On Obama, Possibility, Change and Transformation

by marilyn on November 10, 2008

I do a lot of work with individuals and organizations in the service of change and transformation. Last week, not only did was a new tone set for our country and the world, but we witnessed Obama changing the paradigm. He demonstrated successful application of what John Kotter has written about as in his principles of “leading change.” If his administration can keep up the momentum and flawless execution of his campaign, we are really in for good things ahead.

One journalist (E.J. Dionne Jr., Investor Business Daily, Op Ed,”Viewpoint,” 11/6/08) said, “[Barack] Obama exploded the old framework. He explicitly rejected the idea that Americans were chosing between “more” or “less” government, “big” or “small” government. He cast the choice differently. ‘Our government should work for us, not against us’ . . . it should help us, not hurt us.’ ”

This is truly a transformational message. Obama has given us a new paradigm by creating a future that we don’t quite know how we will live into but is distinguished from the past. He brings a strong values-based approach built on values such as fairness, honoring diversity, strong families and personal responsibility in contrast to the pseudo-values of the “moral majority” which really are ideological, divisive positions.

In one of my programs (www.ontrackcoaching.com/bestyear.htm) we emphasize the importance of values as the force that counteracts “negative drivers” — blame, anger, greed, martyrdom, looking good — all factors which have contributed to the economic morass we find ourselves in now.

Finally, Dionne writes, “Obama represents the future majority. It is the majority of a dynamic country increasingly at ease with its diversity. It reflects the forward-looking optimism of the young.” I personally have only to see the excitement in my young adult daughters and their friends to know that, for the first time since I can remember, we really do have the possibility of a different future.

If each of us can take personal responsibility and carry that forward in our own work, even on the smallest level, then we really have something going on!

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