CEOs from many highly successful businesses find relevance in the lessons to be learned from how Lincoln weathered the death of his son in his personal life and the many painful challenges he faced fighting to hold the U.S. together as one nation. In the New York Times article, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz reflected on Lincoln’s presence and authenticity as well as his ability to listen to people within his circle and beyond it.
The political struggles Lincoln and the people of the US faced during the Civil War (or the War Between the States) were enormous. We may have clashes and struggles today, but they are nothing compared to the bloody battles that consumed our country during that period.
Business is fraught with challenges and struggles. Still, with a bit of a bigger perspective, I can draw upon the lessons of Lincoln’s presidency to build and evolve my business. Gathering advice from a wide range of people, especially those who do not agree with us, is critical for any business leader just as it was for Lincoln. He listened to military, political, and economic advisors. We have to listen to customers, colleagues, experts, employees, suppliers, investors, and most of all to our own hearts.