Obama’s Inaugural Speech: A Game Changing Message

Obama’s speech was not soaring rhetoric, rather it had a more profound, game changing message.

He said, “What cynics fail to understand is the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. It’s not whether government is too big or too small, it’s whether it works.”
These are not just word tricks crafted to distract us, these reveal a fundamental observation and core message that encourages and requires all of us to shift to ‘higher order functioning’, instead of more of the same.
You will see Obama’s decisions based upon this higher order functioning in the weeks, months and years to come. The tendency in times of stress is to go back to basics. While some of this is necessary, a defensive posture is not a strategic approach that will actually get us our next edge. Back to basics is not making a fundamental shift.
Translating higher order functioning for kitchen table issues is what matters.
This will not be left wing nor right wing, nor moderates for that matter. Higher order functioning is moving from horses to cars, from typewriters to word processors to computers. We will see the shift to green/alternative energy investments as an example.
Higher order functioning means employing the social psychology of influence, transforming a typical 3% response rate to become 33%, Higher order functioning means employing the psychology of shifting, that turned an airline from $84 million dollar in the red to $30 million dollar in the black by managing interactions. Higher order functioning requires thinking in dimensions that finds real leverage in small actions and decisions, for example, shifting the typical 3 year bank integration to only 9 months. Urgency overruled bureaucracy.
Our country’s Declaration of Independence is itself is a form calling for higher order functioning. The U.S. experiment began with a new world, with a new philosophy of governing. We must again shift the game to higher order functioning, we must shift or the existing house of cards will collapse.
While the language of responsibility and accountability makes a difference on a practical level, in itself it doesn’t achieve higher order functioning. It is the thought process that leaders must cultivate to change the game and provide us with the new responsibilities and accountabilities.
Creating this higher order of functioning is the first order of business.