Obama “plays to lose” by delaying Healthcare Implementation.

Obama Plays to Lose again. Delays Healthcare Reform implementation. This is a demonstration of ineffective and poor leadership. Some Democrats say they are stunned, blindsided, and confused that this decision was made with no information provided by the White House and while the President was in Africa.
Oh, by the way, did you know the Democrats won the election and corporations are at record high profits. Obama’s decision again puts the Democrats on defense and says to the Republicans  and naysayers on Health care reform you were right. The Republicans now have another year to try to make the delay permanent. This is another non-assertive and fearful decision by a President who has no swagger.
When we needed to push forward with a positive message and strong execution for the rights of millions without Healthcare the President looks in the mirror losses his nerve and says no we must wait.
As a progressive this is very disappointing and a big setback. I don’t want to hear more excuses of why this policy was going to be difficult to implement. What we need is an implementation team to act forcefully and implement changes as we go. All change can be difficult but it goes no where with out action. Maybe the President needs to ponder and reflect on what Peter Drucker, the father of modern Management and Leadership said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”  So how do we create the future by backing away from taking constructive action on Healthcare ?
Where is the courage and confidence to say, to the foot dragging Republicans, Healthcare is a “right for all” American citizens. Want to learn more about “playing to lose vs. playing to win see Life Principle #4  from my emerging Handbook on Living a Meaningful Life.

Daily Quote: and Reflection: Insights and Social Advocacy from Consumer Perspective

Daily Quote: “For a person with mental illness, the challenge is to find the life that’s right for you. But in truth, isn’t that the challenge for all of us, mentally ill or not?”Dr. Elyn Saks, from her book, The Center Cannot Hold.

Reflection:Very moving speech detailing,one highly functioning person’s, long difficult struggle with Schizophrenia and Mental Illness. Dr. Saks, insightful, sad and realistic story makes me want to help more with this devastating disease.  Here is her heart felt and insightful speech at the University of Virginia Law School http://www.law.virginia.edu/html/news/2009_spr/saks.htm

What are your reactions?  

Note: Dr. Elyn Saks is the Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at USC’s Gould School of Law, an adjunct professor of Psychiatry at the UCSD School of Medicine, and assistant faculty at the New Center for Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles. In 2009, she received the MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant.” Despite battling schizophrenia and acute psychosis since she was a teenager, Saks is a nationally recognized scholar in mental health law, criminal law and the ethical dimensions of medical research.

After decades of hiding her illness, Saks published a memoir about her struggles and successes in The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness (Hyperion, 2007). The book won far-reaching acclaim from literary critics and advocacy groups.

Daily Quote And Reflection: Top Athletes and Singers have Coaches–Why not You?

Quote:” Elite performers, researchers say, must engage in “deliberate practice”—sustained, mindful efforts to develop the full range of abilities that success requires. You have to work at what you’re not good at. In theory, people might be able to use self-coaching, but most people do not know where to start or how to proceed. Expertise, as the formula goes, requires going from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence to conscious competence and finally to unconscious competence. The coach provides the outside eyes and ears, and makes you aware of where you’re falling short. This is tricky. Human beings resist exposure and critique; our brains are well defended. So coaches use a variety of approaches—showing what other, respected colleagues do, for instance, or reviewing videos of the subject’s performance. The most common, however, is just conversation.” Top Athletes and Singers have Coaches. Should you? Atul Gawande


Action Challenge: Given that we can all improve our skills the question for you in the next week is to identify–What areas would you like a coach to assist or provide feedback on so that you can become a more effective professional? 

After the Mid-Terms: Obama’s Leadership Imperatives

"America was not built on fear. America was built  on courage, 
on imagination and unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." Harry Truman 1947

As President Obama offers another olive branch and marshmallows one wonders if he understands the war for the soul of our Representative Republic he is in the mist of.  Maybe he just wants to be known as a nice guy. His new strategy is the one  he has been taking for two years-"Let's all just get along". I guarantee you this will not work when the Republicans are spouting off about the goals for their governing strategy--defeat Obama and take this country back to the future with more tax cuts for the wealthy and dismantling the New Deal cornerstones Social Security and Medicare. Maybe taking a page out of Harry Truman's  approach would suggest another and more assertive way to handle the party of "No"--Let's get the job done. Continue reading "After the Mid-Terms: Obama’s Leadership Imperatives"

No Easy Victories: Obama’s Personal Leadership Style

“Life never was a series of easy victories (not even a series of hard victories). We can’t win every round or arrive at a neat solution to every problem. But driving, creative effort to solve problems is the breath of life, for civilization or an individual.”  John Gardner

