Seth Kahan
Author, consultant

Seth Kahan

Change expert and author who has advised executives in 50-plus organizations, including Shell, World Bank, Peace Corps and NASA. He can be reached at


Challenges ahead

Question: Will President Obama and congressional Democrats pay a price for their success in passing landmark health care legislation? How often does success prove hazardous to people's careers or backfire in unexpected ways?

Answer: In politics just as in the world, success lasts only moments. Then the great swirling collection of cross-currents kicks in and anything can happen. Yes, the Democrats will face fallout. Yes, there will be retribution by some, including anger and I-told-you-so's when things don't go smoothly - which they won't.

All that said, health-care reform will take its place in the same category as Social Security in '35 and Medicare in '65. It rockets the nation into a new league of social responsibility that puts us on par, once again, with other great nations.

Obama has succeeded, and the nation will now get behind this initiative as it becomes law. Just as fast as they can, businesses will learn how to use the policy to their advantage and people will gather to harvest their benefits. The world turns as discourse becomes rule.

This is not the defining moment in Obama's career. He is still a young president. It is, however, for many Democrats. They will mark their careers with this historic passage, and the nuances of their stands will color their legacy.

What is important now is the business before us as a nation. There is much to be done, many bridges to be crossed, partisan rancor not the least among them. It is a hard time to be an American.

By Seth Kahan  |  March 21, 2010; 10:42 PM ET  | Category:  costly success Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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