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February 2012
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President's MessageSteve Wiley

This month, I'd like to focus on strategy. Does your organization have one? Does your strategy give you a competitive advantage? We frequently talk about strategy when examining the first day of the battle. We look at Buford and how he positioned the Union Army for strategic advantage. We also talk about how, at times, it is important to think strategically but act tactically.

Developing strategies that position us for success can be hard. So what are some common mistakes that organizations make when developing strategies? According to Harvard Business School's Michael Porter, some of the pitfalls organizations can fall into include:

  • Competing to be the best while following the same path as competitors, but thinking you can achieve better results
  • Confusing operational effectiveness with strategy
  • Overestimating strengths
  • Defining the business environment incorrectly
  • And the worst mistake-not having a strategy at all!

Learn more about his thoughts and an excerpt from an interview between Porter and author Joan Magretta on Harvard Business School's website. Why not make 2012 the year that you develop and refine a strategy that gives you a competitive advantage?

Please join us this month as we wish President Lincoln a happy 203rd birthday! To commemorate this historical occasion, please join me in leaving a birthday message for Lincoln on our website.

Read on to learn about a Civil War-era submarine, a new Lincoln documentary and much more!


Steven B. Wiley, president & founder
The Lincoln Leadership Institute at Gettysburg


Lincoln Birthday Celebration

Happy Birthday Lincoln

Steven B. Wiley and The Lincoln Leadership Institute at Gettysburg invite the public to commemorate Abraham Lincoln's 203rd birthday by leaving a birthday message for Lincoln on the organization's website. Once 203 birthday greetings are received, The Lincoln Leadership Institute will light candles on a celebratory virtual birthday cake. Lincoln's birthday is Sunday, Feb. 12.

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Researchers Get First Glimpse of Civil War Submarine

Worker cleaning civil war submarine

Photo: Randall Hill/Reuters

After a decade of painstaking preservation work, the Civil War submarine H.L. Hunley was fully unveiled at a North Charleston, S.C. conservation lab last month. Since 2000, the H.L. Hunley had been obscured by a massive steel truss that had been used to hoist it from the ocean floor near Charleston. Last month, the truss was removed, offering researchers the first unobstructed look at the 42-foot-long cast and wrought iron Hunley.

The H.L. Hunley is considered the world's first successful submarine and was used by the Confederate army to sink the Union warship Husatonic in the winter of 1864. Shortly after this engagement, the submarine disappeared along with eight of its Confederate crew members trapped inside.

The conservation project now enters a corrosion removal and hull preservation phase. During this phase, members of the public will get to see a full view of the sub in its protective water tank on weekends at the conservatory on Charleston's old Navy base.

Discover more information about the H.L. Hunley conservation and what archaeologists discovered inside the submarine.

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Civil War Trust Preserves 2,000 Acres in 2011

The nation's largest Civil War battlefield preservation organization, the Civil War Trust, announced a major land preservation accomplishment for 2011. The organization reported that it had preserved close to 2,042 acres of land significant to the American Civil War.

Of the 2,042 acres, 5 acres of land at Power's Hill on the Gettysburg battlefield were preserved last year. Other Civil War Trust's land acquisitions included Day's Gap, Ala.; Manassas, Va.; Natural Bridge, Fla.; Petersburg, Va. and Wood Lake, Minn.

Learn additional details about this preservation accomplishment from Washington Post writer Linda Wheeler on The Post's Civil War 150th anniversary "A House Divided" blog.

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National Geographic To Produce 'Killing Lincoln' Documentary

Killing Lincoln cover

Photo Courtesy of: BillOReilly.com

Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly's book Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever (and co-written with Martin Dugard) is being adapted for a television documentary.

The National Geographic Channel plans to air a two-hour program based on Reilly's book discussing President Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Production for the program will begin in 2013. Click to learn more about this project.

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Studying the Face of Leadership

You're probably familiar with the phrase, "Put your game face on." But have you ever given thought to what your leadership face might look like?

In a December 2011 study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science (APS), researchers Elaine M. Wong and Michael P. Haselhuhn at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee partnered with Margaret E. Ormiston at the London Business School to reveal their findings on the relationship between facial structures of CEOs and top leadership executives and the performances of their companies. The research team analyzed the facial width-to-height ratio in correlation with financial performance measures of the companies represented by the executives in the studies.

"In our sample, the CEOs with the higher facial ratios [wider faces] actually achieved significantly greater firm financial performance than CEOs with the lower facial ratio [long, narrow faces]," Wong said.

Find out more about this research study on the APS's website.

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Lincoln Leadership Institute's Faculty Focus

Joe Mieczkowski

The faculty of the Lincoln Leadership Institute are often asked to share their thoughts about Lincoln's acts of leadership, the Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War. In this issue, Lincoln Leadership Institute faculty member Joe Mieczkowski marvels at the resiliency demonstrated by Union artilleryman John F. Chase.

On the evening of July 2, 1863, during the Battle of Gettysburg, John F. Chase was manning a gun in his battery on East Cemetery Hill.

A Confederate shell exploded close to the location where Chase was standing. The blast severed his right arm, destroyed his left eye and sent 48 pieces of shrapnel into his body. He was carried, unconscious, to the rear and left for dead. Two days later, his body was loaded onto a wagon along with many others to be buried. The wagon driver heard him moan, pulled him out from among the dead bodies and gave him a drink of water. The first words Chase said were, "Did we win the battle?"

Chase was sent to Seminary Hospital where his condition was still grim. About three weeks after arriving, he was again set outside to die. Despite the doctor's predictions, Chase survived his wounds. Following his three-month convalescence at Seminary Hospital, he was taken to West Philadelphia Hospital, where he stayed until he was well enough to return home. Chase died in 1914.

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Lincoln's Acts of Leadership: February 1862

President Abraham Lincoln vowed to preserve the Union even if it meant war, and he did so by exerting his executive authority more than any other president in U.S. history. To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, we're presenting details of Lincoln's acts of leadership during each month the war raged on.

On Feb. 14, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issues Executive Order No. 1 relating to political prisoners. Lincoln directs "all political prisoners or state prisoners now held in military custody be released on their subscribing to a parole engaging them to render no aid or comfort to the enemies in hostility to the United States."

On Feb. 19, 1862, Lincoln recommends by proclamation that people celebrate George Washington's birthday publicly by listening to the reading of his "Farewell Address."

Parting Thoughts...

"We all have ability. The difference is how we use it." - Stevie Wonder

Copyright 2012, The Lincoln Leadership Institute at Gettysburg