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POLITICS AND MANAGEMENT July 29, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in European Politics, US Politics.
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Sometimes politics meets management in a way that for example Tom Peters would appreciate. On his just concluded trip Obama could to meet the movers and shakers of European politics. The very same ones, such as President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkell, would seemed not be around when McCain came calling. Obama also meet Brown in London, who if the recent Glasgow by-election, which was won by SNP, is a bellwether, is gone. His meeting with Conservative Leader, David Campbell, included a significant snippet caught by the ubiquitous open mike.

Andrew Grice in The Independent includes in his account of the Tories new political mantra to be repackaged at later date for Australia his report of the private conversation between Obama and Cameron:

It is a curse that afflicts all political leaders: having no time to think. Gordon Brown often does his thinking at the crack of dawn because his diary is so full. And a remarkable conversation when David Cameron met Barack Obama on Saturday was picked up by an ABC News microphone.

Cameron: Do you have a break at all?

Obama: Actually the most important thing you need to do is to have big chunks of time during the day when all you’re doing is thinking … The biggest mistake that a lot of these folks make is just feeling as if you have to be…

Cameron: These guys just chalk up your diary.

Obama: Right. In 15-minute increments …

Cameron: We call it the dentist’s waiting room. You have to scrap that … you’ve got to have time.

Obama: And … well you start making mistakes, or you lose the big picture, or you lose a sense of, I think you lose a feel …

Cameron: Your feeling. And that is exactly what politics is all about. The judgement you bring to make decisions.

As I recall on a recent post Tom Peters was recommending managers to set aside more unstructured time.

The New York Times picked up on the same recording. I have to say, not withstanding what I regard as misguided waffle of some of his recent rhetoric and political positioning, I am taken with Obama’s off hand comment which they reported:

That’s exactly right. And the truth is that we’ve got a bunch of smart people, I think, who know 10 times more than we do about the specifics of the topics. And so if what you’re trying to do is micromanage and solve everything then you end up being a dilettante, but you have to have enough knowledge to make good judgments about the choices that are presented to you.

The difference with the incumbent, given the inevitable turmoil of the campaign, may be enough for Obama to be elected. He listens and recognizes the knowledge of others.

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