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Friday, February 15, 2013

Lean Quote: Lincoln’s 10 Leadership Principles for Success

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well." — Abraham Lincoln

President Abraham Lincoln is considered by many to be a noble and great leader who shaped American history. He is not often looked to as an example of how to, however, be an effective business leader.

Here are 10 leadership principles starting with P that Abe Lincoln exhibited that set an example for type of leader that managers and executives should exemplify:

1. Purpose – Answer the question “Why I am doing this?” Without purpose there is not direction.
2. Probity – Demonstrate complete honesty if you want integrity. This is how leaders get people to follow them.
3. People – This is the “Respect for People” element. Listen and show we care. The say Lincoln would go beyond just hearing your pain and actually absorb your pain for you.
4. Preparation – Proper planning saves time. Never stop learning and improving.
5. Persuasion – Show them how through doing. The use of stories to illustrate your point makes it more personal and memorable.
6. Persistence – Never give up; keep going, especially when the road is not so clear.
7. Process Thinking – Put a process in place. It is through this we can improve our current state.
8. Problem Solving – PDCA, objectively study, build strong problem solving skills, and engage everyone everyday in the process.
9. Performance – Don’t focus on the results, focus on the process and the results will come.
10. Possibilities – Take the impossible and make it possible. There is no limit to the possibilities if we open our mind.

In my experience people don’t like to be told what to do. Lead them by asking the right questions. Challenge their thinking and develop them to constantly improve. Lean is a powerful way of thinking. I believe it is this thinking that can truly change the world. Like Abraham Lincoln be the role model for leadership in your organization by practicing these qualities. 

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