Tag Archives: Obama

Making The Dream A Reality

This was the post I wrote in 2009 on Dr. King’s birthday, which we celebrate today.  It’s interesting how over the last 7 years much of what I was feeling at the time about the possibilities that were presenting themselves have yet to become a reality.  In some ways, we’ve gone backward despite some of the progress.  I’m not sure race relations in this country are at the place I recall back in the 60’s but it’s good to have a day dedicated to the man that moved us all forward so we can reflect on the topic.  The business point in the post hasn’t changed – some things, such as Dr. King’s message – are eternal.

Last week was actually Dr. King‘s birthday but since we’re celebrating it today I thought I’d add my two cents. I’m old enough to remember him and while he didn’t light the fire of the civil rights movement in the US (I’d say Rosa Parks is that hero), he certainly brought the fire to life and tended it well until his assassination (and I remember that as well – how horrible a day it was!).

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deuts...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What inspired me, a young (then) white kid was his notion of bringing a dream to reality. OK, the words and delivery were pretty inspirational too, even when you read them off a page. Yesterday the Inauguration Committee had a concert on the very place where Dr. King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech to celebrate, nearly 46 years later, a big piece of that speech coming to reality. One can’t help but wonder what Dr.King would have felt and said – he certainly should still be alive – he’d just be turning 80.

Robert Kennedy said “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”  I think that’s great business advice as well, even if George Bernard Shaw had the notion before Bobby.  Mark Twain wrote that Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

So today, I celebrate Dr. King’s dreaming of a better world and making it happen.  Tomorrow, we can watch it become real.  What are you dreaming of?  Can it be real?  Why not?  Or better – why not!!

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Having A Dream

Today is the 50th anniversary of the “I Have A Dream speech Dr. King gave on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  I began to write about him and my memories and then I realized I had already done so in 2009.  In reading it again, the thoughts seem appropriate to today as well so here is it once more, albeit slightly edited.

I’m old enough to remember Dr. Martin Luther King and while he didn’t light the fire of the civil rights movement in the US (I’d say Rosa Parks is that hero), he certainly brought the fire to life and tended it well until his assassination (and I remember that as well – how horrible a day it was!).

Martin Luther King, Jr.

What inspired me, a young (then) white kid was his notion of bringing a dream to reality. OK, the words and delivery were pretty inspirational too, even when you read them off a page. Yesterday the Inauguration Committee had a concert on the very place where Dr. King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech to celebrate, nearly 46 years later, a big piece of that speech coming to reality. One can’t help but wonder what Dr.King would have felt and said – he certainly should still be alive – he’d just be turning 80.

Robert Kennedy said “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”  I think that’s great business advice as well, even if George Bernard Shaw had the notion before Bobby.  Mark Twain wrote that Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

So today, I celebrate Dr. King’s dreaming of a better world and making it happen.  Tomorrow, we can watch it become real.  What are you dreaming of?  Can it be real?  Why not?  Or better – why not!!

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Got Ya!

This is not a political blog but from time to time we do find lessons in the world of politics which apply to business.  I’m saying this up front since the topic from which I’m pulling a lesson today – the whole Obama birth certificate controversy – is totally political and raises strong feelings on both sides.  Yet within the heated arguments is a truth which holds for either side. Continue reading

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We Win

If it’s a win-win situation
Then why am I feelin’ so blue
You win, I win, we lose

Kenny Chesney

It’s always interested me when people talk about “win-win” deals. The reality is that most of the people I know mean “I get what I want and you don’t have to give up much more than you want to” when they use that term.  It strikes me that taken to an extreme, the notion of “I win, you win” got us to The Civil War, as the North ended slavery (win) and the South decided to go someplace where they could preserve it (win). Of course, the collective “we” lost. Continue reading

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Ooops!

One of the changes in the air these days seems to be that people are taking responsibility for their screw-ups and apologizing.  I’m not talking about apologies of the lame “mistakes were made” sort.  Nope.  These are people who probably don’t have to apologize publicly given their stature but who are doing so very openly and very clearly: Continue reading

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Repeat After Me

Chief Justice John G...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

President Obama took his oath of office for a second time yesterday.  We won’t debate whether he needed to or not but, as usual, we will discuss the business lesson we can learn from his having done so.  Confused yet?  Read on! Continue reading

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It’s Not About You

There were a lot of great messages that came out of yesterday.  I’ll skip the overtly political ones in favor of a great business lesson of which I was reminded.

As President Obama was speaking to the luncheon after his inauguration, he said to a room filled with enormous egos (hey – why would you think you ought to be elected without one?) that “today is not about me.”  Really?  Who, then?  But you know what he means – it’s about the people.

That’s the business lesson.  It’s not about you.  It’s about your customers, your clients, your partners.  That has to be your focus 24/7 if you’re going to have, and to continue to have, success.

One of the reasons I’m a big fan of Italian food is that it’s an entire cuisine devoted to getting out of the way of the food.  Get great ingredients, put them together, and get out of the way.  French food, on the other hand, seems to be all about the chef.  It’s way to egocentric for my palate.

Is your business about you?  Are you so focused on yourself and your skills (techniques to a chef!) that you’re in the way of great results?

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