Writing the Obama To-Do List

Last Updated Nov 5, 2008 12:02 PM EST

Welcome to your first day of work on the new job, Mr. Obama. No, you haven't been sworn in as yet, but the work begins today. Transition teams to appoint. Cabinet candidates to interview. Work to prioritize.

Speaking of the latter, what do you want to tackle first on your rather imposing To-Do list?

  • Save the American economy
  • Improve relations with other countries
  • Wind down troop activity in Iraq/Consider more troops for Afghanistan
  • Enact tax cut for 90 percent of Americans
  • Fix health care mess. Education mess, too
  • Improve U.S. competitiveness in the world
  • Develop strategy for alternative sources of energy
  • Actions to combat global warming
  • Do something about Social Security before Boomers get much older
Where to start? Leadership coach John Baldoni offers advice on his Leadership At Work blog on Harvard Business Publishing. He says Obama has homework and groundwork to accomplish in these two-plus months before the swearing-in ceremony. In summary, he advises the president-elect to:
  • Be realistic
  • Visit problem areas
  • Build a coalition
  • Partner with federal agencies
  • Repeat success stories
  • Inspire optimism
"No one expects the new president to be all that they want him to be," Baldoni writes. "What he can be is president, one who knows the issues, has plans for the future, and can get our nation moving forward, one step at a time."
Do you have advice for the Obama team on how to hit the ground running on Jan. 20th? How did you prepare for taking on an important new role in your career?
  • Sean Silverthorne

    Sean Silverthorne is the editor of HBS Working Knowledge, which provides a first look at the research and ideas of Harvard Business School faculty. Working Knowledge, which won a Webby award in 2007, currently records 4 million unique visitors a year. He has been with HBS since 2001.

    Silverthorne has 28 years experience in print and online journalism. Before arriving at HBS, he was a senior editor at CNET and executive editor of ZDNET News. While at At Ziff-Davis, Silverthorne also worked on the daily technology TV show The Site, and was a senior editor at PC Week Inside, which chronicled the business of the technology industry. He has held several reporting and editing roles on a variety of newspapers, and was Investor Business Daily's first journalist based in Silicon Valley.