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Yash Gupta
Business School Dean

Yash Gupta

Yash Gupta is Professor and Dean of The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

The people have spoken--listen and speak back

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?

Assuming that the midterm elections prove a major repudiation of the Obama team and its policies, the first thing President Obama will need to do on Nov. 3 is acknowledge and accept the fact that the people have spoken. He should recognize the uneasy mood that exists throughout the country. It's quite obvious that the economy is the No. 1 concern in the minds of the public. America is hurting. That will be a central theme of the political post-mortems this week, and the president will have to show that he feels and understands the people's pain.

He also should try again, as he did early in his term, to promote greater collegiality in Washington. In his 2008 campaign, he mentioned this as one of the key changes he was going to bring to the capital, but he seemed to surrender the effort too quickly. He needs to reiterate this approach in an attempt to bring some badly needed civility to our national discourse. More important, he has to find a way to work effectively with his opponents in order to generate economic growth and jobs for Americans.

I thought it was telling that President Obama went on Jon Stewart's show last week and complained that the public wasn't aware of everything his administration has accomplished. Who exactly is to blame for that? The president and his team, who have let their opponents define them. He's a master orator, but he needs to do a better job of communicating empathy and understanding where the problems of Main Street Americans are concerned.

By Yash Gupta

 |  November 2, 2010; 11:08 AM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals , Government leadership , Leadership development , Leadership personalities , Political leadership , Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Every day is election day | Next: Start with "what" and "why"


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I wish to thank Obama for his I think I know what is best for the people and by all means keep it up.In two more years you your self can destroy the Democrats thanks again 2012 is your BYE BYE.

Posted by: freedon | November 3, 2010 7:13 PM
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The arrogance of O'Bama - he will surely be remembered at the top of the list of "Arrogant misguided failed presidents".
The voters are well aware of all he and his "cronies" AKA Dems did. As it was being pushed, after coming out from behind closed doors, a 2500+ page healthcare reform bill!! Let's not forget, he forced it down our throats. The majority, and that is the major point here, the MAJORITY, didn't want. He wouldn't make small steps to make some suggested improvements, as we do have the best medical care in the world, and access to it. It wasn't done out in the open, with cooperation of both parties... come on... he kept none of those promises re:healthcare reform.

ASAP - we need to repeal Obamacare!! Come on, don't let him redirect our focus. The voters spoke of their disatisfaction - get on it... before some of those 2500 pages takes affect!!!!

Challenge - read the bill!!!!

Posted by: bannkam | November 3, 2010 4:45 PM
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The first thing Obama should have said is to express a great sorrow that the American people have been duped by the Republicans, Fox propaganda, and massive corporate advertising distortions! Then assure the people that he would oppose the Republican agenda to repeal the gains for the people during his first two years in office, allow the Bush Tax cuts to expire, and aggressively challange the Republicans to reduce the massive debt inherited from the Bush administration by cutting the military budget by 25% each of the next 2 years as we unwind the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, the President should aggressively promote financial reforms to really regulate wall street, put a cap on incomes of all wall street workers of 1 Million dollars each year, reinstall glass-seagal to prevent banks with FDIC from gambling with deposits, restrict FDIC banks to 10% cap on interest rates and regulate all fees! Finally, challenge the Republicans to get their corporate sponsors to either crankup employment or support a massive public works effort by the Federal government to rebuild crumbling infrastructure and build new infrastructure for the needs of the 21st century.

Posted by: CHAOTICIAN101 | November 3, 2010 3:37 PM
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Master orator? I don't think so.
Being capable of something is not the same as actually being something. And to suggest that someone is capable of being something... well, that's a suggestion.
And then there's the whole question of content, as opposed to mere delivery.
Most likely, Obama is exactly who he appears to be.
We cheer to encourage movement in the right direction. Cheering just to get the man to the starting line? I don't think so.
Time for him to campaign again: he's lost the office he's won.

Posted by: gberke | November 3, 2010 12:16 PM
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Mr. Gupta, your restatement of the progressive party line, that democrats suffered great losses because the American people did not know what Obama had done, is a laugh. What happened in this election demonstrates that, indeed, the American people knew exactly what the administration, with the aid of congress, had done. And they did not like it one bit. It will take decades to undo what Obama and the democrat controlled congress did in the past 2 years.

The American people learned that what they heard from the mainstream media was only what the progressives wanted the unwashed, those who cling to their guns and religion, those in fly-over country, those who love America, to hear: that was a coverup.

Obama did us a favor. He woke up the American people.

Posted by: Slardybardfast | November 3, 2010 10:18 AM
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President Obama should acknowledge that Christine O'Donnell is kind of hot, and that any man who did not vote for her is a girl trapped in a man's body.

Posted by: hsr143 | November 3, 2010 9:31 AM
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President Obama has proven himself to be ineffectual. If he were decent, he would resign and let Biden attempt to repair what is left of the presidency.

Posted by: DarrylScott | November 3, 2010 9:08 AM
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The President is a good talker, but he lacks both substance and conviction. He needs to get out of campaign mode, stop talking, and listen. After so many staged performances, few people are tuning in to the same old, tired, empty rhetoric.

Posted by: sdl63 | November 3, 2010 2:30 AM
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Yes I agree that Obama's team hasn't been proactive in rallying the troops the way he did in the election season. I think it was a mistake to have Rahm Emmanuel run the white house and he was too defensive towards the true Power and Money. He DOES deserve more respect, but his team I think shook the hands with too many devils and then I agree with Robbyl's comment that creates a sick insidious control from what feels like a corrupt Evil. I think the Dems are to blame also as says Bill Mayr. It is proven the true Centre of this country is NOT a 'moderate Dem' - it's actually NOT represented by either party. Those who vote GOP do NOT represent the majority of the country. If everyone voted, Dems would win... but they don't have the answer unless it's progressive. Contrary to what the pundits say, it has been proven the majority are less bigoted and divisive than the GOP money that brainwashes those who DO vote to vote based on fear and paranoia that is fed by lies. Neither party is representing the antidote to the oppression of the oligarchy of the corporate multinationals that are destroying any chance of democracy in our world. Indeed the Bloger Rita's list was right when she said the real fight today is not D vs R but Individuals vs. the Corporation!

"If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."
Samuel Adams

Posted by: JewelsSolheim | November 3, 2010 12:13 AM
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The level of disrespect for our President is heartbreaking. The evil that has occupied this Country with it's oppressive policies continues to undermine, and sabotage what are "good" "fair characteristics of Obama. His intelligence offends some. Watch as we ascend to HELL under the guidance of the Republicans. The backstabbing Democrats didn't take long to abandom him also and fall into their selfish criticism and blind hatred of him. Just give minorities their 40 acres and a mule that was promised and stolen from the Native Americans by you devils and we'll get the HELL OUT OF AMERICA.

Posted by: robbylynnwarren | November 2, 2010 11:31 PM
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Mr. Gupta:
I agree that it was telling when President Obama commented that the public wasn't aware of the accomplishments of his administration but for a different reason. I believe Mr. Obama is out of touch with the public because we are aware of the accomplishments of his administration and do not like what has been done. He has done a good job of communicating...the wrong message.

Posted by: kbcuz1 | November 2, 2010 11:04 PM
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