Every year since 1927, Time Magazine selects the Person of the Year, praising the person who, in the opinion of selected journalists, most impacted the news and the world. The list of candidates in 2012 included people from all over the world: Malala Yousafzai, the young girl from Pakistan who initiated a movement for better education of girls and survived a shot in the head by the Taliban; Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi; Bill and Hillary Clinton for their global humanitarian work; and U.S. President Barack Obama; and others. Finally, after much speculation, the announcement came on December 19, and the winner was Barack Obama.
The media needs to fabricate heroes in order to increase sales, and the reelection of Barack Obama did put him on the spotlight. However, as I read the news about President Obama as the person of the year, what caught my attention was the fact that most of the article was sharing about the several teams who supported his accomplishments. As I reflected on that, I wondered why Time selected a single person and not the team that built the leadership of Barack Obama. “Teamwork of the Year” seems to make more sense from a leadership perspective. The pictures below present part of the leadership team of Barack Obama.
The Campaign Team (from left): David Simas ran Obama’s opinion-research team, including focus groups; Stephanie Cutter managed the daily effort to defend Obama and dismantle Romney; David Axelrod, co-author of the Obama campaign story, oversaw the entire strategy from Chicago; Jim Messina, the campaign manager, designed, built and ran the whole campaign from scratch; Jim Margolis, the TV adman, relentlessly bombarded swing-state airwaves for months; Jeremy Bird, the grassroots organizer, created a smarter, larger Obama army than in 2008.
Geek Squad 1.0 (from left): Harper Reed, the chief technology officer, tweeted “My boss is awesome” after Obama won; Dan Wagner, the chief analytics officer, oversaw a team of number crunchers five times the size of the 2008 group; Dylan Richard engineered much of the software behind the campaign; Andrew Claster used analytics to develop new ways of targeting and predicting voter behavior.
Geek Squad 2 (from left): Michael Slaby, a veteran of the 2008 effort, hired the tech and data teams and kept them on track; Chris Wegrzyn built the infrastructure and software behind the massive data operation; Teddy Goff, the digital director, ran social-media, online and mobile outreach; Joe Rospars, the architect of online fundraising for Howard Dean in 2004 and Obama in 2008, oversaw digital efforts; Marie Ewald focused on e-mail fundraising, helping raise $690 million online.
Main White House Staff (from left): Jay Carney, the spokesman, handled the White House press; David Plouffe, the political strategist, steered the campaign’s White House outpost; Alyssa Mastromonaco, the deputy chief of staff, kept the President focused; Pete Rouse, the senior adviser, was the go-to troubleshooter; Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s closest adviser, was his sounding board; Dan Pfeiffer, the communications director, decided how to deliver the message.