Financial Planning | Leadership / Management | Technology & Social Media

Be cool, be social, be the change: Lessons from Barack Inc.

Barack Inc I was reminded of this book by one of my Twitter friends, @dahowlett, who tweets, "If anyone is running a recovery conference, get me to talk. I'm tired of this BS cut, cut, cut thinking - think smart."

Dennis is right: We need to worry about the present AND focus on the future at the same time. There is almost an obsession with the current conditions to the point that we are entering a doom loop -- a downward spiral to the bottom.

Which brings me to Jackie Brown and the book Barack, Inc. Jackie saw a recent webcast by Don Tapscott (author of Wikinomics) and Barry Libert on social media strategy (Mzinga) and they referenced this book, which she recommended for me. I read it and took copious notes on my trip to the Pearson-Phase Conference in San Diego. I also think it gets to Dennis' idea of "let's think smart" and get out of this economic mess.

Authors Libert and Rick Faulk provide some great insights from the historic campaign and election of President Barack Obama. Regardless of your political views, this book provides some valuable lessons that are extremely relevant in today's topsy turvy world. Think of it as a handbook for the new era of business in which transparency, sustainability and even doing good are as important as making a reasonable profit.

Here are the top three lessons from the book:

  1. Be cool. Stay focused on what matters most and avoid the distractions and sideshows. This is a major trait of the best leaders and extremely important today: Remain calm in the face of danger and uncertainty.
  2. Be social. Business is social; it is all about people and relationships. Social media can accelerate and deepen those relationships. This also means communication and compassion, especially in these difficult times when layoffs and changes are the norm.
  3. Be the change. Change is inevitable; embrace and embody it. Flip it to think of change as a business opportunity. How do you change your organization to embrace change and look for opportunities, even in the midst of constant turmoil? "Change is the engine of business, the power of growth and progress."

My favorite quote of the book, which sums it all up, is this: "If you see a major change on the horizon, ask if it represents a better way of doing business. If it is, don't just walk, run to embrace the new change."

And to answer Dennis' question, we are!

We are currently planning our second Maryland Business Expo to be a true "recovery" conference, a conference that intends to bring together the Maryland community under the theme of "Collaborate - Innovate - Grow!"

We will be bringing together partnerships from the government, non-profit and private sectors with sessions that focus on surviving and thriving during the recession. But perhaps even more important, we will hold innovative sessions and exhibitors featuring lean, XBRL, transparency, financing, and understanding the current economic realities, all from the viewpoint of planning for the future -- or the recovery. 

We plan to wrap social media tools around this theme so we can hear from thought leaders who are using these tools to stay ahead of the competition. We will use these tools to engage this community for our common good, before, during and after the Expo.

What do you think about these leadership principles? What about our recovery conference idea?

Dennis, Barry or Don, if you are listening, wanna come to Baltimore on June 16 to join us in the recovery?