In just a few hours the waiting and talking will be over and Barrack Obama will become the 44th President of the United States. One of the key moments of the day, and perhaps the part most widely reported, will be his speech.
While many will watch and comment on the merit of the speech from a political perspective, as leaders it, and the days ahead offer a unique opportunity for us to watch, learn and reflect.
Specifically I suggest three leadership activities that we can all take to capitalize on the leadership learning opportunity that these events place before us.
1. Watch the speech. President Obama is a gifted speaker. While we don’t work with a teleprompter or an audience this large, watching him from a presentation and persuasion perspective will be instructive. Consider the lessons you can take fro your observations and apply them to your next speech or presentation.
2. Read the speech. This speech will be readily available as a transcription. Read the speech from the perspective of persuasion and oratory. Pay attention to the phrasing, pace and approach. Remember that this speech will have been written by highly skilled professional speech writers. To think that we can’t learn from their work would be silly and short sighted.
3. Watch the start. Everything up until now has been transition. Starting today, Mr. Obama is President. Consider the next few days and weeks a learning laboratory for yourself in terms of starting new roles, building and working with momentum.
While the President’s role is different from your corporate leadership role in many ways, his executive leadership example (both positive and negative examples) can help us create an assessment of our own leadership skills.
With these activities, you can make the time spent watching television and surfing the internet valuable for more than just the curiosity and historical perspective – you can use these events as a part of your own informal leadership development program.