Policy@Intel
A place to exchange ideas and perspectives promoting a thriving innovation economy through public policy
615 Discussions

Obama Press Conference Reaction: Success = Results - Expectations

Not applicable
0 0 27
It’s Wednesday July 22nd late in the evening as I write this, and I just got back from a brisk walk by the White House (two nights in a row with exercise…pathetically, a record for me in 2009!) where I stood outside the gate (sweating profusely in this humidity!) watching all the media hubbub, security officers, and tourists in the post-Obama press conference on healthcare reform. I can’t sleep because I’m still on west coast time. And because I am swirling with thoughts and emotions from a day of Capitol Hill visits with key Senate offices working on healthcare reform…punctuated by this Presidential press conference. So I will convert this insomnia into blog-omnia.

How do I sum up the speech? It was simply okay—with important elements for reform but without a bold, inspiring vision of where we’re headed. Now that’s a surprising thing for me to say because, if I step back from it, Obama was articulate, rational and logical in his thinking, funny, knowledgeable, able to answer questions with detail and examples…all of which left me feeling like he’s a real leader with command of…and commitment to…these issues. The level and quality of discourse coming from President Obama are so refreshing and re-inspiring every time I hear him speak.

But…I am reminded of a life formula that Colin Evans, a friend and mentor at Intel, once taught me. I call it “Colin’s Law.” It’s a formula that says “Success = Results – Expectations.” This law reminds us that expectations management is key because you can drive really good results, but if you’ve promised people the moon, then they are bound to be disappointed if you deliver anything less, even if you did amazing work.

I had really high expectations for the President’s speech. I have come to expect him to be amazingly articulate, and he was. And since he has described our mission as true “healthcare reform” and spoken time and time again about “fundamental change,” I have high expectations that we’re really going to change things. But the speech didn’t feel hugely successful because my expectations were so high. I wanted to hear a bold vision of change, to understand his plan and strategy for implementing that change, and to have my President enlist me as a citizen in a new social contract where I can help be part of improving healthcare in America. I didn’t get those things I expected, so I am left feeling like it was simply okay.

Nonetheless, I did hear him reiterate many concepts and ideas that are fundamental for moving us towards a model of Personal Health. Here were some highlights I jotted down:

1) Why we need reform now: uninsured, loss of coverage for those who are insured, real threat of Medicare/Medicaid bankruptcy, opportunity cost for what else families and our nation could do with that wasted money

2) Need for a system focused on wellness, prevention, and use of information technologies to drive efficiency

3) Reform means doctors being paid for quality of care, not quantity of care; doctors being incentivized to work in teams that coordinate with one another

4) His 2/3rd and 1/3rd explanation of how to pay for reform—and his clear principle about where the “extra money” should come from

5) Extending the deadline to get reform right…but being clear about why Congress needs a deadline and needs urgency

6) A commitment to covering 97-98% of all Americans…because there are always outliers

7) And his call for Americans to be more discriminating consumers of healthcare

Actually, as I list all of these out, I realize that these are important foundations for reform. And that the President has been consistent about these. I guess where I feel like we’re lacking results so far is seeing these principles and ideas translated into the bills being proposed by Congress. We don’t have the final versions yet, but I’ve read every line of every one of the early versions from the House and Senate so far. It’s hard reading for someone like me who has no training in bill-speak and government language. So it’s hard to feel confident that the bills deliver on the simple-language examples the President talks about.

So the President and Congress now need to help manage our expectations…help us understand when this will happen, how it will happen, how long it will take to happen, and what role we all need to play in its execution. If we’re really aiming for big time reform, then tell us that. If, because of economic or political realities we’re only going to be able to make some small tweaks, then tell us that, too. But don’t promise us major reform while delivering on only small tweaks. They could all benefit from a quick lesson in Colin’s law; while expectations aren’t everything, they are definitely something to take into account.

