I was riveted to the television coverage of the Inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. What does that have to do with Customer Connection? I’m not really sure, but I decided to write about it anyway.
The historic inauguration yesterday captivated the entire United States, if not the world. Never before has a President of the United States assumed office with such popularity and fanfare. He’s going to need all the help he can get with so many critical decisions to be made in the traditional "first 100 days."
There are some great traditions about the transition of power in the United States—the pomp and circumstance, the swearing in precisely at noon, Washington D.C. time, the parade back to the White House, and all of the balls and parties in the evening. The most amazing thing about it is how transparent, peaceful, and unencumbered the process is. This tradition of transition, started by George Washington turning the presidency over to John Adams, makes our federal government look very efficient and smoothly run.
For this specific transition there is so much more to behold—the first African-American President, a man who was raised by a single mom and his grandparents, and a man who defeated a long list of other challengers, both within his party and in the opposition, who now appears to have what it takes to bring everyone back together. Barack Obama’s story reinforces that the American dream endures, that anything is possible, that it matters much less “who” you are than “what” you are, and that every individual should be permitted the opportunity to dream their own dream and aim high.
So what does this entire inauguration have to do with the business of customer advocacy? I guess nothing really except that I know I found inspiration in it. Being a customer advocate, especially in these uncertain economic times, can be tough. If we should ever start to believe that the cause of customer focus is not worth the effort, or the obstacles we face are too great, or that the resources we have to do our jobs are not enough, we can turn to look at this new President and to what he has just accomplished.
I was struck with a new spirit of optimism yesterday—not only for the passion I have for creating customer focused companies, but for our country and the world. Good luck to President Obama and good luck to all customer advocates! I really do believe our best days are still ahead.
This post was originally published January 21, 2009 in Customer Connection.