Wednesday, November 5, 2008


As you know by now America has a new president; President Barack Obama. I woke up at 5;30am on Tuesday to take my wife to the polls so she could vote for Barack. She is a registered republican but Obama stole her heart and mind. Before she got out of the car I said to her; go vote for both of us. Wow!
But how did Obama win?

Obama was extremely disciplined with his message and his campaign strategy. There were times he was criticized for not changing strategy or message to suit the moment but in the end he came forth as prepared, calm and steady and plain presidential. I remember that he was criticised for not coming out quickly enough to make a statement on President Bush's proposed economic rescue plan or share his plan when the economy took a turn for the worst. But what everyone did not know was that behind the scenes, Barack Obama had read Bush's proposal and had convened a team of economic advisers from the Clinton years, the CEO of google and Warren Buffet the second richest man in the world to mention a few. His questions to them were simple: What is going on and what can we need do? In fact one of the advisers said; 'Barack said just give me the facts and what needs to be done-not a political answer to the crisis.' After this meeting Barack came and made a statement to the nation with a set of proposals to shore up the economy and prevent a collapse. He came forth as a candidate who understood what was exactly going on and how to fix it and again he looked presidential.
From this one situation we learn a few leadership lessons:

1. Maintain your cool.
You cannot afford to panic as a leader in a time of crisis.

2. Solicit Advisers
You don't know everything.Obama knew that he was not an economist so he brought in people who knew exactly what was going on.

3. Ask questions
Obama asked questions of his advisers. He wanted the facts and the suggested solutions. Someone who had worked with Obama in Chicago said; "when you are on a team led by Obama, the silent people will be interrogated until they share their ideas. He wants to know what everyone is thinking and then make a decision.

4. Make a decision
With all the information you get from your advisers, make a decision. This is your task as the leader.

5. Inform
The last thing Obama did was inform the nation of proposals. He drew a line in the sand and said this is where I stand. He was still flexible to other suggestions but he had some non-negotiables in his proposal as well.

This response and McCain's reaction to a crisis changed the trajectory of the election. Obama started leading the polls and this election was won on that day.

McCain on the hand did not have a measured response to the crisis. Firstly, he did not read Bush's proposed rescue plan until the 5Th day after its release. He was asked by a reporter in an interview about what he thought of the proposal and his answer was shocking. he simply said; "I have not read it and will get back to you after I do so." That statement was telling. He was a leader who had not taken the time to study the nation's present crisis and yet was running to be the crisis solver in chief.
Secondly, on September 15Th when it was announced that America lost jobs and that the stock market was going down the tubes, McCain said to the nation and I quote; "The fundamentals of our economy are still strong." That statement lost him the election. He showed himself to be a leader who did not understand the economic crisis and had no suggestions for fixing it.
As if this was not enough, McCain announced that he was suspending his campaign to go back to Washington and help solve this crisis. He got there and did not manage to move congress to work together.
So what did America see in these two leaders? They saw a steady, calm, knowlegdgable and visionary leader in Obama and an erratic, undisciplined, uniformed leader in McCain and America made its decision.

Therefore, as a leader remember that crisis can either make or break you. When you are faced with a difficult situation, take a step back, seek help and understand the problem and what it will take to solve it. This will establish your leadership and make you a success.

Now go and make your dream a reality and lead in a transformational way!
To your Success,

1 comment:

vuongtutinhca said...

i hope OBAMA will not lead america become socialism : taking money from the riches but not really give to the poors !!