I was trawling through some old writings and found this piece, written just a bit more than ten years ago. It was an open letter to then President-elect Obama. Maybe I should have found it sooner and offered it to President-elect Trump. My apologies…
But as I look at the glorious diversity of new, incoming mid-term legislators and other local, state, and national leaders, maybe this should be an open letter to all, since some day, one or more of you may attain the highest post in America. So…
Welcome to the ranks of Chief Executives, those of us, large and small, at whom the buck stops. I voted for you, not just because I agree with so many of your values but because you have a compelling Vision. And that’s what it’s going to take to get this enterprise called the USA back on track. Like any other CEO, I’m also here to offer my advice, based not only on my own experience but that of those CEOs whose companies we’ve worked with. I’ll keep it short and sweet, just the big three.
- Keep preaching the Vision. People are starved for inspiration – they’ve been operating at a deficit for years.
- Keep an equal concern with the inside of your company and the outside – what you probably think of as foreign and domestic relations. This is one world but don’t be like the shoemaker whose kids have bare feet.
- Keep showing your humility. America doesn’t want a king – it never has. That’s why we don’t really like dynasties, even though we occasionally elect them. Be human and let us all learn to trust you.
The economy will continue to have its ups and downs (though it will recover quicker, imho, if you support grassroots creative entrepreneurship over bailing out the over-privileged.) There will be conflicts and disputes and civil wars in places near and far where people are angry and have no hope of a better life. And there will be injustices, big and small, because since that apple tree in the Garden of Eden there have always been temptations and people willing to trade away their integrity for them. You will have no control over these things so just do your best and try not to succumb to the illusions of power. Focus on what you can do to make this country a Best Place to Work, a Best Place to Live and a Best Place to Be. Support what gives us opportunity, not only for prosperity of the pocketbook but also of the soul. Help us be the change we want to make.