This blog comes to you from Birchrunville, a place in the direct line of Hurricane Sandy. As I write this, it’s been raining for hours and the winds are picking up. They say twelve hours from now it will hit with torrential downpour, wind of 30 or 40 miles per hour, and wind gusts up to 80 mph. In addition to the horrendous flooding this will bring, the expectation in Birchrunville is that we will lose power for 4 or 5 days since living in a rural place at the end of the power lines means we lose power often and are the last to be reconnected. By the time you get this, I figure all of this will have happened.
I’ve been closely watching the way various government officials from the President on down, as well as the media have been addressing this ongoing disaster. Heightening the intensity of the actions and reporting is the fact that we are exactly one week away from election day.
It’s been fascinating to watch as everyone calculates the best political reaction to an ongoing and escalating disaster. Luckily we have many commentators and spin doctors vying to come up with the most esoteric ideas for how this impacts the election…as if any of them really have any idea. Their general theory seems to be to not let a disaster affecting 60 million people get in the way of political opportunism.
The nice thing to see is how, for a change, the politicians themselves seem to have realized the gravity of the situation and how this cuts across political differences. Obama is doing what we all expect from the president in times of crisis: overseeing getting our resources mobilized and offering calming words to the country. Romney doesn’t have the ability to do much but is still offering words of encouragement and comfort rather than attacking the ongoing response.
The various governors, mayors, and myriad other officials are working together to ensure all that can be done to prepare…is done. They are actually working together smoothly and speaking with one voice on the need for everyone to stay calm, offering safety advice, and warning against doing anything stupid like picking up electric wires that fall. I find the last a bit mystifying since I figure everyone knows not to pick up main power lines but I suppose it never hurts to remind people of the simple things.
All are working together without any animosity and understand that their differences in viewpoints about things really don’t matter much placed against the need to help protect a large part of the population.
Then there are the commentators. They caught my attention due to their bizarre stupidity and tone deafness. The country is uniting to survive the ongoing storm with just about everyone focused on preparedness or relief efforts…and they are interjecting politics.
What are they thinking? Or are they so wrapped up in their own minds that they have lost the ability to notice what’s going on around him…and what’s most important right now.
Which finally leads me to this disaster and the ongoing response as a wonderful metaphor for building a strong country…or company. With united leadership and a clear vision for what needs to be done, it’s possible to pull together and beat anything. It’s possible to surmount huge obstacles and emerge stronger. Why, it might just be possible to reach new heights you never imagined when you get everyone accountable, aligned, and focused on reaching that big goal.
And the naysayers…they don’t get it. A clear vision powered by a focused leader with a clear and consistent positive and uplifting message that grabs the emotions always has the advantage. And all are better off for it.
Now if only the politicians remember this lesson when Hurricane Sandy has passed.