Management Minute

What’s the State of Your Union?

If you want to reserve a table at the best restaurants in Washington, D.C., make your reservation for the night of the State of the Union (SOTUS) address. Why? Because most Washingtonians are glued to their televisions for a night of political theater or attending SOTUS parties at neighbors’ and friends’ houses much like many of you do for the Super Bowl. And, just like the morning after the Super Bowl, the news and the blogosphere are filled with reactions, summaries, interpretations and commentary. What was my reaction to last week’s State of the Union? I certainly enjoy watching it on many levels. For example, professionally it helps us understand the administration’s priorities (and yes, I dream about him saying the words Title-V-MCH-Services-Block-Grant during his speech). On a personal level, I enjoy watching the president speak because I always learn from his oratorical style and excellent presentation.

The highlight of last night’s speech was its conclusion. Read the last paragraph of the president’s speech:

“No one built this country on their own. This Nation is great because we built it together. This Nation is great because we worked as a team. This Nation is great because we get each other's backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard. As long as we're joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.”

I loved that. It says so much about America, and about our values as Americans. It says so much about leadership, and teamwork, and why we all need to work together. I printed it out and tacked it to my wall for reflection and consideration in the future. It speaks to our need to be together, not separate, to unite, not divide. We all have differences, but in maternal and child health we all have a common purpose. And for that, I think we truly will remain strong.

What about you? What’s your State of the Union? How would you share your priorities, what programs would you highlight, who would you invite to sit in your equivalent of the first lady’s box? What stories would you share, what accomplishments would you call out? Who would you recognize, what battles would you recount? Do you have a cogent message you could carry as an MCH leader that could pull people together?

Whatever your SOTUS would sound like, I hope you too would use the same conclusion as the president did last week. Together, we are stronger. And as we move into a difficult legislative season we will most definitely need that strength to prevail.