A House Divided


This week’s Imagination Hat:

Abraham Lincoln will forever be a continual source of inspiration for leadership and business. On this day in 1858, Lincoln was running for the US Senate against Stephen Douglas. He delivered his famous ‘House Divided’ speech to the Republican State Convention. Even his law partner William Herndon, who believed Lincoln was moving too slow and that the only solution was “bloody revolution,” thought Lincoln’s speech was too radical. Lincoln responded he would “deliver the speech as written . . . that it may strike home to the minds of men in order to rouse them to the peril of the times.”

The troublesome line: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Peril is a very strong word. Lincoln knew without unified values and vision, our troubled nation would not only be in peril, it would cease to exist. He needed strong words. And indeed, any business without common focus and a common mission will eventually end up in the same state. A common goal is so obviously needed that it hardly seems necessary to state it. And yet, so many small business teams are tired, and in need of a shot in the arm. A visionless business is akin to a basketball team playing with no hoop. No one will be able to tell if you are winning or losing the game, and your whole team will get very tired from just running around.

Does your company have a clear vision? More often than not, the problem is not the fact that there is no vision, but rather that the vision is not communicated to rest of the team. If your team is tired and in need of fresh inspiration, maybe it is time for a huddle.

That is this week’s Imagination Hat.