So did you watch it? If so, what did you think? What were you expecting? What did you hope for? (And don’t tell me anything about So You Think You Can Dance, since I missed it tonight while watching the President.)

It’s Wednesday July 22nd late in the evening as I write this, and I just got back from a brisk walk by the White House (two nights in a row with exercise…pathetically, a record for me in 2009!) where I stood outside the gate (sweating profusely in this humidity!) watching all the media hubbub, security officers, and tourists in the post-Obama press conference on healthcare reform. I can’t sleep because I’m still on west coast time. And because I am swirling with thoughts and emotions from a day of Capitol Hill visits with key Senate offices working on healthcare reform…punctuated by this Presidential press conference. So I will convert this insomnia into blog-omnia.

How do I sum up the speech? It was simply okay—with important elements for reform but without a bold, inspiring vision of where we’re headed. Now that’s a surprising thing for me to say because, if I step back from it, Obama was articulate, rational and logical in his thinking, funny, knowledgeable, able to answer questions with detail and examples…all of which left me feeling like he’s a real leader with command of…and commitment to…these issues. The level and quality of discourse coming from President Obama are so refreshing and re-inspiring every time I hear him speak.

But…I am reminded of a life formula that Colin Evans, a friend and mentor at Intel, once taught me. I call it “Colin’s Law.” It’s a formula that says “Success = Results – Expectations.” This law reminds us that expectations management is key because you can drive really good results, but if you’ve promised people the moon, then they are bound to be disappointed if you deliver anything less, even if you did amazing work.

I had really high expectations for the President’s speech. I have come to expect him to be amazingly articulate, and he was. And since he has described our mission as true “healthcare reform” and spoken time and time again about “fundamental change,” I have high expectations that we’re really going to change things. But the speech didn’t feel hugely successful because my expectations were so high. I wanted to hear a bold vision of change, to understand his plan and strategy for implementing that change, and to have my President enlist me as a citizen in a new social contract where I can help be part of improving healthcare in America. I didn’t get those things I expected, so I am left feeling like it was simply okay.

Nonetheless, I did hear him reiterate many concepts and ideas that are fundamental for moving us towards a model of Personal Health. Here were some highlights I jotted down:

1) Why we need reform now: uninsured, loss of coverage for those who are insured, real threat of Medicare/Medicaid bankruptcy, opportunity cost for what else families and our nation could do with that wasted money

2) Need for a system focused on wellness, prevention, and use of information technologies to drive efficiency

3) Reform means doctors being paid for quality of care, not quantity of care; doctors being incentivized to work in teams that coordinate with one another

4) His 2/3rd and 1/3rd explanation of how to pay for reform—and his clear principle about where the “extra money” should come from

5) Extending the deadline to get reform right…but being clear about why Congress needs a deadline and needs urgency

6) A commitment to covering 97-98% of all Americans…because there are always outliers

7) And his call for Americans to be more discriminating consumers of healthcare

Actually, as I list all of these out, I realize that these are important foundations for reform. And that the President has been consistent about these. I guess where I feel like we’re lacking results so far is seeing these principles and ideas translated into the bills being proposed by Congress. We don’t have the final versions yet, but I’ve read every line of every one of the early versions from the House and Senate so far. It’s hard reading for someone like me who has no training in bill-speak and government language. So it’s hard to feel confident that the bills deliver on the simple-language examples the President talks about.

So the President and Congress now need to help manage our expectations…help us understand when this will happen, how it will happen, how long it will take to happen, and what role we all need to play in its execution. If we’re really aiming for big time reform, then tell us that. If, because of economic or political realities we’re only going to be able to make some small tweaks, then tell us that, too. But don’t promise us major reform while delivering on only small tweaks. They could all benefit from a quick lesson in Colin’s law; while expectations aren’t everything, they are definitely something to take into account.

So did you watch it? If so, what did you think? What were you expecting? What did you hope for? (And don’t tell me anything about So You Think You Can Dance, since I missed it tonight while watching the President.)