Actually, that comment made perhaps the biggest impression of all, among all the really smart things he had to say. It was that among other reasons Sachs feels optimistic about our economy's recovery over time is that we now have "a grownup for a President" of the United States.
What does it mean to be a grownup? Merriam-Webster dictionary says, quite simply, it means "not childish or immature."
The Visual Thesaurus goes a bit further:
Whatever your definition, we all no doubt agree that grownups respond to situations in life from a place of authenticity, built on accumulated experience and one's view of what is true, regardless of whether that truth hurts or helps us.
When I saw the picture this morning in the New York Times of the cargo hold on a plane returning to the U.S. with flag-draped coffins of American service men and women recently killed in Iraq, it brought home to me the importance of dealing with things from a place of truth. It does no service to our country to ignore the fact that some of our finest young people have sacrificed their lives in Iraq on behalf of the rest of us. We need to know that, regardless of our view of the war's "rightness" or "wrongness." So, too, do we as a nation need to know exactly what impact the cost of waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has on our country's economy. Again, regardless of how we feel about the wars, we do need to know the ramifications financially of such decisions on each of us. Once having faced these truths, we can deal responsibly with decisions going forward.
So too in any company or other organization: the leader of an organization most often is better able to attract and sustain the loyalty of employees to the company's mission when they are convinced the leader tells them the truth. Whether good news or bad, they need to be aware of the situation in order to respond--as grownups--to the decisions made that are based on that truth.
Seems pretty simple, actually. It's all about being a grownup and assuming that the adults with whom one works are also grownups. At least until proven otherwise.
The conversations that take place in grownup organizations are based on truth, even though they include different perspectives on what that truth means and how to respond to it. Does your organization have grownup conversations? If not, how can you ensure it does?
Because these tough times demand more than childish and immature responses to problems. They require sober, clear-eyed, truthful responses.
It's grownup time.