Tag Archive for 'president'

President Lincoln’s leadership continues to impress

This month marks the 206th birthday of America’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln’s life and hard times continue to inspire generation after generation of leaders and followers so much that 150 years after his death Honest Abe is still one of the most important individuals in the history of the United States.

Lincoln’s story is especially important for small business owners. Every day along the business ownership continuum, from startup to locking up for the last time, Main Street merchants can draw strength and inspiration from the uncomplicated and honest witness of Lincoln’s character.


CC Photo via Pixabay

But, ironically, beyond his leadership record, we’re perhaps more inspired by how he persevered in the face of painful adversity and professional failures. Consider this partial list of Lincoln’s life challenges:

•  Failed in business in 1831 and 1833

•  Defeated for state legislator in 1832

•  Fiancee died in 1835

•  Had a nervous breakdown in 1836

•  Ran for Congress in 1843 and ’48; lost both races

•  Ran for the Senate in 1855 and ’59; lost both races

•  Ran for Vice President in 1856 and lost

•  Buried two of his four beloved sons

•  Elected President in 1860 as America’s house divided and dissolved into “a great civil war”Reading this list, one is overwhelmed by two emotions:

1.  Sadness - that any one person would experience so many unfortunate things;

2.  Admiration - that in the face of such adversity, anyone could accomplish so much.

Nine years after critics wrote him off as a political player, Lincoln accomplished leadership feats and professional successes that were nothing short of heroic. And for these, history recognizes him as one of America’s greatest presidents.

As 2015 unfolds, if you’re ever tempted to slump into a self-involved pity party because the marketplace licked the red off your candy, go back and reread Lincoln’s failures and setbacks. This time you might feel two other emotions:

1.   Shame - that you allowed yourself to lapse into a funk;

2.   Renewed perseverance – now realizing that, like Lincoln, as long as you’re alive, every new day you show up to work on your business and life could be the day you turn the corner and win the war.

Lincoln taught us that often the difference between bold accomplishment and painful setback is the courage, character and diligence to persevere.

Write this on a rock …

There is no better model of courage, character and perseverance than Abraham Lincoln. Let his life inspire yours.

Inconvenient foreign policy hashtags

@PresidentObama: “Today the world is less violent and more tolerant than it has ever been.”
     #Syria  #IranianGreenMovement  #9IslamicCountriesPersecuteChristians
     #Benghazi  #BokoHaram

@PresidentObama: “The reset button with Russia has worked.”
     #Crimea  #Ukraine

@PresidentObama: “The United States is ready to respond to China’s aggression toward its neighbors.”
     #RedlineForAssad  #NuclearIran  #SeeCrimea  #SeeUkraine

@PresidentObama: “We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq.”

@JimBlasingame: What happens when a nation’s foreign policy is always defined by others?

@JimBlasingame: The wages of the Obama Doctrine are being coined and spent by forces that won’t trade with those who value life and liberty.
     #LeadingFromBehind  #Feckless  #Impotent  #Predictable

@JimBlasingame: The Obama Doctrine is approaching global critical mass.

Thanks for being part of my community. I’ll see you on the radio and the Internet.

Small Business Advocate Poll: Romney and Ryan

The Question:
Mitt Romney has chosen Wisconsin Congressman, Paul Ryan, as his VP running mate. What do you think about this decision?

71% - I Great choice! Ryan will energize the GOP base and attract independents.

18% - Bad choice for Romney - good choice for Obama.

11% - Doesn’t matter - the VP candidate isn’t important.

My Comments:
One of the most widely speculated upon and most anxiously awaited announcements for the past several months, has been who Mitt Romney would choose as his Vice Presidential running-mate.

The short list included Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Marco Rubio of Florida, and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Each gentleman has critical credentials - both politically and tactically - that placed them on this short list, but none had a longer list of plusses and minuses on their balance sheet than Ryan.

Consequently, when Romney announced that Ryan was his choice, it was seen as bold and gutsy by some and suicidal by others. Because the good Congressman’s thought-leadership resulted in positions and proposals for how to get America’s fiscal house in order, conservatives call him hero and liberals call him dangerous.

