I thought it would be interesting to start a thread for reactions to (and impressions of) Obama’s address last night (2/24). Were you inspired? Are you optimistic? Do you believe it? Did it scare you? Whatever.
Watching the speech, there were a few eye-rolling moments. But mostly, I thought it was well delivered, optimistic, a good speech. I found most all of the economic detail to be fairly alarming and dead-wrong. But I found that, watching Obama, you simply want to believe it (even a non-believer like me). You want to be a part of the optimism.
Then today, over breakfast, I read the transcript of the speech. And then I realized that it’s not optimistic at all. Something happens to prepared words when they pass Obama’s lips. That same transformation does not take place when the words are simply printed on the page. I actually found the speech to be fairly partisan, with lip-service paid to non-partisanship.
Try this exercise: Take a pen and circle all of the goals outlined in the speech. Economic recovery. Jobs. Halving the deficit. Health care for all. Tax cuts. Technology. Curing cancer (who can argue with that!?). A safe America. No torture. Budget cuts. A ‘re-imagined’ auto industry. Energy independence. A revived environment. An end to Iraq. A stable Afghanistan. Improved world relations. And much, much more.
Here is my problem: I’m a PMP. I manage a large PMO, multiple projects, etc. I’ve been doing this for about fifteen years and one thing that I have learned - and learned the hard way! - is that if you try to do too many things at once you’ll end up doing a lot of things poorly. You have to prioritize and focus energy and resources (and money). Take your wins one at a time. Each win feeds the next. To do otherwise is folly. Always will be, without exception. Each time a mandate comes down that requires multiple projects to compete for resources, time, and money the projects suffer. It’s never your best effort. It’s simply the best you can do in the circumstance.
Fix the economy. Do it right. Then cure cancer.