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Fulfilling a Bold Vision

Chalkboard - Vision

What does it take to drive a critical agenda, to execute a bold vision?

To me it comes down to all of the following characteristics.

  • Belief – belief in the importance of the mission
  • Clarity – clarity in articulating why it matters
  • Conviction – conviction to see it through to the end
  • Courage – courage to navigate the obstacles and impediments
  • Urgency – urgency to capitalize on the critical moments
  • Team – a team that’s aligned and motivated
  • Leadership – leadership that’s manifested in words and actions
  • Proof – proof that people can see
  • Perspective – perspective that creates a context for your audience

There is no better role model for showcasing what it takes to fulfill a bold agenda than American President Abraham Lincoln. His vision was not only bold it was critical – to stop the Civil War, abolish slavery, and heal a splintered America. Lincoln certainly leveraged all of the characteristics cited above, but he did it with style and grace. Would you have such poise under pressure? Would you have such clarity? Would you have such sensitivity for your audience?

Listen to Lincoln’s conversation with a young telegraph operator and his engineering student friend. The conversation took place at the very moment Lincoln was writing the telegram that would put in motion the peace talks between the North and the South.

President Lincoln said to the boys, “Do you think we choose to be born? Are we fitted to the times we’re born into?”

The telegraph operator said, “I don’t know.”

The engineering student said, “I don’t think so, but then again I’m an engineering student studying mathematics.”

President Lincoln replied, “I never studied engineering, but I read a fair bit. I once read a book by Euclid and his axioms of common knowledge. The first common notion is this, ‘Things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other’. That’s a rule of mathematical reasoning. It’s true because it works. It has done and always will do. In his book Euclid says this is self-evident. There it is, even in that 2,000-year-old book of mechanical law, that it’s true that things are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. We begin with equality. That’s the origin, isn’t it? That’s balance. That’s fairness. That’s justice.”

Lincoln not only pushed forward on the larger agenda, but he likely inspired those two boys in ways they would never forget. Do have what it takes to drive a bold agenda and critical vision? Do you have what it takes? You probably do.

Thomas Butta

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