Leadership in a Changemaker World: Lessons from the COO of Barack Obama’s Presidential Campaign

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This article originally appeared on Inc. Southeast Asia

As history itself would attest, there’s no doubting the fact that the team who managed U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2008 “Obama for America” Presidential Campaign ran it like a well-oiled machine.

Interestingly enough, as an exclusive Inc. Southeast Asia interview with its Chief Operating Officer Henry de Sio would reveal, the Obama campaign actually had its roots as a start-up.

When then-Senator Obama announced on February 10 that he was running for president, De Sio reveals that they didn’t start building the organization until six weeks later on April 7.

De Sio, now the Global Chair for Framework Change of Ashoka, the first and largest organization of social innovators in the world, paints us a picture of how the successful campaign started in utter chaos: “We were getting computers out of boxes and still getting final touches on our servers, we’ve got checks coming in and opening our bank accounts to receive them…We’ve got phone calls ringing into the reception desk and teams of volunteers that change everyday. People didn’t know where to send the calls to because we didn’t even know each other’s names yet. It was like coming into a blank space where there are no rules, no norms, and no cultural history.”

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