By Steve Moran

This is the start of a new series at Senior Living Foresight. I am constantly stressed that I can’t interview as many people as I would like. I borrowed this idea from a friend of New York Times writer Paula Span (with permission of course).

Paul Mullin is a well known senior living thought leader. He is the co-founding partner and principal of Flatiron Development Group. They partner and provide solutions to some of the nation’s most successful senior living developers, operators, and service providers.

1. What is the most important leadership lesson you have learned?

Lead from the front and don’t expect anyone to do something you would not do.

2. What has surprised you most about being a leader?

I’m always surprised by companies that are over-managed and under-led. All the right processes are followed but there is a vacuum of leadership to implement them and provide strategic thinking.

3. What is the best leadership advice anyone ever gave you?

I’m a Big Warren Bennis follower and had the privilege to meet and speak with him at USC before he died. One of his most memorable quotes or advice is:

“No leader sets out to be a leader. People set out to live their lives, expressing themselves fully. When that expression is of value, they become leaders. So the point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself, to use yourself completely – all your skills, gifts, and energies – in order to make your vision manifest. You must withhold nothing. You, must, in sum, become the person you started out to be and to enjoy the process of becoming.”

4. When you are faced with impossible challenges where do you find strength?

My faith in God and all the mentors that have impacted my life. I always ask what would they do?

5. If you were to compare yourself with a historical, movie, or storybook character as a metaphor for how you lead who would it be and why?

President Theodore Roosevelt — Persistence as exemplified by his famous quote that is at my desk:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Paul Mullin