YOUR Inaugural Address

Dear Friends,

My wife delivered her Inaugural address yesterday, as she began her second and final term as Governor of the State of Michigan. It made me think that every leader ought to write an inaugural speech, and better yet deliver one.

Jennifer had a great line in her speech: “You know the Michigan that is. Believe in the Michigan that will be.” What a great template for each of us who is inaugurating a new year! So, I’d say to you: you know “your team that is,” or you know “your family that is,” or you know “the organization you are in,” or even: “you know the self you are.” So then, I’d ask, “What’s the team, family, organization or self that you believe should and can come to be?”

Here’s an outline for the inaugural address I would share with all the people that I lead, with whom I lead, and who lead me. Here’s what I believe:

• I live in a world where my teenagers depend on (and simultaneously push against) their parents. I believe in a world where my children freely choose the lives they want to lead, the decisions that will get them there, the things and people they will say no to, and those they will eagerly embrace.

• I live in a world where so many “staff people” do their jobs, keeping the wheels greased and the air in the tires. I believe in a world where everyone leads and designs and creates, each caring for the whole as much as the owner or boss or director does; believing in their right to care for it all, and trying all the time to increase the goodness and energy of the shop or the neighborhood, the church or the school or the business where they work.

• I live in a world where managers at times act out of fear and spend a lot of time keeping people in the lines, in the boxes, in their places, but I really believe in a world where managers share information, grow their teams, enlarge people’s territories, laugh at themselves, set goals that move people outside the box and work like crazy to help their people hit those goals.

• I live in a world where I still carry around resentments, regrets, fears and anxieties. I believe in a world where I can let go of that past guck and instead be in the moment and bring my best efforts to see what’s there, to love what’s there, and to contribute as best I can.

• I live in a family (both the one of my parents, and the one my wife and I started) where I and others gravitate to an attitude of seeing the others as having something we want (things, affection, attention, support, etc.). I believe in a world of family where we each look primarily to give to each other and thus create a surplus, an abundance of good from which we share.

• I live in a state that divides by race and class, by union and management, by left and right, by one creed from another, but I believe in a Michigan where we see that we have greater commonalities than differences, that we have a richness of perspectives that can be a blessing more than a curse, and that now is the time for us to come together to work to create opportunity for all of our citizens.

There’s a lot of work to leading. But it starts with a picture of where you’re heading. What would your inaugural address be about? As you set your goals for 2 double-oh-seven, where are you leading those you care about? What’s the world that you believe in?

You’ve got to see it to lead with your best self!


  • Dan……..

    You always encourage/show empowerment in your readings; your skill to make your statement relate to everyone in all facets of life is very motivating!

    Life is about changes everyday – each individual is the only who can make the change no matter how big or small!

  • Jan. 2, 2007
    Dear Dan:
    Spoken like a true Cub – you are a real man for others. You have motivated me to give an inaugural address to the various teams I lead, especially the Eastern Michigan University’s Construction Management Programs, and the Great Lakes Real Orators Toastmasters Club.
    Regards, Bill Moylan

  • Dan,
    I think suggesting people try their hand at writing an inaugural address is an excellent idea. It sure beats practice at writing an epitah. Anything we can do to encourage people to think more about themselves as givers and citizens rather than consumers is worthwhile. I have a French friend, Pascal, who recently told me he was concerned about the elevation of libertie and the depression of equalite and fraternitie in his country. I share his concern so my inaugural address would encourage us to “frame” (in the Kettering Foundation sense) the
    issue of consumption in our country, and what this means for the futures of our children and sustainability of a viable society.

  • Addendum to Inauguration Speech Template

    An inauguration speech is made as the result of being elected to some position; and so to begin with a person out to thank all those who nominated them and supported them in thier pursuit to their position; and maybe in a personal inauguration speech, a person might say they know the position they have, but they believe in the position they will have; Or if they like their position they believe in how the position will grow or improve or add to the accomplishments of others.

    Mark John Hunter

  • While sitting in the conference center, taking in the governors inaugural address, I said….What a great committement…I will adopt as my 2007 committement for myself. Your email, has put that extra push to that personal committement, creating my personal inaugural has taken more define form. Sharing in the committement, I have forwarded your email to friends and those whom I mentor in Michigan and elsewhere.

    Thank you Dan, for your continued leadership.

    Gwendolyn Esco Davis

  • Thank you Dan and Happy New Year.
    The theme for Mike’s campaign for governor was “Believe in Arkansas”. Mike believes in his state and its people. Thank you for sharing and for you wonderful support for the spouses.
    Ginger Beebe
    First Lady of Arkansas

  • wow! thanks for reminding us that we are all in this together.have a happy new year.chuck schoenknecht,Grand Rapids,Mi.

  • Bush and the Republicans were not protecting us on 9-11, and we aren’t a lot safer now. We may be more afraid due to george bush, but are we safer? Being fearful does not necessarily make one safer. Fear can cause people to hide and cower. What do you think? How does that work in a democracy again? How does being more threatening make us more likeable?Isn’t the country with
    the most weapons the biggest threat to the rest of the world? When one country is the biggest threat to the rest of the world, isn’t that likely to be the most hated country?
    What happened to us, people? When did we become such lemmings?
    The more people that the government puts in jails, the safer we are told to think we are. The real terrorists are wherever they are, but they aren’t living in a country with bars on the windows. We are.

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