We wanted to know what our small business audience thought about this pick, so last week in our online poll, we asked this question: “Mitt Romney has chosen Wisconsin Congressman, Paul Ryan, as his VP running mate. What do you think about this decision?” Here’s what we learned:

One-in-six of our respondents said, “Bad choice for Romney - good choice for Obama,” while a little more than one-in-ten allowed that it, “Doesn’t matter - the VP candidate isn’t important.” But the big group, coming in a 71%, said, “Great choice! Ryan will energize the GOP base and attract independents.”

There are two things that Romney’s opponents are worried about with regard to Ryan: 1) He’s VERY smart; and 2) he’s very likeable. Apparently even those who vehemently disagree with his positions like him, including President Clinton.

Since Ryan is from a state that hasn’t helped a Republican presidential candidate in almost 30 years, this choice cannot be seen as a politically strategic one, as the Hispanic Floridian, Rubio, would have been. So that means Ryan was a tactical choice - based more on substance than positioning.

Unlike the 11% of our sample who discount the VP impact, I predict that over the next 11 weeks Ryan’s participation will move the electorate needle. Watching which way it moves will be interesting political theater.


Yesterday on The Small Business Advocate Show I talked more about Paul Ryan as Romney’s VP choice and the impact on the election. Take a few minutes to download or listen and let me know if you agree.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Small Business Advocate Poll: Are we wishing our lives away?

The Question:
How much do you think the economy is being affected by businesses and consumers waiting to see who the next president is?

2% - Not at all

74% - A lot

24% - Probably somewhat

My Commentary:
Just as it seemed we might be getting some wind under the wings of this economy, it looks like it’s starting to lose altitude. Of course, there are many reasons, including high energy prices, high unemployment, loss of confidence in big banks, and the crisis in the Eurozone, just to name a few.

But the elephant in economic recovery’s living room is presidential politics. Never in my life - not even when Carter ran for reelection in 1980 - has there been such anxiety about who was going to be the next president.

We wanted to know just how big this issue was, so last week we asked you this question: “How much do you think the economy is being affected by businesses and consumers waiting to see who the next president is?” Here’s what you said.

A tiny part of our respondents - 2% - said “Not at all,” and a little less than one in four said the election is “Somewhat” influencing economic decisions. But the big group - 74% - said election anxiety was affecting business and consumer buying decisions “a lot.”

A long time ago I made the decision not to wish my life away, so I don’t want to start now. But I’m afraid my vote on this one goes with the majority. I’m ready to get this election over.


I talked about the economy and how it is affecting buying decisions by businesses and consumers on my radio show, The Small Business Advocate.  Click here to download or listen.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

The great expectations of the presidency of Barack Obama

There is much excitement about Barack Obama becoming the 44th President of the United States. It’s a remarkable moment in American history on many levels.

• In America, we select the future leadership of our government with plenty of healthy political passion and debate, but without physical conflict. It’s not unique in the world, but the United States is the world’s template for this kind of transition.

• Barack Obama is the first black American to be elected to the presidency. Enough said.

• Who can remember when any presidency – even John Kennedy’s – began with as much anticipation and hope?

• Who can remember when any presidency began with such great expectations?

It’s that last point that I think is really the most remarkable. As Americans, we have to guard against placing so much expectation on the performance of one person. Clearly there are certain things we expect our President to do, not the least of which is to take the steps to protect us from being attacked by our enemies. And we want our President to lead with a positive and patriotic attitude that sets the tone for the nation.

But as we anticipate the promise of Barack Obama’s tenure as President, Americans should take stock of our own responsibility as participants and producers of our society and marketplace, and as beneficiaries of the bounty of our great land and republic. Let’s spend more time looking inward at our own roles in our future success.

At the core of our national values is the belief in and desire for self-determination. But the wages of self-determination is self-responsibility. Our success as individuals and that of our nation depends more on each of us individually and collectively as a society than on any president. I think Barack Obama knows this. I pray that this will be his requirement of us as he governs.

Tim Berry, President of Palo Alto Software (www.paloalto.com)and long-time Brain Trust member, and I took a few minutes to talk about this on my small business radio program. Listen to our comments and let us know what you think. This one is only about 6 minutes.

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