Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Lessons learned from President Obama's Inauguration Speech

I don't know about the rest of you but I found last week to be an inspiring week with much cause for reflection.  Witnessing the first african-american inaugurated as President of the United States is certainly one for the history books and therefore deserves a mention in this blog (I went home early to watch it live on TV).  There is a lot one can take from his speech an I wanted to draw your attention to a couple of things that are relevant to this project.
  1. President Obama's message was very clear that each and every citizen has a responsibility to make a difference in order to bring about real change - "the price and the promise of citizenship".

    This is true of projects too.  Project organisations are temporary things setup purely to deliver a project.  Once that is done - it's up to the guys on the ground as well as operational management to make it a success and achieve the potential benefits.  Their continued efforts beyond the project is 'the price'; the potential benefits are 'the promise'.

  2. "Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real.  They are serious and they are many.  They will not be met easily or in a short span of time.  But know this America:  They will be met."
    Some news channels reported the inauguration speech as being particularly grim in comparison to the campaign speeches.  Well of course it was!  Getting voted in is one thing and now he IS in he has to deliver.  Elements throughout his speech clearly intended to set people's expectations to realistic levels whilst still retaining a message of hope for the future. 

    Throughout the projects I've worked on I have always been very enthusiastic about what will be delivered.  I have learned the hard way of the real danger of my enthusiasm creating unrealistic expectations.  Therefore I have made a conscious effort on the project I am currently managing to constantly state that we will be unable to deliver all that we would like to by target date.  However what we will deliver will be the required elements and anything else is icing on the cake.  There is nothing wrong with a dose of realism (as I have to remind myself sometimes ;) ).
Are there any other lessons we can learn from his speech?


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