Advice to Obama – Get Back to the Basics

January 21st, 2009 by

Today is Barack Obama’s inauguration; it is a historic day and should be celebrated.  When the party is over the people of the world will be watching Obama to see what impact his leadership is going to have on the global recession and the trials and tribulation of the U.S.  I am sure Obama’s head is spinning with all the advice he is getting from the qualified and the unqualified. I am going to use the power of the internet to offer him one more piece of advice on how to get back to the basics.

When I was football player in college, I was taught a life lesson from a coach named Bob Garcia on the importance of focusing on the basics when times appear to be the most challenging.  It was early in the season and I was part of an offensive line that was underachieving — we could not run or pass the ball with much success.  As a group of young men, our confidence was starting to sink fast and we needed leadership and a plan to address the problem before it had a negative impact on the entire team’s season.  

Bob recognized that if the team was to have success that season he needed to turn his attention to the offensive line and get our group performing to his expectations.  For the entire week of preparation prior to our next game, Bob spent the first 30 minutes of each practice working with our group on executing the most basic football drills.  He focused on the running game in our one-on-one drills and in the practice scrimmages. Eventually, this resulted in us having the confidence to effectively execute the game plan.  Our ability to focus on the most basic principles of football instilled the confidence we needed to win our next game and have a winning season.

I have taken the lesson taught to me by Bob Garcia of getting back to basics when things are most complicated and used it in my consulting practice, teaching companies about strategic vertical and account selling.    Barack, I leave you with this question:  what is the identity you want to create for the United States under your term as President? Whatever your answer, the most crucial part of creating that identity will be focusing your efforts and resources on getting the fundamentals of the country working once again. 

Plan four Success and good luck.  

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