Friday, November 7, 2008

After the Election

The election of Senator Barack Obama as President-Elect of the United States will result in a massive amount of gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair in associations across the land. The same would have happened had Senator John McCain won the election. Association executives and the boards of directors to which they report reacted in elation or horror at the results.

I'll readily admit that there will be significant changes in our lives as a result of Senator Obama's election. There would have been changes had Senator McClain been elected. But I caution all associations against behaving as if the sky is falling, on the one hand, or that manna from heaven is raining down, on the other.

Regardless of whether the results of the election make you happy or unhappy, understand that the election was not all about you and your association. As tough as it might be to imagine, there are things more important than your association. The country's future takes precedence.

In my view, the best way to deal with a new administration, whether it's your party or the opposition, is to embrace it. That having been said, I fully understand how hard it was for many people to embrace the Bush administration, especially in the second term. This just goes to show there are exceptions to any rule. But back to less extreme circumstances...

If it's not your party in the White House, take advantage of the opportunity to learn a little humility and try gentle persuasion and education to accomplish your objectives. If it is your party, remember that it won't always be so; remember the phrase, "what goes around, comes around." In either case, the exercise of civility and respect serve one's purposes rather well and they're among the best of human traits.

If association executives don't know the importance of compromise, I don't know who does. I suppose we'll see how well they translate that understanding into practice after the new administration takes office.