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Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

The ACA Healthcare.org site roll out is an excellent example of why the government is not equipped to manage projects of this nature.  It also is a clear example of mis-management at multiple levels all the way to the top – a result of an inexperienced manager at the helm of our country.  Let’s not argue about the merits of the ACA, or even the lies perpetuated by this administration about keeping your plan – Let’s look at the hard-earned tax dollars wasted in a system that had to be redesigned and reworked because it wasn’t managed properly.  This is why many Americans are so angry, so frustrated with the government’s addiction to spending money the government does not have.  It’s not just the debacle of the ACA, but there are all sorts of wasted activities within the federal government – perpetuated by both democrats and republicans.  This lack of fiscal responsibility led to the birth of the Tea Party – which is seen as so far to the right they are viewed as radicals.  The United States Government MUST stop spending beyond its means.  My biggest frustration and my biggest concern is with the scale of money being spent, the associated waste is significant.

So – let’s consider this – can we all agree that regardless if we believe in a larger government serving more social needs, or smaller less intrusive government that this government should run efficiently and effectively?  I’m sure when you spend your money, you don’t want to waste it on poor quality goods, or receive shoddy services.  You typically are careful when and where you spend your money, and plan out larger expenditures.  You borrow occasionally, but strive to reduce your outstanding debt.

When our government grows to the point where it gets too large, it becomes extremely difficult to keep waste in check.  This just snowballs to the point of continually feeding the monster with more money.  Cuts no longer mean less, they mean just not as much more.  Our government – through decades of mismanagement has become increasingly less efficient.  Regardless of your social and political beliefs, even a larger government should still run efficiently.  The government is so dysfunctional today, is there any hope?

To truly turn this country around, to get people back to work, to improve our education system, to reduce poverty levels, to raise our standing in the world – we need to get our house in order (House, Senate, and 1600 Pennsylvania Ave).  There is no need to tax more (need to tax less), there is no need to create massive government programs – what we need to do is cut waste, refine government programs, and improve efficiency.  I’m convinced that if we pooled our business intelligence, and applied simple process improvement tools, the government could operate with significantly less money while performing the same level of services it does today.  What we need today is a leader who challenges those who were elected and work for us to improve how government operates so it can do more with less.  And we need politicians to STOP promising what they can not deliver – to STOP promising “free lunches”, and challenge the people of this great country to take charge of there lives – government can be there to give them a hand up – not just a perpetual hand out!

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As I began to write this post – I found myself writing an open letter to the President – here’s what I’d say:

Mr. President, your campaign is over.  You ran a well run campaign, demonized a good man, fired up your supporters, and won an election some might say was against the odds, given your record.  Some might even say your supporters went a bit overboard (as in the Hamilton County, Ohio voter who was proud to get to vote for you multiple times).  You received significantly more votes than did Mitt Romney, but it was not a landslide (you really only received about 29% of the vote based on the total eligible voters – not just those who came out to cast a ballot).   But you did win, and you now are the people’s President – including mine.  As an American, I appreciate the differences in this vast land that builds our character – who we are.  There are many views that mix all together and make this country great.  But I have a problem Mr. President – I’m concerned that there is much hard work to do to help make this country remain the exceptional nation it has always been – and yet you choose to continue campaigning, rather than lead.

Remember Mr. President – you were elected as the President of the United States, serving the people of these United States – NOT, as it seems of recent, just those who voted for you (remember, only 29% of the country).  While I’m perfectly fine with your need to rile up support from your party in an attempt to win an election, now that you have won, it is time to serve ALL the people.  Of course this is not an easy thing to do – you must listen to others views, thoughtfully consider these, and weave them into how you lead the nation.  It means rolling up your sleeves, facilitating rigorous discussion, and compromising on your views, considering your ideas might not be the best approach.  Leading this nation based on fear and one-sided thinking is hurting our country – one we both love and care for.  Always placing blame on others is not leadership – it is “victimship”.

