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Amy Fraher
Scholar/Military leader

Amy Fraher

Amy L. Fraher is a retired Navy Commander and Aviator,Director of the International Team Training Center at San Diego Miramar College. Her book Thinking Through Crises comes out Spring 2011

Obama's gift of opportunity

Question: Like U.S. presidents, military and non-profit leaders often face the equivalent of "midterm elections" in which they and their strategies are subject to an initial market test or performance evaluation. What's the first thing President Obama, or any leader, should do or say when confronted with unambiguously negative results from a mid-course evaluation?

Rather than respond defensively to unambiguously negative feedback, the first thing any organizational leader should do is to thank his evaluators for the opportunity to tackle the areas of deficiency and make things right before problems escalate to irreparable levels. Whether considering President Obama or any other leader, given sufficient time disgruntled employees and unsatisfied customers will vote with their feet--taking valuable resources with them, and putting the organization and its market share at risk.

For President Obama in particular, who ran on a campaign of change and hope, the opportunity for a mid-course correction would be especially valuable at a time when Republicans seem to be gaining strength in surprising demographic groups such as women and young people. It's time for the president to renew followers' commitment to his vision. As a result, an unambiguously negative midterm performance evaluation (if it does prove true) could be a gift of an opportunity. President Obama could then use the next two years to solidify his platform in time for reelection. The worst response would be to discount the message and do nothing.

By Amy Fraher

 |  November 1, 2010; 3:28 PM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals , Crisis leadership , Government leadership , Leadership development , Political leadership , Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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