Lessons from Obama

By Kevin on January 20, 2009 in Uncategorized

I use this blog to record thoughts about business, but it is hard not to acknowledge this historic day as Barack Obama becomes President of the United States. There are of course many lessons from his campaign that could be applied to business, from strong positioning and messaging to decentralized organization. But the biggest lesson to me is the reminder to pursue your dream despite the chatter around you.

Eighteen months ago Obama was down by about 20 points to Hillary Clinton. Even the majority of African Americans at the time didn’t think the country would elect a black man. Most talked about how little experience he had; he should run in 2012 or 2016 maybe. And yet he plowed forward despite the negative chatter.

Every time I’ve started a business there has been a chorus of warnings and reminders about all the reasons NOT to start a new business. And the chatter comes from friends, family, business advisors. It doesn’t always come from their own fear or ignorance, I think it often comes from their caring for you. They don’t want to see you get hurt.

And it’s happening again as I get ready to launch another business. “Hey Kevin, don’t you know we’re in a major recession…don’t you know CPM rates are down…don’t you know nobody goes to conferences in recessions…don’t you know you have no reputation in that space…”

So apparently I’m 20 points down. That’s OK, just means it might take 18 months. Don’t listen to the chatter.

Congratulations President Obama.


Kevin Kruse is a NY Times bestselling author and keynote speaker. Get more success and tips from his newsletter at kevinkruse.com and check out keynote video clips. His new book, Employee Engagement 2.0, teaches managers how to turn apathetic groups into emotionally committed teams.

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