The Leading Edge – Obama/Clinton/McCain – an opportunity is not a vision

The three most important abilities of a leader are:

The three most important abilities of a leader are:

  1. to see and articulate a vison whose compelling, captivating and convincing qualities withstand the test of time and the assault from fear and greed
  2. to identify and recruit talent to turn that vision into a reality
  3. to engage that talent to want to carry out that vision

The dilemma for the Obama, Clinton and McCain and for us is that the presidency represents a great opportunity for all three to satisfy their political aspirations and ambitions, but none of them have a vision to fulfill.

They are so busy saying, “No,” to the present visionless administration and, “Yes,” to the voters they speak to along the campaign route that it is unclear exactly what they see.

And to be fair about the present administration, George Bush’s vision about a world free from terror was a pretty compelling, captivating and convincing vision; the flaw was in the poor preparation, management and execution of that vision.

Regarding points 2 and 3, all three have the ability to identify and recruit talent, but Clinton
appears to be negatively distinguishing herself with an inability to
continuously engage them. 

I would posit that without a compelling, captivating and convincing vision it will be difficult in the long run to recruit and engage the talent to be successful as President.  Charisma and charm is enough to get people pumped up temporarily (think Obama), but only when people see where they are going and like what they see can the mission be sustained and fulfilled.

What would be a vision that would compel, captivate and convince and continue to do so?


One I would offer is the vision of your and my children’s children and grandchildren waking up on any day of their life with the abilities and opportunities for success, happiness and creating an even better world for their children and grandchildren without the fear of terrorism or corruption despoiling the landscape they look out upon.

What such a world look like and how we could reverse engineer it would then become our mission.


About the author

Mark Goulston, M.D. is the Co-Fonder of Heartfelt Leadership a global community whose Mission of Daring to Care it dedicated to identifying, celebrating, developing and supporting heartfelt leaders who are as committed to making a difference as they are to making a profit.