Know When To Take Big Risks

Know When To Take Big Risks

Prince William Of Orange led the Dutch rebellion against Spain, then the most powerful empire in the world. To stop the advance of the more powerful Spanish army he pulled down several dikes and flooded a large portion of the Dutch countryside, contributing largely to the defeat of the Spanish.

Recognize when you can't beat your competitors and find a way to differentiate yourself.

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Have a Succession Plan

Alexander the Great built one of the largest empires in history in just a few short years, and it fell apart just as quickly. As soon as Alexander died, his generals carved up his empire into pieces.

Every leader wants to build something that lasts, and that means finding someone to take over once you step down. Failure to do so can mean the undoing of your life's work in just a few short years.

Maintain Your Flexibility

During the Cuban missile crisis, many of JFK's advisors advised a full military invasion of Cuba. JFK held off on these plans, opting instead for a naval blockade and negotiations with Soviet leaders, all while planning for a possible invasion if these tactics failed.

Don't commit yourself to a strategic path without first evaluating all of the options available to you.

Words Have Power

Winston Churchill led Great Britain against the German war machine, due in no small part to his inspiring rhetoric. Emboldened by Churchill's words, Londoners carried on with the war effort even through the periodic bombings of the city.

Well placed words of encouragement can do wonders for employee morale.

Understand Your Subordinates

Caesar’s military victories and political leadership made Rome very prosperous. But he neglected the Senate’s needs as he increased his powers to become a dictator until they killed him.

If employees don't feel like you're listening to them or respecting their positions, they may choose to ignore your requests, go over your head to your boss, or even quit.

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RELATED IDEAS

You Have To Want To Lead

Leading can be gratifying but also lonely. Ambition and the determination to succeed may mean sacrificing friends and family.

Think of how many children of great men have had unhappy lives. That loneliness is why statesmen like summits: they meet those rare others who face the same pressures and responsibilities.

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IDEAS

Never Deviate From Your Values

A former slave inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution, Touissaint L’Ouverture defeated the European empires to found Haiti and expunged slavery from his colony.

Early in the revolution, L’Ouverture determined that he would never compromise on his ideal of complete abolition of slavery in the colony. L’Ouverture succeeded by getting clear on his cause and doing whatever was necessary to serve it, even if it meant fighting alongside European powers. 

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