Transitions are always difficult because they require an exchange, which includes both the passing and the receiving of the means of control from one hand to another's. The exchange can become the source of disastrous consequences if it does not go smoothly. Related to transitions, and perhaps a more dangerous pitfall with the possibility of bringing even more devastating outcomes, is the necessity of getting off to a good start.
The biblical account of Joshua begins with a new generation coming into its own, receiving the reins from Moses whose responsibility was to get Israel in position to be totally free. Because God always gets the glory and won't let any of us do it all, Joshua's responsibility was to actually lead Israel on a campaign to take possession of their new home.
As Joshua takes charge his first order of business is a reconnaissance mission to determine how to capture Jericho, a fortified entrance into the promised land and which held the key to success of the entire campaign.
A calm, deliberate President-elect Barack Obama surrounded by a multi-generational, multi-ethnic group of economic advisers has announced that his first order of business once taking over the reins of leadership will be to stabilize the economy. The substance of the policy includes: (1) an immediate stimulus for Americans seeking work and aid to states and localities; (2) help to keep homeowners in their homes; (3) aid to industries such as autoworkers where they focus on building green cars and tap into funds already allocated; (4) scrutinizing the bailout to be sure it helps people without unduly enriching banks; and (5) a middle class tax cut for 95% of working families and capital gains tax cuts for small businesses.
Obama's deliberate focus on what his advisers and the public believe to be the most critical or key issue facing the American people reveals his strategy and also provides us with the following Practical Lessons for governing, leading, and living:
Learn how to begin and where & how to strike first.
A blow struck with precision, directed at the right time and in the right place will have 10 times the effect of flailing aimlessly in the dark.
Being effective from the start may save a lifetime trying to play catch up, fighting an uphill battle, and fizzling out trying to come from behind.
Barack Obama: Effective from the Start