With reference to the upcoming shift in the United States governance, we chose to dedicate our farewells to the First Lady – Michelle Obama, who has served as an inspiration for many who were not necessarily from the US, will be remembered for her devoted work, charisma and inspirational speeches, of course. Nili Goldfein, an executive partner in NGG, sets things straight in Michelle Obama’s famous speeches, translating her words into actions concerning the hottest trends in the world of business leaders and organizations
On January 20th, 2017, the new American President elect, Donald Trump, will enter the White House. That very same day will mark the last day for the current President in office –Barack Obama – and his family. Throughout the eight intensive years of her husband’s service, the First Lady addressed several issues close to her heart, carrying out countless inspirational speeches on the matters. Unexpectedly, some of her most well-known and most memorable speeches seemed to have interlinked points of contact with the world of global enterprises.
What does Michelle Obama have to do with management and leadership in the business world?
The (former) First Lady of the strongest nation across the globe may reposition herself upon the pedestal of inspirational leadership. No – not necessarily for her flawless designer couture (well, maybe that too), but rather for her consistent focus on “hot” topics, providing solutions to the most sought-after, contemporary matters of the organizational world.
We chose to address three distinguished speeches by Michelle Obama, and consequently exemplify her words upon the issues of:
- Inclusion and Diversity
- The Millennial Generation
- Vision and Values
1. Inclusion and Diversity
Within the globalized market struggle, organizations seek “talent” for management, technology and delivery. Every square-meter on Earth is invested in legislation, investments – and time, in order to locate and train new talents. Affirmative action takes place when women are appointed key roles – such as directive and managerial ones – along with immigrants, people of Chinese, Indian and Korean origins.
Towards the “final stretch” in the struggle between Clinton Vs. Trump, particularly post the inevitable reveal of Trump’s less-than-sympathetic attitude towards women, the First Lady directed her speech to women everywhere, discussing their importance and potential contribution to both the economy and society.
2. The Millennial Generation (a young generation entering the work force)
Barack and Michelle Obama carried countless farewell speeches. During her last speech as the First Lady, Michelle Obama turns to her younger audience, to teens – to those destined to walk the very same path in the future and attempt (or not) to change the world. Every single organization now seeks the answers for the following questions: what is the fundamental motivation for the millennial generation? What would assist at integrating them successfully in the organization, and thus make the most of their endless potential? Obama referenced this issue in her speech.
3. Vision and Values
Black leaders of the free world constantly spoke upon a dream (Martin Luther King Jr. & Nelson Mandela). On our right and duty, especially during difficult times, to aim high in setting values, destinations, justice and honesty, to establish and promote a civilized society. The capitalist American dream has been severely damaged in 2009 with the dramatic decrease of the stock market – a drop caused by businessmen blinded by the sight of cold hard cash. Our fellow American friends claim Clinton lost the election largely due to her corrupt image. Crony capitalism is viewed as the most evil form of economy, as well as a great threat to the democratic infrastructure, denying a just, enlightened and egalitarian society.
Nowadays, in order to run a successful organization, it is not enough to recruit the sharpest minds and earn millions. Business leaders in dominant companies like Google or Microsoft have internalized the culture of “eating strategy for breakfast”, and that vision and values constitute a real compass (as opposed to posters hung by the common elevator), and thus establish an important basis for propulsion.
Watch Michelle Obama speak of the importance of values:
Beyond the specific examples, a steaming leadership trend known as “authentic leadership” abides. These leaders speak “at eye level”, self-conscious to their weaknesses and self, perceive themselves both as service providers and noble personas. They grasp their force as means of creating a better employment surrounding, one which is more just, more candid. They grasp their influential abilities as means to make the world a better place for future generations – not as pawns intended for their own personal benefit.
Perhaps Mrs. Obama was granted with good publicity, or maybe she was gifted with exceptional televised skills. One cannot uncover what has been endured backstage, yet monitoring her implementation and speeches over the last eight years in the White House will definitely vouch for Michelle’s authenticity. To have one’s heart in one’s mouth, with firm values as a guiding light – all go to show we can expect to hear plenty from Michelle, from both worlds. Goodbye Michelle – and thank you for the inspiration.
*Thanks to Miss Tal Solomon for the inspiration and the fine tuning