Recently, I talked about President Obama’s leadership style in the HCR debate. He delegated authority to the House and Senate and expected reasonable debate to provide a consensus bill. What were the reasons for this approach? Let me speculate on a few:  Was he timid or  naive to assume and trust the Senate and House members would do what was right for the American people ? Miscalculation of the support for HCR in the ranks of the Dems? An overreaction to the process used by Bill Clinton’s attempt to pass HCR? An over estimation that persuasion, olive branches and evidence of need would work to bring Republicans around ? Or just arrogance of the White House about the power and authority of the Presidency? An underestimation of the gullibility of “low information” people like the  Tea Party crowd who seem to believe everything from death panels to government take over by the “right-wing talkers” and obstructionist? Lack of understanding of the power of fear? Or lack of effective leadership, organizing and understanding of the process of a complex change process as defined by Dr.Kurt Lewin, who said the following about the complexity of changing the status quo : ” Unfortunately, some people will genuinely be harmed by change, particularly those who benefit strongly from the status quo. Others may take a long time to recognize the benefits that change brings. You need to foresee and manage these situations.” Continue reading “No Easy Victories: Obama’s Personal Leadership Style”

President Obama arrives as Advocate In Chief

Our advocate has arrived. Finally, there is some listening and action on the needs and expectation of all Americans at the White House—solve our problems and produce results. By being an advocate the President can rebuild trust and credibility with the folks who elected him; ensure positive change by meeting and exceeding constituents expectations and adding value to their “quality of life” not pain; and build an empathic government through listening and acting on priority problems; such as HCR and more jobs… and more Continue reading “President Obama arrives as Advocate In Chief”

Health Care Reform–Obama’s Hail Mary

Where has President Obama been on pushing for a robust Health Care Reform (HCR)? The wait and see what the Congress produces approach is now in the 11th hour and President Obama needs a “hail mary pass” to produce a bill that will pass. We now have “pro-life” and “anti-immigration” blue dog dems fighting amongst themselves.  This “laissez-faire” approach to leadership has left a void filled by “status quo” dems to “do nothing Republicans”. Let’s review view this failed strategy that now threatens Obama’s presidency. We stand on the brink of having a Bill Clinton or a true reformer like FDR. As a progressive, independent I would prefer FDR’s style or LBJ’s to this let’s see what happens hands off approach by Obama’s team. Where is the passion and committment displayed and talked about during the campaign? Continue reading “Health Care Reform–Obama’s Hail Mary”

Reflection #21: A Model for Leadership– Alan Grayson a Profile in Courage

“Words are like heavy burdens for some. Like rocks or weights on your back. If birds talked they might not fly.” 

President Obama is carrying a heavy burden in trying to live up to his lofty words–Change You can believe in, Yes, we can etc and now the  Nobel Peace Prize adds to the expectations. An example of “high expectations” is Health Care Reform.  His promise during the campaign season on Universal Health has morphed many times during the last nine months.  At first, the talk was about the need and right of all Americans to Health Care through an ambitious and long over due single payer system like “Medicare for All”.  The “Single-payer” idea was thrown under the bus before it was even given a chance, then a public option to provide competition for insurance companies is being attacked by opponents as a government takeover and a Co-Op Health System was too hard to figure out. So, the latest compromise being discussed is to just let the States choose whether to adopt a public option or not. What a mess is created when there is little leadership shown on driving a simple, clear, and consistent message.  As we all know words are cheap, but action and follow-through are hard because it requires courage, risk, and an understandable message delivered over and over again.

Obama and his team seem to be ready to settle for any bill so they can  justify the time and political capital spent on this intractable problem. Maybe they need to reflect on this powerful message from Eric Hoffer, long time change philosopher and longshoremen. Hoffer said: “In human affairs every solution only sharpens the problem, to show us more clearly what we are up against, there are no FINAL SOLUTIONS.”  

President Obama the time for leadership is now. Leaders Serve Period, so no more waiting for others to carry the burden of action. You and your team must step-up, people are dying everyday. The following speech by Alan Grayson, House Rep from Florida, demonstrates the assertive and “profiles in courage” we need. Please Mr. President show this to your team and stop fiddling around. 

Attention Doctors: Sticky Presentations more Important than just Talking

 “The ability to express an idea is well nigh as important as the idea itself.” Bernard Baruch

  A sticky message is one that’s understood by the audience or receiver, remembered, and that changes something (opinions, behaviors, values). Presentations can be either formal (keynote) or informal (Grand Rounds).  As a  doctor, when presenting or teaching, you’re on the front lines of conveying information and knowledge.  Every single time you deliver a roundtable, lunch and learn, and a dinner meeting, you’ve got to get up in front of colleagues and make ideas stick. The question you need to ask yourself–Is what do you want them to take or learn from the speech? And let’s face it, this is no easy mission. Few doctors look forward to another dinner meeting unless the wine is good and the food is first rate, they anticipate and are ready for the latest info on a new wonder drug for solving or abating the impact of a disease on their patients.

