Okay, me and another several hundred of his best friends in Philadelphia. But I was there in the very same room with him. It was great fun. To my amazement, Prime Minister Blair is hugely humorous with a wealth of great stories. And he is a fantastic story teller. Without a doubt he is one of the best speakers I have ever seen. Among other things, he gave a short talk that concisely captured what he wanted to say and then took questions…which he answered as wonderfully as he presented his talk.
I thought I’d share a few things that struck me. First off, he mentioned that he could sum up being Prime Minister for 10 years very simply. When you become Prime Minister you are very popular and not very competent. You have no idea what you’re doing and how to be an effective leader of the country. When you end your term, you aren’t very popular but you actually have learned how to be a competent executive and finally know how to lead the country.
I thought about this driving home and realized how many people find themselves in this situation. People like you when you promise things but actually don’t have a clue how to get them done. As soon as you try to get it done you begin to see how things work and realize the constraints you operate under…and how they keep you from doing much of what you promised. Popularity declines as you aren’t able to get things you promised completed but you actually do learn how to get at least some things done…but not enough to keep that popularity from disappating.
Something to think about when you stand in front of people and make promises about what you will do in the future. Are you just setting yourself up for failure?
The other thing that really struck me was his comment about how working with the leaders of other countries is all about personal relationships. It’s not their label that matters but how much you can trust them and rely on them.
As someone who firmly believes that relationships are what makes it all work…or not work…I was quite taken with this thought. It also led to my thinking about the reason for the dysfunction that is destroying the United States. The leaders are in the process of demonizing the other side in ways that inevitably lead to an inability to have any reasonable personal relationships. How can you trust and rely on someone that you believe to be not just of differing opinion but to actually be evil?
Our poisoned political speech has real consequences so well articulated by Prime Minister Blair.
The other thing I want to share is his comment about revolutions. He said it’s not where they begin but where they end. I immediately flashed on our experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whether you believe it or not, the beginning was set with the best of intentions. And where are we now? I have no idea although I have yet to talk to anyone who things we’ve wound up with good outcomes after years of war…complete with all its death and destruction coupled with huge cost in money and world prestige.
On a smaller scale, I’ve thought about major revolutions within some of my clients, both here in the United States as well as around Africa where the stakes tend to be of a higher social goal. It’s given me a new way to lay out my thoughts to others as things get underway. It’s not what we do today but where will we wind up that counts. And the time to think about this is at the beginning.
A wise man, Prime Minister Blair. And a superb speaker able to clearly articulate this wisdom. If you get the chance to see him, take it. Your brain will thank you.
On another note, Coldfront….you remember them, they make menopause cool…is having a great launch. Since I have been giving them advice from the beginning several years ago, and, in the interests of full disclosure, have a bit of piece, I am ecstatic. And they are just so Cool.
There was a nice article in The Next Woman Business Magazine although for reasons I don’t understand, co-founder Hugh Brownstone mentioned some other poser as his favorite Wharton person. He actually did this on the very day he was taking me out to lunch to try and get me to help him out with some more things. I was going to try and get him interviewed by some media people I know in some Big Internation Business Publications. What was he thinking?
They also have a whole bunch of interesting videos. Here’s one.
I have to end this missive with a plug for my Talkfest. I am getting totally energized at the people who are coming. If you haven’t registered you are really doing yourself a huge disservice. In addition to all the exceptional wine I’m piling up for your drinking pleasure, Francis and his crew are slaving away in the Birchrunville Store Cafe kitchen to ensure your taste buds are enchanted.
Then there are the amazing people who are coming to wander around and talk to you. Just a teaser: Sue Miller, she of Birchrun Hills Farm cheese fame. Yup, that blue she makes is used by such fine chefs as Iron Chef Jose Garces.
Then there is Anne Dubisson Anderson who is probably the world’s best writing and publishing consultant. She has been involved in bunches of best sellers.
Shaun Mannix is coming to talk movable walls! How weird. But as the President of Transwall, the world’s foremost manufacturer of such things he can tell you all about them…whatever they are.
Then there’s that oh so famous Aditi Roy of NBC News fame. But I’ve already told you enough about her.
Most importantly, we have some family members of villagers who can share stories about Camphill Village Kimberton Hills for your listening enlightenment.
And finally…there’s You! We need you to round out the crowd. Bring your stories to share and leave with a few new ones. You really will kick yourself Monday morning if you miss this once in a year event.