It’s interesting, 12 months ago while the world waited for a new President to appear in the United States, I was on radio across the US saying business people across the country here needed to simply claim some personal responsibility for their destiny, put their head down and the tails up, and run their own race regardless of a new guy in the Whitehouse.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s monumental that society has evolved so much since Martin Luther King Jr’s speech was delivered in August 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. Even though I was only months old at the time, to think that we can go from one man's dream to another’s reality in one lifetime is extraordinary, and a true gauge of how the world is evolving. Or put more simplistically, how the world has just grown up.
As I stood listening and watching President Elect Obama’s acceptance speech, I felt this was to be one of those moments in my lifetime that I will remember forever. A moment when over a dinner table with friends one will answer the question, ‘where were you when…?'
However, it did take us 146 years to get there. It was 1 January 1863 when Lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation setting a path to the end of slavery, a document that was signed just around the corner from where President Obama took his oath of office.
Today, as we face our own personal issues right here, right now in business we simply don’t have that luxury of time. Years ago, these two very important gentlemen in American history chose to create change, not wait for it to happen around them. And now it is our turn to do the same.
We can’t spend another 12 months sitting back and waiting for President Obama to fix all of the problems of the economy, deliver a stunning unemployment figure and have the entire country back at work, have the banks toe the line, and believe he can change the world before the Easter Bunny comes.
That’s almost believable as the Bunny himself. And it would be a business bunny to believe otherwise.
If we’re to get through these next 12 months in business, we need to do it on our own. Because nobody is going to be able to facilitate change faster than you in your own business, no matter what the politicians tell you, anywhere in the world.
It’s time to claim responsibility and just get on with it. If we don’t, we destined to simply stop, fall over, and die. I mean, just take a look back over the last 12 months in the face of economic change while everyone has been pointing the finger. Think about it.
The Democrats have been saying it’s the Republicans fault for not seeing the signs.
The Republicans have been saying the fat cat bankers have been irresponsible and taking huge salaries for making poor decisions.
The banks are saying they are doing their best to weather an international storm driven, in part, by the sub prime issues.
Well, for sure the banks did lend money irresponsibly to customers that could not pay it back.
The customers took that money irresponsibly knowing full well they would struggle to pay it back.
The politicians, all of them, from both parties, sat back and watched this happen, all the while knowing full well that there is an economic cycle.
The business world sat back and let the consumer spend the money irresponsibly rubbing their hands together and taking advantage of the business boom, knowing they too could jump on the gravy train, only then to proceed in many instances to spend the money just as irresponsibly and borrow more from the banks…
Go figure… So who’s at fault… well, in my view the entire country is at fault.
If we are to survive the next 12 months we all need to stop blaming others and start claiming responsibility and just get on with it. We need to stop sitting back and waiting for the next Presidential election, Osama to be found, the stock market to bounce, or a solution to global warming to be found.
Unless you are thinking of becoming President, having dinner with Warren Buffet, or you’ve stumbled across Thomas Edison’s notebook, then there’s not a lot you can do to facilitate change with any of those actions. But you can take responsibility for your own actions.
As we enter the second year of the new president in office, it's encouraging to see that the country at least now wants to take responsibility for their actions with many of the business people I talk to in a given week chanting that they a are going to just get on with it in 2010.
Troy Hazard is the former global president of the elite Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and Switzers’ resident alien in the United States. He has owned managed and run ten companies in the last two decades; is an international speaker and author of The Naked Entrepreneur.
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