I am sure by now that everyone has heard about Bill Maher going on a rant last week about President Obama focusing too much on being a celebrity and not enough time on drawing the line on some of the toughest issues we have faced in the history of our nation. Here is the rant. I don’t really agree or disagree with his position, but he does make an interesting point to consider (which I have also thought about recently):
I want to add that the June issue of Harvard Business Review gave Obama the following “grades” in 3 domains:
Securing Early Wins: A
Laying a Foundation: B+
Articulating a Vision: B-
Now then, I like President Obama, and a B- is not a bad score, but Maher and HBR have a point. The situation is this: The President is saying that his vision is to develop our country into one that is economically sustainable, but in my opinion, I have not yet see him “draw the cutting line”, meaning, I have not yet really seen him take a tough stand to stay “Here is where we are going in the areas of the economy, healthcare and education, and we are going to do it like this: Number 1, Number 2, Number 3”. It is really hard to get people on board using rhetoric and charisma and big speeches when there’s really no meat on the bones. I think the President has what it takes to drive people forward and move us in a great direction, but it seems like he is still trying to convince us that he’s great and “one of us”. I think the election proved that we all want him in the position, and it’s time to start getting down and speaking the vision clearly and sharply so that we can all jump in and help get the nation where we need to go. While I realize this takes time, as HBR says, that first 90 days is critical. You have to clearly tell people where you are going and how you are going to get there (if you are told to get on a bus and you have no idea where you are going, would you really get on? You might if you really know and trust the person, but I have never met the President…he seems great on television, but I have not met and sat down and talked with him, so I scratch my head and wonder if I would really get on a bus with him if I had no idea where we were going???)
What I want to hear from the President is this:
1) When you say have a vision for our country where sustained economic growth creates good jobs and rising incomes, how is this going to happen, and as a citizen of the USA, how can I get involved in helping to make this happen? Tell me where I am going in this equation so that I can get on board and help you succeed.
2) When it comes to education, you are saying that you want our schools to excel. What do you see in the year 2020, and as a citizen, how can I help get to that vision? Do you see all schools going digital, do you see more interactivity/creativity in the classrooms? Do you see more leadership development in the education system? What do you see, and how can I help?
3) You say you want a better quality of living for everyone in the US. What does that look like? What steps are you taking to get us? Paint me the vision of that quality of life and tell me how I can help get us there? Are you talking about a more green planet, better health, etc? What does a better life for everyone look like? Get specific with me, and then I will know how I can play a role here.
When it comes to vision, the following are required to get people on board
1) A statement that clearly (crystal clear…not vague) identifies the direction we are going and the reason why
2) A set of standards and an accountability system that reflects excellence and a strong sense of integrity for the cabinet and the people of the USA
3) A vision that is both inspiring and credible
4) A statement that asks for a commitment from the people…”I am asking each of you to commit to recycling this year or cutting your debt by 10%”
5) A statement that challenges people to take their talents, assets and strengths and combine them to make a bigger impact
6) A statement that is ambitious and feels like it’s a stretch but do-able (John F. Kennedy promised that there will be a Man on the Moon before the end of the 1960’s, and people thought he was crazy, but it did indeed happen, and he put the wheels in motion to make it happen)
So, I encourage you to weigh in on this blog post today. What do you need to hear from President Obama, and what will it take to get you on board in the future?.