Lincoln and the Importance of Collaboration

Alyssa KirkmanWater Cooler Chat

Wendy-Jo Toyama, MBA, CAE headshot

Wendy-Jo Toyama, MBA, CAE

Some of you may have observed President’s Day on Monday, February 19 – marking the birth of two founding fathers – President Lincoln on February 12 and President Washington on February 22. I am steeped in Lincoln this month — listening to Lincoln’s Last Trial by Dan Abrams and David Fisher. While not a must read in the plethora of Lincoln literature, it is comforting to hear about his early days in the Midwest.  It reminds me of familiar places that I visited — his boyhood homes in Knob Creek, Kentucky and New Salem, Illinois, his law offices in Springfield and of course the beautiful Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum that was dedicated in 2005.

A better read and one of my favorite leadership books is Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times by Donald T. Phillips. I admire his ability to build strong alliances and coalitions, often engaging those who were rivals.  His ability to weather hardship, create and share a vision and focus on results translate to today’s organizational challenges.  His Midwestern upbringing is personified in stories based on his honesty and integrity. When I am asked in interviews, “Who is one of your heroes?” My answer is Lincoln. At an early age, I revered him as school children in the Land of Lincoln do – our 16th President who led efforts to free the slaves and heal a severed nation.

As I grew, I admired his ability to be his own person and hold fast in the face of adversity. His quick wit, concise language and incisive intellect. If you ever wondered whether there is a Lincoln bobblehead doll, the answer is, “Yes.” One resides in my office along with a light scattering of other Lincoln memorabilia.  If you stop by the ACPA National Office, you can meet the team and get a peek of my modest bobblehead collection, which includes Lincoln.

Lincoln reminds all of us of the importance of fostering collaborative teams, which is fundamental to everything we do here at ACPA.