I remember very few things I learned in junior high... (sorry teachers). However, I can still recite much of Lincoln's Gettysburg address. Helping my seventh grader memorize it last night made me realize that this quite short, written on an envelope address is packed with leadership lessons that apply to leading a business, an entrepreneurial endeavor, a non-profit, a family... and of course a country.
Do you want to move forward TOGETHER.... despite the hardships, setbacks, losses and challenges on the horizon? Take it from the lips of a man who galvanized his nation's resolve after just three days in July when
The two armies (all Americans)suffered between 46,000 and 51,000 casualties (In just three days!!!)
The Union suffered 23,049 casualties, including 3,155 killed in action, 14,529 wounded and 5,365 missing.
No fewer than 2,136 of the 14,529 Federal wounded died soon after.
Many injured lost use of limbs and would spend the rest of their lives as invalids.
1. Remind them of principles that are bigger than any one person. "Our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." A leader must know what his company/organization is trying to achieve and how this mission is rooted in more than a money bottom line. What transcendent principles, ideas or ideals does your organization espouse that are worthwhile and BIG? (If none, that's a problem) Imagine if Lincoln said, "We've already spent too much money to turn back now folks! And besides, I want to be reelected!" Hmmmm...
2. Honestly describe the present situation (the mess we're in!) "Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation... can long endure." Lincoln knew that things were tough and chances of failure and defeat were real. A true leader won't ignore, dismiss or sugar coat the present challenges. No, he or she won't give up hope.. but he or she won't pretend it's not tough either.
3. Recognize sacrifices made. "We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who gave their lives that that nation might live...never forget what they did here" Of course, every family receiving these sad statistics, or getting grave news of lost of a love one asks, "Is it still worth it? Did they die in vain? Was this limb lost for nothing?" The truth is that people in companies and organizations want to know, "Did those who already sacrificed time, energy, income, health or life do so in vain... and the often unspoken, "Will www.JeffCaliguire.com
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