Michael View

What can we learn from Obama

11 April 2008

I‘ve watched with great interest the means by which U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is assembling his inner circle of advisors, and I must admit I‘m impressed.

Hillary Clinton, America‘s next Secretary of State, fought a bitter, rancorous campaign to gain the Democrats‘ endorsement to run for president. And, of course, we all know how that turned out.

However, Obama has talked at length about assembling ‘a team of adversaries‘ ‘" an approach to governance that translates well to the business realm. Unfortunately, many company owners, regional managers, HR pros and others with the responsibility for hiring often avoid promoting adversaries from within the ranks, or hiring from the outside those with different (read new) views on management. Pity.

Those who lack confidence in their own ability to lead look for team mates who share the same opinions and points of view to re-enforce their own.

The result? A support team of ‘yes men and women.‘ Advisors too cautious to point out the obvious flaws in a plan or tactic. The wise business owner seeks out differing opinions, weighs these views and arrives at his or her own decision. The key is confidence.

A confident leader listens to adversarial points of view from knowledgeable advisors and for good reasons.

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