Each party strives to get 50% + 1, then cram their “genius” down everyone’s throats while grinding the other party into the dust. The other party doesn’t like being treated that way, so they become obstructionist. Nothing gets done. In the football analogy, the team never moves the ball, never scores, never wins. Is this sounding familiar? Does it match what you’ve observed?
Well, let’s switch to the business world for a moment and look at what it takes for an organization to succeed. I see four skill sets needed – Sales, Production, Admin and Leadership. Sometimes Sales is called marketing or business development; Production also gets called operations; Admin has lots of names but encompasses all the functions connecting Sales and Production.
What is interesting is that we need a balance of all three of Sales, Production and Admin, plus Leadership that listens to all three and keeps everyone focused on delivering great results for the customer. The various groups of people don’t necessarily like each other, but they know they need each other so they work together in order to earn a paycheck. If they don’t deliver great results for the customer, then no one gets a paycheck!
If an organization uses the “All or Nothing” approach in favor of any of the three functions, the entity runs out of cash and collapses. If it’s all Sales’ way, then we’ll lure people into giving us their initial order … but get no repeat orders because we don’t have a good product. If it’s all Production’s way, then we’ll have a great prototype but no orders. If it’s all Admin’s way, then we’ll have a magnificent policy and procedures manual … but no product and no orders!
“All or Nothing” in any direction guarantees failure. This is what I call the discipline of the paycheck, the realization by workers that they must work with all the other groups and deliver great results for their customers … or no one gets a paycheck.
In the political arena, however, the discipline of the paycheck is missing. Workers in the political arena keep getting paychecks – in fact, keep getting rich – while delivering lousy results. It’s our responsibility as the employer in this relationship to fix that. We the governed have done a lousy job of hiring and supervising our employees in the political arena, and we’ve got to stop handing paychecks to people who disobey our instructions and cram lousy results down our throats.
My sense of the political arena is that Democrats resemble the Sales function – good at persuading people to do business with them, but policies that don’t work very well; establishment Republicans resemble the Admin function – concerned about process and consensus, but not very good at ideas or selling. Tea Party and Libertarians resemble the Production function – great at building solutions using Freedom and Rule of Law under God, but not gifted with much selling or consensus-building talent.
And until Trump, we’ve had Leadership who divided the three groups, favoring one while treating the others with disdain. Trump listens to all the groups, and tries to keep everyone focused on delivering great results. Now, it may be that Trump can unite the three groups by being everyone’s common enemy … but at least we’ll get great results! And that’s not uncommon in history, for a leader to deliver great results while being poorly thought of by most of the participants. In fact, that’s one definition of a good deal or a fair deal, one where everyone feels they didn’t get everything they wanted!
This, at least, gives us two concrete goals to work on:
- Renounce the “All or Nothing” approach (and stop handing paychecks to its practitioners);
- Find ways to introduce the discipline of the paycheck into the political arena.
ERpundit – 05/12/2018