So you think it’s a good idea to have a business person as President Part 2

If you haven’t worked in a large company, you may not be familiar with how the upper echelons of it’s management think.  To obtain a certain level of control in a large bureaucracy, one must have a certain kind of personality, the kind of personality who doesn’t mind cutting down everyone else to reach the singular goal of making themselves more powerful.  

As the veteran of a few large companies, I can tell you that the common denominator at the top is these guys (and they are mostly guys) believe rules do not apply to them.   Were they like that from the beginning, which helped them get to where they are or did they develop this as they moved up the chain of command in extremely command and control entities, the power and entitlement it grants leading them to believe they live by their own rules?    Does it really matter?  They are where they are, they do what they want and they don’t see limits.  Regulations?  Bah…  change them or find creative ways around them.  Paying what you owe?  When you can expense it to your company?   Come on now.  Firing people who disagree with you?  Goes with the territory.  Expectation of job performance commensurate with ones salary.  You’re funny (note:  they believe they are worth what they are paid, but tell that to anyone in the lower parts of the chain, working like a dog, that it makes sense that the CEO make 10, 20, 100 times more than them).  No matter how bad a CEO messes up, even if they get forced out, they will receive the golden parachute written into their contract. They will walk away with millions, guaranteed.  Even better, they will get another CEO gig.   

Never worked in a large company?  Think you don’t know who I’m talking about?  You do.  They are the person behind you honking when you’re trying to take a left turn, but there is constant oncoming traffic.  They are the person taking a left turn from the far right lane across 2 lanes because who are YOU to be THEIR way?  They will be driving an Audi, BMW, Mercedes… probably an SUV.   They have places to be and they think the rules don’t apply to them.  They are endangering you and your passengers because they don’t give a shit. 

The rules just don’t apply to them.  At least not the same rules that apply to the rest of us.   As a CEO if you don’t like what someone in your organization is doing, you can pull them aside and suggest they ‘let it go’.  Most of the time, whatever it is will be gone because if it isn’t you will be fired or worse, treated viciously badly until you resign, and either way they will bad mouth you in whatever circles they can.  The sense of entitlement this creates, even among those who have shareholders and boards to answer to is staggering.   If I don’t like the rules, I’ll just change them.   Unfortunately for the powerful,, but fortunately for us, the United States is a nation of laws.  Laws can’t just be changed overnight because one of our three branches of government wants it.   Executive Orders can’t change everything.  We do not have a dictatorship, you can’t just go around the other branches of government, (weak though some members of them are).  You can’t run a country like a CEO by just telling everyone what to do and firing those who don’t agree with you (thank you founding fathers, THANK YOU).    There are rules and there are laws in a civilized society.  Let’s hope they are strong enough to withstand a frustrated power broker, not used to not getting his way, not used to working well with others.  I believe we can, but please no more business people as President. 

So you think it’s a good idea for a business person to be President…

You think a business person knows how to make money, will squeeze efficiencies out, get rid of waste and in doing so lower your taxes?  This is my theory on the thought process, anyway.   My response:  have you ever worked at a large company?   Waste is all around you.  Examples: 

·        Employees who literally do nothing

·        Poor planning resulting in expensive over runs

·        People whose entire job is making Powerpoint presentations full of the latest business jargon (which they spent the morning googling)

·        The lunches.  One can’t possibly expect anyone to meet between 12 – 1 without being provided an expensive, catered lunch!    Certainly everyone will pass out if they wait to eat their own lunch at 1pm. 

·        The swag.  Everyone has t-shirts, fleeces, blankets and towels with the corporate logo on them.  It’s advertising!  

·        The marketing materials.  Whole forests have been destroyed to hand out glossy brochures that no one actually reads at trade shows. 

·        The expense accounts.  So many steaks, so much scotch, so many tickets.

·        The travel.  Oh, hello expensive room service and other expensive services provided to people out of town. 

·        The conferences.  Where people who know less than you present on topics you’re not interested in, but everyone gets to travel and have expense accounts (see above) and get swag from other companies.   Quadruple threat!  

·        The retreats/offsites boondongle.  Oh yes, we must get away from the mundane and ‘think out of the box’ (no doubt someone spent a whole week on the PowerPoints to get ready – see above).   Sometimes on islands or other warm locations within close proximity to golf course(s). 

·        Senior management bonuses totally more than the GDP of some states, even if the company is going down the crapper.   We can’t expect Executives to live on less.  They are the ‘idea’ people.  Again, even if the company is about to declare bankruptcy and go out of business, the bonuses will still be paid.  

Through all of the above, has the price of something you buy ever gone down because a business person wrung efficiencies out?     I’m waiting..   I can’t think of an example.   You think the ‘efficiencies’ will help you… think again.