The Sequestration was an idea you pushed for – thinking these indiscriminate cuts would drive both parties to work hard to avoid them – Congress bought into the idea – sure it was the “easy” thing to do – pass a bill saying if we can’t figure this out over the next 12 or so months, these nasty tax hikes and cuts will automatically go into effect – kind of like MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction).  But what did YOU do to help drive a solution that would solve this problem – well, OK  you were busy getting reelected.  When it was time for America to go over the “fiscal  cliff”, everyone kicked the can down the road a few more months.  You already won the election, so it was your time to lead the country – to take republican and democratic leaders and bring them together (why not a great week at Camp David).  Facilitate a discussion to identify common ground, compromise on certain principles, and develop a solution that addresses ALL American views.  Do this hard work to reform tax code, reform entitlements, find ways to make the government operate more efficiently – do even more with less (it can be done).

As my President, that is what I expect you to do.  Under NO circumstances do I want you to take a partisan approach to solving our nations problems, and then spend my money to run around in perpetual campaign mode, trying to convince those you’ve pushed away that it’s your way, or the world collapses.  If you want the government to take a bigger role then its supposed to do – then find ways to do it that will reduce our spending.  As my President, I expect you to bring this country together to solve our problems, to protect our interests, and to be a good steward of OUR money.

Mr. President, I’m disappointed in your leadership skills, your ability to understand our economy, your lack of business skills, your lack of concern about the views of a significant portion of this country that you should be listening to, and your inability to bring congress together to solve the challenges we face.  In the remaining years of your last term, I pray you find the wisdom to correct your shortcomings and the strength to face the tough challenges head on.  Creating and environment of fear, and then blaming someone else for this fear is simply immoral.

Best regards,

A Concerned American

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The State of the Union was last night – this is a great American tradition, where the President gets to address both chambers of congress and tout successes in the previous year and layout plans for the future.  The current President, Barack, took his turn to fulfill this legal requirement.  Barack is definitely one who can deliver a smooth oration.  He comes across well in this environment.  But I’m not sure he has any comprehension of reality.  Let’s start at the beginning, with a slight distortion – 6.1 millions jobs created – counted starting after the peak of job losses (Feb 2010) – If you consider during his entire watch, only about 1.9 million jobs have been added.  Obama talked about gas mileage in cars having doubled – well, not yet – won’t happen for another 17 years.  But, lets’ not worry about this spin.  What is more troubling is  all of the new programs the President proposed – oh and it’s not going to add a single dime to the deficit.  What about reducing the deficit – why are trillion plus dollar deficits not worth having a serious discussion on?  We must begin to take a comprehensive look at everything the government spends money on – EVERY THING – including “entitlements”.  We can not sustain continued deficits and ever rising debt ceiling.  The sequester – the President’s idea –  is a childish way to have the government do what the people expect it to do.  Obama and the Senate have failed for 4 straight years to produce a responsible budget – any budget at all.  It’s time to stop spending any more money – proposing any new programs and figure out what truly is and isn’t working.  The word CUT needs to truly mean cut and not just reduce the growth rate.  It is possible to actually improve some programs at the same time you are reducing the cost of the program.  Focus on reducing waste, duplication, and fraud in government programs and we’ll find ways to bring down the deficit.  Yes – some of the issues we face today are due to a sluggish economy and the drop in tax revenue that brings – but let’s encourage the private sector to get things revved up.  Accelerating private sector growth will drive revenue to help in deficit reduction.  Increasing tax rates is counter productive – although some tax reform is in order.

Alternative energy investment should be considered carefully – while global climate change occurs as part of a cyclic phenomenon, it is unclear how mankind can make significant impact to this cycle.  We should not be pouring in tax dollars chasing a theory.  Instead – get Keystone online, continue to reduce dependency on foreign oil, and make investments that make sense in alternative energy.  I’m just wondering what will happen to all the batteries we’ll need to dispose of on all of these electric vehicles?  More money for preschool education – noble idea, but there are studies that show earlier learning opportunities may not contribute to improvements in the later years – but improvements in our current elementary schools will – but that doesn’t mean spend more money necessarily – make elementary school learning more effective – and hold schools accountable for results.

