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Jim Kouzes

Jim Kouzes

Jim Kouzes is the Dean’s Executive Professor of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University, and the coauthor with Barry Posner of the internationally award-winning and best-selling book, The Leadership Challenge.


Question: From a leadership perspective--moving the country and the political process away from division and gridlock and toward consensus, confidence and action--how would you grade President Obama's State of the Union speech?

While President Obama began his State of the Union address with an appeal to cooperation and working together, his central challenge to the members of Congress and the nation was creating jobs (mentioned 25 times) through innovation and ideas (19 references).

Simple messages like this have more staying power than rambling laundry lists of new initiatives. Perhaps the best moment of the speech was at the end when President Obama quoted the drilling equipment company employee who said, "We proved that Center Rock is a little company, but we do big things." He repeated that line twice more before he concluded. It's a compelling message we should all repeat many times a day. We may be only one person, but we can do big things. That's the kind of spirit that builds new businesses, solves difficult problems, overcomes great adversities and creates a sustainable future. It's strong, it's positive and it's inspiring. And we should take it seriously.

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By Jim Kouzes

 |  January 26, 2011; 10:02 AM ET
Category:  Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The speech was great, but America needs more than words. It’s time for our leaders to lead and do the people’s will. Our country is facing a mess and we, as this article (http://www.upyourservice.com/learning-library/customer-service-standards/are-you-a-real-professional) suggests, could really benefit from professionals (not just politicians) standing up to lead.

Posted by: Julie-Ann1 | January 29, 2011 4:45 PM
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