President Oprah?

As you may or may not know, Midnight Muses focuses on a variety of subject matter which evolves from the innermost recesses of my mind during the most productive time of my day.
It’s going on 1 a.m., and my mind is in full gear pondering much of the political news with which I’ve been recently inundated.

Wait — don’t jump ship. I’m as fed up with politics 24/7 as much as you are, and I’m certainly not looking forward to seven more months of the same before election day. However, I can’t help but recognize the many correlations between politics and business as well as a unique opportunity to gain some very valuable insight.

One of the most obvious similarities lies in the importance of customer service and satisfaction — a concept I seldom, if ever, have heard mentioned in the political arena. Yet both parties are currently running on the premise that customers (voters) from coast to coast are overwhelmingly dissatisfied with their current level of service. Neither party seems to be able to conceptualize that simple reality.

If I were a political consultant today, I think I’d feel obligated to recommend that my candidate take a short time out to analyze the life and philosophy of the woman many leading publications and media notables have recognized as “one of the most influential people of the 20th century,” Oprah Winfrey! She’s the multiple-Emmy-Award-winning host of the highest rated talk show in television history, an influential book critic, an Academy-Award winning actress, a magazine publisher, a book club creator, the creator of a new radio channel on XM Satellite Radio, a spiritual icon, a philanthropist, a TV and movie producer, and an online guru. She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the most philanthropic African American of all time and the world’s only black billionaire for three straight years. Oprah co-founded the women’s cable television network, Oxygen, and is also the President of Harpo Productions (Oprah spelled backwards).

While all of this is indeed very admirable, why should a politician have the slightest interest in Oprah? Well, they shouldn’t … unless or until they realize the fact that this woman came from tremendously humble beginnings and reached heights of unequaled accomplishments in a wide variety of endeavors.

Her secrets are many but a few of the most critical are somewhat obvious and should be replicated by anyone with aspirations of attaining the presidency.

  1. She has the uncanny ability to know what her customers (readers, viewers, listeners, etc.) want, and she strives to surround herself with the expertise to produce what they want. She listens and responds appropriately. Kind of unique in political circles, wouldn’t you say?
  2. She makes as many, if not more, mistakes than most in her efforts to attain success and growth. Those many mistakes, while debatable by many, have been documented and analyzed ad naseum.

Some of the more prominent miscalculations might include:

  • The support and promotion of Dr. Phil.
  • The promotion of many Scientology celebs.
  • The support and promotion of several dishonest authors.
  • Rachael Ray overkill.
  • Support of a children’s book written by a white supremacist.
  • Allegations against a staff member of her South African all-girl academy.
  • Her You Tube Channel.
  • Her strong endorsement of the controversial self-help program, “The Secret.”
  • Hip-Hop Town Hall Meeting.
  • And the list goes on …

The key factor here, that often goes unnoticed, lies in her strategy and willingness to put herself “out there” in order to make a difference. She makes choices. She takes calculated chances. She believes in the importance and benefits of action. A quick glance at her track record would lead one to believe that she’s a firm believer in the age-old adage that “It’s not what happens to you in life — it’s how you react to it that matters!”

While many would disagree that everything listed above was a miscalculation, most everyone admires Oprah’s choice of response to such situations. She faces the facts, evaluates the circumstances and consequences, takes the appropriate action to rectify the problems, learns from the experience and moves on better equipped for her next task. What a concept! Wouldn’t that be a fantastic strategy for each and every politician vacillating within the beltway in Washington, D.C.?

Last month Barack Obama appeared live on the David Letterman Show to deliver Dave’s Top Ten. The category was “Top Ten Barack Obama Campaign Promises.” The 10th Promise got the most laughs as he smiled into the camera and said: “#10. “Three Words. Vice President Oprah!” It received a tremendous response from the audience and was obviously a stroke of comedic genius. However, I wouldn’t be afraid to bet just about anything that if Oprah were to join Obama, or just about any other candidate on a ticket, they would win by a landslide! And it wouldn’t be because she’s politically astute. It’s because she can assess needs, create excitement, encourage involvement, creatively visualize, and make things happen … indeed a successful combination which voters are hungry to experience.

Laugh and scoff if you will, but think about it for a minute. Oprah has no experience whatsoever in politics. There’s no question there. Where she excels, and has proven it many times in the past, is in the areas of leadership, gaining commitment, earning respect, developing productive teams of loyal devotees, demonstrating creativity, taking action, and accomplishing feats that others only dream of. Can she rally the masses, be they military, allies, citizens, or politicians? As reported on the front page of USA Today, Oprah conducted session #1 of a ten week web seminar based on the best selling book A New Earth. Co-hosting this ambitious undertaking with the book’s author, Eckhart Tolle, Oprah has thus far registered over 700,000 for this ground-breaking event!

Now quickly take a roll call of every politician you can think of, past or present, from either side of the aisle. Name one that has demonstrated the attributes, strengths, capabilities, and potential listed above. Go ahead, take a minute.

Any politician at any level would benefit greatly from simply observing and then emulating this classic leader. Maybe she should consider running alone.

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

2 thoughts on “President Oprah?

  1. Why would Oprah ever want to go into politics? I mean, supporting Obama is one thing. Running for office would do nothing to further her political power as a talk show host/ american icon. If anything the mud that consumes most political fights would damage her reputation.

  2. Brandon, Thanks for your comments on Oprah. Every observation you made was 100% correct! The article was written tongue in cheek. The point was NOT to encourage Oprah to run for President. She’s much too intelligent for that. It was meant to suggest to everyone else in the current Presidential race to examine WHY she’s so successful at everything she does. It might very well benefit them to duplicate her efforts in their current endeavors.

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