Stop spending, roll up our sleeves, and do the hard work worthy of a congressman, a senator, a president.  President Obama – you were elected for a second term based on misrepresentations and hollow promises – but you have won.  Stop campaigning and start learning how to be a leader, not just a community organizer – Our country is much bigger than that, and the risk of failure is much greater.  You need to put aside your philosophical approach and get down to real facts and worthy bipartisan solutions.  The State of our Union is NOT strong as you suggest – it is in a state of polarization and the time has come to bring this country together – or, with all due respect,  get out of the way and let someone take over who can.

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So this is what we get – this is what America chose – What were we thinking?  The election is over and the business of running the country is at hand.  However, the consequence of choosing a professional campaigner is now leading us to the edge of the “fiscal cliff”.  The problem is simple, the decisions that need to be made are difficult, and it takes a real leader to be able to pull this together in a way that will bring us back from the brink.  Negotiating by being completely intransient is, well, just obtuse.  So Obama sends his lap dog Geithner into negotiate with Boehner and delivers a proposal which in essence is dead on arrival, a plan similar to what not a single democrat in the House or Senate would approve – but OK – a starting point.  Boehner then submits a counter offer, which is a more reasonable offer with some compromises on the revenue side – but the President quickly rejects and stands pat on the position of increasing tax rates on the wealthy.  Not that anyone expected Obama to accept with open arms. So what does Obama do – CAMPAIGN (see previous post – President or Perpetual Campaigner).  First a photo-op with Mitt (see I’m reaching out), then a Twitter feed (tell us how a $2000 tax increase will hurt your family), then a campaign stop at a toy factory (wait – I thought the campaign was over) – Are ads next?  That is NOT leadership.  This country is not in very good fiscal shape and we needed a leader who would use his skills and talent to bring both democrat and republican to the table – to hash out ideas, figure out a solution both sides could work with.  Make the hard decisions to accept compromise, even on fundamental campaign promises.

So here are a few suggestions Mr. President.  First – bring together key leadership from the House and Senate, from both parties.  Go to Camp David, or other suitable quiet location, with zero press corps, take away cell phones, and limit contact to the outside world (meaning  lobbyists).  Second – spend the first two days developing a clear problem statement (no discussion of solutions).  It might go something like this – Government is spending too much money, government has efficiency issues, the government has specific obligations it must uphold…something along those lines.  Third – invite  several successful businessmen or women (try to keep a good mix of political affiliations) to the party to participate in identifying some clear goals.  Keep them high level – like… need to generate x billion in revenue, reduce spending by y billion – put time limits on it.  NOW, brainstorm on ideas – again, reject nothing – spend a day on this – keep the ideas in categories – revenue ideas, spending reduction ideas.  Assign values to the ideas.  Use the business folks to run some sanity checks on the ideas and the values assigned.

OK – we are about 4 days into this process.  Next comes the fun part – separate into mixed teams of 6 or 7 (democrats, republicans, businessmen on each team)  Give them 24 hours to take all of the ideas presented, with the values agreed and develop a proposal they will have to defend as a team.  Pick enough from the revenue column, and spending savings column to equal the agreed goal numbers.  I’m assuming you might have three or four teams.  At the end of the 24 hour period, they come back together and present the solution to the entire group.  Then everyone gets to, by secret ballot,  force rank these solutions – then choose the highest ranked solution.  Bring this back to the full House and Senate and hash out details, put into lawyer speak – crisis averted.

