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Gettysburg Address: A powerful lesson for business leaders

Nancy Koehn Nov 19, 2013
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Gettysburg Address: A powerful lesson for business leaders

Nancy Koehn Nov 19, 2013
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Today marks the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It is one of the most celebrated speeches in American history, one that laid out the country’s struggle in the middle of the Civil War to preserve democracy, freedom, and equality.

But CEOs of companies large and small could learn something from Lincoln’s speech too.

“We see very few business leaders involving that kind of power — the succinctness, the framing, the stakes, the being candid about the cost in the interest of the larger, big worthy mission” says Nancy Koehn, historian at the Harvard School of Business.

Koehn says there are some exceptions to the sometimes rambling and opaque speeches many CEOs give today and those are the ones that most vividly capture our attention.  

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