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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Often leaders have chosen to stay on when they should have bowed out. Without intending to, they often undo much of their own work and cause problems for their successors.
An increasingly frail Winston Churchill should not have tried to be prime minister again in 1951. His government drifted, while his chosen successor Anthony Eden grew increasingly embittered.
Pointing out others’ mistakes rarely encourages them to change their behavior, and it certainly doesn’t help them learn anything. People aren’t driven by reason, but by emotion; so a public critique is far likelier to reflect poorly on you than it is to make them change their ways.
Abraham Lincoln was nearly forced into a duel for criticizing an opponent. His new policy became one of understanding what drove his opponents, accepting their shortcomings and going easy on the open criticism, eventually even turning some into friends.
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