What is that – one week?  Please tell me WHY that approach wouldn’t work?  Think about it…

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Just four months to go and we’ll elect the next president of the United States.  The campaigns are gearing up to rev up their supporters and sound bites fill the air with half-truths at best, and in many cases, outright lies.  Words or actions are twisted like a pretzel to portray the candidate as if they are monsters.  That seems to be the method of choice for most campaigns, and based on the handlers that look at reaction to these negative campaigns, they seem to work.  I’m not certain if that’s a good reflection on either the campaigners or the people it sways?  Negative campaigns in most political contests are expected at some level, but at the presidential level, it seems to really lower to prestige of the office.  This country is really suffering – suffering from mistakes of the past, from global economic realities, from lack of exceptional leadership.  President Obama is not a skilled leader, but a talented campaigner.  He’s been in campaign mode since he started his quest for office – and is still in that mode.  Any of the policies he has desired to push through have not been promoted with a healthy debate on the merits, but mainly by negatives (typical campaign approach) related to alternate approaches.  This constant barrage of negativism over the past 3 1/2 years is  further divided congress and the American people.

There have been a number of attacks on Romney by the Obama campaign that are either simply false, or at best a twisted version of reality.  Romney is a businessman who knows what it takes to run a company, to drive profits and grow businesses.  You do this by understanding how business operates, and understanding how to improve efficiencies.  Companies that are profitable can expand, can grow, can hire, and can help other companies to grow (by using them in the supply chain).  Expansion may even take place in other countries (yes, we operate in a Global economy).  That’s what business is about – growth through innovation, growth through efficiencies, growth through expansion.  It’s clear that our bloated, inefficient government could use some proven business processes to reduce expenses and run more effectively.  Let’s have a healthy debate on that – instead of calling Romney a felon, let’s have a discussion on how Obamacare is going to be an efficient program that will truly help our health care system?  Instead of calling Romney the king of outsourcing, lets talk about elimination of wasteful government spending.  Let’s stop talking in sound bites and have a discussion on how we can reduce the size of the government and improve the lives of all Americans by getting America back to work.

I think the most frustrating thing is many Americans make decisions just on sound bites, because it’s too hard to understand the reality of the facts. Wake up America – before it’s too late!

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What in the world is happening to America – what is going on in DC – Where have all our leaders gone?  I’m sorry to say that President Obama is NOT a leader.  He came to power with limited management experience, and his approach to governing is abysmal.  His approach to almost everything is to blame someone else – blame Bush, blame oil companies, blame oil speculators, blame wall street, blame insurance companies, blame the rich…it goes on and on.  Blaming others for problems that exist is not leadership – its victimship.  Victimship is where you create a “villain”  and then use this villain to be the reason why something isn’t going right for you.  Let’s look at a few examples – we have a health care issue in the United States – let’s create a villain in the Insurance Industry – blame them for the problem, then let’s create “The Affordable Health Care Act” and let the government regulate and in essence take over the industry.  Or, gas prices are going up – let’s turn oil speculators into villains and let’s go after them.  That is NOT leadership – it’s more like “lack of”.

So, what is leadership?  Leadership is part great manager, great coach, great listener, and great visionary.  Each one on its own is not enough, but a combination of all of these brings about a strong and viable leader.  If healthcare is an issue, understand what the real issue is (great listener), build a positive vision that has elements of support across the aisle (great coach), manage expectations (great manager), and drive the vision forward (great visionary).  Unfortunately, due to lack of leadership, partisanship has reached a poisonous level.  To be president of the United States, there are many traits important, but most important is a level of experience in a leadership role.  Mr.Obama is an educated man, successful lawyer, but has fallen short in his current role – mainly due to lack of significant experience as a leader.  He really only knows how to be a politician, and is in a continual state of running for the next election – this has totally diminished his ability to lead.  The problems we face in this country have grown too large to continue to play these political games.  The time has come for our elected officials to come together and focus on solving our problems together – let’s dig deep and discover the root causes of problems, and solve them.

As we head towards the fall of this year, we as a country must recognize that America’s leadership in the world is also diminishing. Our march to a more socialistic society is debilitating our ability to sustain growth at levels we’ve enjoyed in the past.  The size of our government is putting our country in financial straits that will be difficult to dig out of.  In November, we will have the opportunity to re-think our direction, re-evaluate our principles, and renew our country’s prosperity.

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