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Lessons of Fort Sumter

| June 7, 2011

by Jim Bruce

Joe Urich from the University of Iowa shared this piece with his on-campus cohort last month and I thought it was worth sharing with everyone.  “Lessons of Fort Sumter”was published in early April in the Wall Street Journal.  The author is Bret Stephens, a columnist for the Journal.

In the short piece he distills from the battle for Sumter five important leadership lessons:

1.  Listen to many opinions.  Don’t just listen to the loud voice, seek options.

2.  Determined leadership begats devoted followership.  Who wants to follow someone who is not really committed to his/her efforts.

3.  Execution is critical.  It really is all about getting results.

4.  The leader assumes ultimate, without excuses, responsibility for the organizations future.

5.  Small and temporary reversals may lay the foundation for future successes.

There they are.  When you read the piece, you’ll find that I left out two additional lessons.  The first was “War is too important to be left to the journalists.”  You’ll have to read the piece to learn about this reason.  And, I left out the lesson “Change the subject.”  I don’t think that is really an option.


Enjoy the read and practice the lessons.  .  .  .     jim