past doesn’t dictate the future.
Q: How do those ideas about leadership translate to the individual?
J. Kale Flagg: They carry over in the courage to take charge of our own lives, rather than waiting for someone else’s permission or approval. Anything any of us do, there are always going to be detractors or those who disagree.
J. Kale Flagg: If that’s multiplied by a lack of confidence or indecision, that’s a sure-fire way to never get out of your own way and never get anything positive done.
Q: What would you leave us with, in all this?
J. Kale Flagg: Your success or failure is completely in your own hands. Accountability is only yours and no one else’s – those are the choices that make us into the people that we are.