Productivity and Politics – Would Our Government Be More Productive If It Was Run Like A Business?
“A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand”. Abraham Lincoln
Our most recent elections are behind us and I have to admit I am very relieved to no longer see the political “ads” cluttering my television. However, in a very real sense, our political tasks are just beginning.
Despite President Obama having already held the office, I challenge him and our Congress to view this as a time to pull together and start anew. Old antagonisms need to take a back seat and a new spirit of cooperation should begin.
The question now needs to be, how can we move forward and achieve the balance and progress this country sorely needs?
I feel the best way to accomplish this is to treat our government more like a business, and of course I mean a highly successful one!
Imagine President Obama as the owner or Chief Operating Officer of a Small Business. He has a vested interest in its success and growth. He is willing to “go the extra mile” to ensure it is run efficiently, cost-effectively, and ethically.
Now go on to imagine our Congress as the board and employees of this small business. They are also invested in its success. They are willing and eager to put in the work to make that success happen and they desire the ongoing strength of this company at all costs.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? The question then becomes, how can this be accomplished? How can a “small business mentality” create a more productive government?
I think this can be done by applying the strategies used by successful businesses to the running of our government. No business can thrive without a clear mission statement and a concise business plan.
First let’s recognize what makes a business successful. I believe you need the following:
- A Strong “Mission Statement” or business plan – the company’s goals need to be well thought out and clear.
- An Understanding of Their “Customer” – that would mean Us! A business needs to recognize their customer’s needs and interests.
- A Desire to Provide A Quality Product or Service – truly wanting to provide the very best to your customer.
- A Recognition of the “Bottom Line” – realizing the costs involved in running the business and understanding the need to keep the budget in check.
The question then becomes, how to best implement these goals?
As with any strong business, it needs to start at the top. President Obama needs to embody the characteristics of a great leader. It is up to him to create an atmosphere conducive to achieving goals and cooperation.
The Characteristics of a Strong Leader Are:
- The Ability to Create an Atmosphere of Mutual Respect – a place where all opinions are considered equally.
- The Ability to Clearly Communicate the “Mission Statement” – the goals of the “company” must be recognized and agreed upon.
- The Ability to Delegate – a leader must be able to pinpoint the “best person for the job” and empower them to get things done.
- The Ability to Inspire – a leader must be the driving force within a successful company.
- The Ability to “Own” Mistakes and Learn from Them – a leader needs to be able to acknowledge errors and be able to guide his team beyond them
Our Representatives and Senators then need to play their part. As the “board” of this company, it is imperative that they focus on the ultimate goal of a stable and strong nation.
To achieve this, Congress Must:
- Agree to and Practice the Concept of “Mutual Respect”
- Understand and Believe in the “Mission Statement"
- Be Willing to “Step up to the Plate” and Use their Strengths Wherever Needed
- Desire the “Good of the Whole” over the Individual
I am hoping that a little “distance” from this Election can find this country in a more cooperative mood. It is time to put our divisiveness in the past and begin working towards our common goal – creating an America full of hope, prosperity, and good will.
We, as citizens, also need to do our part. Our elected officials are there to “represent” us, so we need to embody a spirit that is worthy. We must put our own differences aside. Remember, we are all vested in the stability of our country and this should unite us as one.
Let’s make sure our elected officials are doing everything they can to ensure our country is strong, unified, and prosperous – and that may mean embracing a “small business mentality!
I conclude with these thoughts by Abraham Lincoln; a “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”.