 1. Make the message tangible and relevant. Stories and examples are the critical foundation for sticky presentations. Stories provide a realistic context and hook for the audience

If you use only one tip, this is the one. The #1 mistake we’ve observed in presentations—and there is no close second—is that the message is too abstract. The presenter offers concepts and conclusions but not evidence. He talks at a high level about the big picture, but gives no concrete details that might make the big picture understandable and plausible. He may sprinkle in a few stories or examples, but they are treated like garnish. Most people communicate with, say, 3 parts exposition to 1 part example. That’s exactly backwards. In a compelling presentation, examples aren’t garnish, they’re the entrée.

A presentation is a sequence of concrete examples and stories that snap together to form a compelling argument. For instance, think of the examples that Al Gore used in his movie An Inconvenient Truth: The before and after photos of Mt. Kilimanjaro, showing the vanishing snow caps. The simulated satellite images of Manhattan flooded by rising sea levels. In Michael Moore’s Sicko, he doesn’t make conceptual points about the health care system—he makes his case through the stories of individuals, like the carpenter who accidentally cut off 2 fingers, and then had to choose which finger to reattach since he couldn’t afford to do both!

 2. Execute the 3 C’s–Make the presentation Clear, Concise and Compelling

We know many of you have to present data in your pre­sentations. But because data is pretty abstract, you should resist your temptation to lead with the data or to let the data stand alone. Which is more compelling? Saying that there are “900,000 poor adults with declining eyesight in Mumbai, and we need your help to start solving the prob­lem.” Or telling the story above about the 35-year-old weaver, and then saying, “Our research suggests that there are 900,000 stories like this, in Mumbai alone, and we need your help to start solving the problem.” Data are just summaries of thousands of stories—tell a few of those stories to help make the data meaningful.

 3. Get to the Point: Grab and Keep the Audience Attention

 The first mission of a presentation is to grab attention. And the second requirement is to keep that attention. That’s why it’s upsetting to see a speaker violate the Primacy Rule which is remembering that you have about 60 seconds to make a strong first impression. Don’t miss the opportunity by stum­bling out of the blocks with a laborious overview of what’s going to be covered and who you are. This problem is understandable. After all, we’ve all been coached to “Tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em, then tell ‘em, then tell ‘em what you told ‘em.”

 Within the 60 seconds of opening focus the audience’s attention on the challenge, opportunity or issue to be discussed. Eliminate irrelvant jokes and a slow start. Presenters like actors in the theater must be ready the moment you take the stage.

 4. Let your main points shine in the spotlight–focus on the critical 2-3 things you want them to take away.

 If you say 9-10 things, you say nothing. You probably lose you audience around # five. Remember the Magic #7 Rule concerning memory. People can only retain 5-9 chunks of information at one session. Stop flooding them with information and numbers. Stick to your MAIN POINT.. Are you giving the spotlight to your most important points? Here are two quick tests: What percentage of your speaking time is going to those points? And what percentage of your slides are dedicated to them? If you’re not spending at least half of your time and your visuals on the core of your message, you’re probably trying to accomplish too much.  

 5. Open and Authentic Communication 

One of the main reasons why people do not take the time to provide feedback is that they do not believe any action will result from the communication. Let audience members know that you have listened and that you will respond. Don’t just give lip service to support and continuous improvement. 

6. Listen, Ask and Problem Solve. Don’t Tell and Sell

  Hook them before trying to land them in the boat. Curosity and interest must come before data and content. Before your audience will value the information you’re giving, they’ve got to want it. Demand has to come before supply.  Most presenters take the audience’s desire to listen and care for granted, but that’s a big mistake. Great presentations are mysteries, not encyclopedia entries. Sticky message must be surprising,, raise curiousity and Cool.

Example of Sticky Presentations:  JFK Man on Moon, FDR Only thing to “Fear is Fear itself,” Death Panels etc. How about this one for the Dems: Why Health Care Reform–People first–Profits second 450% increase in insurance companies profits last 10 years. Enough said (Show visual chart of insurance profits and average company profits accross industries.) Tellstories of people dying ( 22/day 140 /week  460/month and 44,000/year. Highlight a few with real people telling their stories about their pain and non-responsiveness of insurance companies. Telling powerful stories is the best way to convey a sticky message that the audience understand it, we remember it, and we can retell it later. If people believe a message is credible and true, it might change attitudes or behavior permanently.

Yes, We Can Leadership on Health Care Reform–Where are the “Profiles in Courage”? Where is the Public Rage?

Baucus Plan is not a “profile in courage” but in cowardiness–This so call reform bill being debate and marked-up by the Finance Committee is a waste of time and a joke. This bill is a give away to the Insurance and Big Pharma and a tax on the middle income. What has Baucus been doing all these months? Most of us would have been fired if we were showing such incompetence in our jobs. It appears that he has been negotiating with himself. Continue reading “Yes, We Can Leadership on Health Care Reform–Where are the “Profiles in Courage”? Where is the Public Rage?”