Leadership notes from Spielberg’s Lincoln

1) Lincoln pivots immediately to full engagement with sons when his attention is needed, he doesn’t half-heartedly interact with his kids while being self-absorbed in work issues.

2) Incredible resilience: Juggles family, relationship, past child’s death, challenges from his team (Cabinet), politics, not to mention war deaths and gravity of the 13th amendment – seems overwhelming for one individual – my challenges pale in comparison.

3) Politics hasn’t changed and never will change – don’t be discouraged by politics anywhere at any level – politics will always exist whenever there is 3 or more people involved.

4) Quiet time is necessary and should be carved out for concentration.

5) Leading is extremely messy – don’t expect everyone to cede and follow – all tactics and strategies need to be employed.

6) Leading is a house-to-house fight – deal with every individual differently.

7) Be grateful for the times in which you live – it was a hard life 150 years ago in this country.

8) The history of this country is full of courage and cruelty. Improve the society built by the blood, sweat, and treasure of others.

9) Balance exercising role power with relationship power.

10) Be as committed to your craft as the actors in this film – this was brilliant art shared with viewers.

Christmas Day 2012


This is the inaugural post for my new blog simply titled paul dolan.

The blog will be the central hub for my best online resources and provide a place for me to connect to help me lead. It will also serve as a companion to my Moleskines. Journals are fantastic tools but don’t always keep up with notes I need for my Team, Family, Health, Personal, and Community goals.

I’m going to end this post with my first (and probably last) personal family photo. This is a 1952 Christmas picture of my late Grandpa Harry Dolan (1920 – 2011) taken in Zion, Illinois. That’s my father up front. Grandpa was generous to a fault, literally, and it’s fitting to close today with his picture. He also saw an enormous amount of change in his life, something I think about often as the structural shift of an industrial age to a connected age has really only just begun.

Merry Christmas.

Christmas Grandpa Dolan


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