YOUR Inaugural Address

Dear Friends,

My wife delivered her Inaugural address yesterday, as she began her second and final term as Governor of the State of Michigan. It made me think that every leader ought to write an inaugural speech, and better yet deliver one.

Jennifer had a great line in her speech: “You know the Michigan that is. Believe in the Michigan that will be.” What a great template for each of us who is inaugurating a new year! So, I’d say to you: you know “your team that is,” or you know “your family that is,” or you know “the organization you are in,” or even: “you know the self you are.” So then, I’d ask, “What’s the team, family, organization or self that you believe should and can come to be?”

Here’s an outline for the inaugural address I would share with all the people that I lead, with whom I lead, and who lead me. Here’s what I believe:

• I live in a world where my teenagers depend on (and simultaneously push against) their parents. I believe in a world where my children freely choose the lives they want to lead, the decisions that will get them there, the things and people they will say no to, and those they will eagerly embrace.

• I live in a world where so many “staff people” do their jobs, keeping the wheels greased and the air in the tires. I believe in a world where everyone leads and designs and creates, each caring for the whole as much as the owner or boss or director does; believing in their right to care for it all, and trying all the time to increase the goodness and energy of the shop or the neighborhood, the church or the school or the business where they work.

• I live in a world where managers at times act out of fear and spend a lot of time keeping people in the lines, in the boxes, in their places, but I really believe in a world where managers share information, grow their teams, enlarge people’s territories, laugh at themselves, set goals that move people outside the box and work like crazy to help their people hit those goals.

• I live in a world where I still carry around resentments, regrets, fears and anxieties. I believe in a world where I can let go of that past guck and instead be in the moment and bring my best efforts to see what’s there, to love what’s there, and to contribute as best I can.

• I live in a family (both the one of my parents, and the one my wife and I started) where I and others gravitate to an attitude of seeing the others as having something we want (things, affection, attention, support, etc.). I believe in a world of family where we each look primarily to give to each other and thus create a surplus, an abundance of good from which we share.

• I live in a state that divides by race and class, by union and management, by left and right, by one creed from another, but I believe in a Michigan where we see that we have greater commonalities than differences, that we have a richness of perspectives that can be a blessing more than a curse, and that now is the time for us to come together to work to create opportunity for all of our citizens.

There’s a lot of work to leading. But it starts with a picture of where you’re heading. What would your inaugural address be about? As you set your goals for 2 double-oh-seven, where are you leading those you care about? What’s the world that you believe in?

You’ve got to see it to lead with your best self!

Dan