Like many, I am eagerly awaiting to hear President Obama's final State of the Union address.
Also like many in the business/organizational field, I think it is often helpful to start with the end in mind.
To do that, I've imagined myself as two avatars and what each hopes to have heard by the end of his speech.
The first is as an avatar of the American public and the second is as an avatar of the people tasked to carry out his agenda.
As a representative avatar of the American public, I will be listening for goals in the future that: a. make sense; b. feel right.
Avatar of the American People
By making sense I hope he will lay out a vision and goals that address the greatest challenges facing America including (in no particular order):
- making America safe (or at least safer) against the threat of terrorism
- lessening violence from rampage shootings to domestic violence
- a plan or idea for making our economic system more equitable (bridging the 1%/99% divide)
- a plan or idea for educational reform to make upcoming American youth competitive with the rest of the world technologically
- a way to correct what's wrong with our prison and criminal justice system
- providing a plan or idea for re-establishing (establishing for the first time) equal rights under the law
- a plan for regaining trust, confidence and respect (not to be confused with kowtowing to American "exceptionalism") from the rest of the world
I'm sure I have left out other areas in the list above and hope you'll accept my apology for that oversight and insensitivity. Furthermore I hope you'll add additional concerns in your comments.
Making sense means something that seems informed, thoughtful, rational, relevant, logical and comprehensive in terms of priorities that I agree are important and as such is something I'm willing to cooperate with to make happen.
By feeling right, I'll be listening for something as aspirational as it is ambitious. If it is, that will help lift me up and give me a boost. I also hope that even if I disagree with some things he comes up with, that when I pause, I will be able to say, "That's fair to everyone it affects." By fair I mean not giving more to various special interest groups just because they have paid for that preference or to other groups because they scream and threaten the loudest.
Feeling right gives me a future I'm wanting to cooperate with to make happen.
Avatar of the Doers Who Will Make It happen
Now as an avatar of those individuals who will be tasked with accomplishing the goals he puts forth, I will be listening for whether it's realistic and doable.
Realistic and Doable
Reasonable means something makes sense. Realistic and doable means likely to happen given the personnel, skills, tools and resources that are not just available, but are also accessible to the people charged with carrying out whatever strategies are developed for achieving the goals above.
If the above seem too abstract or irrelevant, imagine yourself as either one of the American people and/or someone tasked with carrying out President Obama's goals for the future. How likely are you to believe and believe in what he says if it doesn't make sense, doesn't feel right and doesn't seem realistic or doable.