The Big "Ask"
I thought that for an initial trip abroad, President Obama set the right tone and accomplished a great deal. Leadership, in many arenas, but particularly in the not-for-profit world, often requires one to engage in a type of outreach that is could be described as cultivation activity. The leader may wish to achieve a certain goal for his/her organization or obtain a certain benefit for the organization from those with whom the leader is meeting, but he/she cannot always make "the ask" at the initial meeting. Groundwork needs to be laid, and follow up efforts need to be carefully planned.
President Obama seemed to be in somewhat of an analogous position to a leader needing to do some cultivation work. He provided an uplifting vision for America's role as both leader and partner. He tried to focus people on the best in our country, not the worst. And his willingness to engage in the town hall sessions with European youth was a strong symbolic reminder to the world of the good that open democracy can produce.
I think he did well on his initial cultivation trip. Let's see what happens when he returns for the big "ask."
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