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ACC 203 Business Week - Page |1 Cover Story 4:55PM EST...

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P a g e | 1 Cover Story July 29, 2009, 4:55PM EST Obama Tells BW He's Not Antibusiness In a wide-ranging interview, the President says "to return to some semblance of balance is hardly radical" In a July 27 interview in the Oval Office, President Barack Obama reflected on his first six months in office and discussed his evolving relationship with business leaders. The President clearly had a lot he wanted to say to the business community, with which he has gotten off to a somewhat shaky start. He addressed the criticisms of some CEOs that his policies are antibusiness, defended his proposed tax increases on the wealthy, and drew management lessons from his executive experience thus far. During the wide-ranging conversation with Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler and Washington Bureau Chief Jane Sasseen , the President was cautious at times but always precise. He looked ahead to growth in a deleveraged economy driven by a more productive health-care system, energy innovation, educational improvements, and a more effective government. He added that many Americans are as cynical about business as business leaders are about government and that his goal is to channel this wave of populism in a constructive direction. (This is an extended transcript of the entire interview.) BusinessWeek : We write a lot about management and leadership. Since you have the premier leadership position in the world, can you tell us what you've learned about management and leadership that you didn't know six months ago, and what you've gotten better at? President Obama: Well, I think I came in understanding that the magnitude of the issues facing the country required that I put together a team that I could delegate a whole range of different tasks to and would be able to work well together. So I understood that coming in. I think over the last six months I have just relearned that lesson—that my most important job is to get the right people in the right place, give them the freedom to innovate and to think creatively about problems, hold them accountable for results, and make sure that they are cooperating with each other and communicating with each other on an ongoing basis. And on that front I think we've been pretty successful. You know, you haven't seen a lot of controversy, infighting, turnover. I've always insisted on making sure we are equipping ourselves with the best evidence, the best data, the best information, that it's real-time, and that we don't ignore information just because it's not convenient or doesn't conform with what our working hypothesis might have been. We're constantly trying to make sure we're open to changing our minds about issues. The deliberative
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P a g e | 2 process that's taken place has allowed us to avoid big mistakes [and] make adjustments when what we were doing wasn't working.
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