Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I learned something from Barack Obama.

A few weeks ago I saw this dude on The Today Show who had shadowed President Obama for an extended period of time and wrote an article about it.  I read the article too (I think it was in Vanity Fair, but don’t bet the farm on that…), but the thing that I found most interesting was when Matt Lauer asked about Obama’s decision-making process.

According to the author, the President told him that by the time a decision gets to him, it is a really important decision – otherwise it would have been made at a lower level.  Decisions that get all the way up to the President are also difficult – decisions that are 50% one way, 50% another way – that is why they get to him.  What pressure – yikes.

Anyway, the thing that the author said next is what has really stayed with me.  Because the President has to make these really big decisions A LOT, he has removed little decisions from his life. 

He only has blue or gray suits.  Someone else always decides what he is going to eat. 

NOTE:  As long as someone would choose cheese puffs, sushi, and ranch dip for me at least once a week, I think I could get on that bandwagon.  Wearing the same clothes everyday – uh, no.

Then Matt Lauer and the author talked about decision making and how tiring it is – just think about this the next time you get home from a trip to Sam’s Club or Costco – it makes me tired just thinking about it!

I am lucky to have wonderful and accomplished co-workers who make lots of decisions for me and I let them.  My style is to hire good people and let them do their jobs and make decisions.  No (or at least not much) micro-managing for me.  And maybe all US Presidents do this kind of paring down “dumb” decisions to save their energy for big ones, but Obama is the first one I have heard about.  So, I started thinking about more decisions I could give up and I’m working on it.

The other thing I thought about was how we at CPD take some of these sorts of “dumb” decisions out of the lives of CPS caseworkers in Dallas County.  When they can turn over the holiday wish list to us, they save their own decision making and keep it for big decisions like saving kids’ lives.

 And sometimes the decisions they are making are more important than those President Obama makes.

P.S.  I'm giving my #FundraisingFriday gift to Community Partners of Dallas' Change is Good event.  Come see us Sunday afternoon and bring your change too!

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