Winning Lessons of the Obama Campaign

A few weeks ago on the train from London to Manchester, I read: Barack, Inc.: Winning Business Lessons of the Obama Campaign by Barry Libert and Rick Faulk. This book was a gift from a new business owner for “my assistance and support through a life changing decision” — giving up his corporate job in the city and becoming a business owner through franchising!

Barack, Inc. outlines some key lessons that business leaders can learn from President Barack Obama’s improbable victory. These include:
1. Be Cool: The indispensable quality of a leader whose decisions and actions can change people lives is his cool — His calm rationality, steadiness under pressure, and ability to stay on message and control strong emotions.
Thus:

  • Ignore the sideshows – keep your eye on the centre ring.
  • Fix the Problem; forget the blame.
  • Play hardball when necessary.
  • Vent outside the tent.
  • Adjust to the memoment.
  • Lead with humility.

2. Be Social: Business — like politics — is extremely personal.
Thus:

  • Cultivate the new grassroots, the netroots (i.e prospects and customers via social networks like: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.).
  • Create a seamless community.
  • Nuture your lists.
  • Let your netroots grow into every crevice.
  • Arm yourself against, and don’t take, cheap shots.
  • Turn Customer Relalationship Management into Customer Managed Relationship.
  • Make your marketing mobile.

3. Be The Change: Impermanence rules the universe. Those who resist change resist reality and life itself.
Thus:

  • Confront reality and put problems in context.
  • When you’re on solid ground, don’t back off.
  • Share your vision of the future.
  • Forget the squabbles, strengthen the team.
  • Never forget the power of the personal touch.
  • Get unfiltered information.
  • See yourself clearly.

None of the lessons or ideas above are revolutionary. In fact, it’s all really obvious stuff. However, as most of us know, very few business executives, never mind leaders can execute them flawlessly. Of course, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try for these ideals –especially on the change front. Particuarly as: “change is eternal; change is business opportunity; change is life itself.”

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