No, I’m not going to write about the uniquely strange movie that shares the title of this post, although the whole concept is pretty innovative. I am going to write about Lincoln slaying a different kind of vampire: the variety of blood-sucking, naysaying idea-killers.
After watching Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of arguably our country’s best president, I was reminded of how important it is for leaders to have a strong vision of where they want to go, and the importance of creating followers—regardless of the political vampires.
In Lincoln the movie, the president is dealing with the Civil War and concurrently attempting to pass the 13th Amendment. Relying on a number of strategies and tactics, many less than transparent, Lincoln was a leader with a vision that he would not abandon despite seemingly impossible odds.
He refused to quit.
That’s exactly the kind of dedication and commitment to innovation that leaders need to create real followers, but in many cases, when it comes to supporting innovation with time and resources, leaders like to talk about being innovative, as opposed to taking the steps really needed to make it happen.
Some innovation consultants were recently bemoaning the fact that many CEOs create innovation committees, or come up with titles like “chief innovation officer,” only to have the process mired in over-participation with too many people having to contribute. Death by meeting, PowerPoint, you know, the typical organizational vampires.
When it comes to truly inspiring leadership, as in the case with Lincoln, there are too few great presidents (or in the case of inspiring innovation, too few great CEOs). That’s why Lincoln, and in the realm of business, the Steve Jobs of the world, become legends.