PCB007 Magazine

PCB007-Aug2020

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62 PCB007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2020 Introduction Countless books have been written about the great leaders throughout history who have served as role models for generations of busi- ness executives. But what about the lessons that can be learned from the names you won't typically find in the business section of your local bookstore? Much can be learned from them, too. In this column, I discuss leadership lessons I learned from Sonny Barger (Figure 1). Background For over 50 years, Ralph Hubert "Sonny" Barger presided over one of the most violent and successful operations in organized crime history: the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC). Born on October 8, 1938, Barger's mother left him with his alcoholic father and older sister when he was just four months old. His violent tendencies surfaced early with sev- eral school suspensions for assaulting teachers and fighting with his classmates. In 1955, he enlisted in the army at age 16 and was dis- charged 14 months later when it was discov- ered that he had forged his birth certificate to be able to join. After returning from the Army, Barger rode with some small local motorcycle clubs but quickly left, disappointed in the lack of "broth- erhood" and courage in the membership—two attributes that would become guiding princi- ples of the Hells Angels. He began riding with some friends who shared his vision, and one of the bikers, Boots Don Reeves, wore a patch he had found in Sacramento of a small skull wearing an aviator cap with a set of wings. Boots suggested they name their new club the Hells Angels after the patch. They went to a lo- cal trophy shop and had a set of patches made in April of 1957, not knowing that their actions that day would be the origin of one of the most notorious motorcycle clubs in history, and one that is still going strong today. At the time, there were numerous indepen- dent Hells Angels motorcycle clubs throughout California, often not even knowing about each Leadership Lessons I Learned From Sonny Barger The Right Approach Feature Column by Steve Williams, THE RIGHT APPROACH CONSULTING Figure 1: Sonny Barger.

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