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June 18, 2015

Is the President Actually Working?

Megan McArdle gets into this a little bit.

I don't know much about business but here is some informed speculation: Engagement begins at the top. When the CEO is engaged with his, you know, fucking job, he rides his senior officers, on top of them to perform. They, in turn, ride the junior officers, and the junior officers ride the middle managers, and middle managers ride the employees.

But the riding -- the tone that we are here to work, that results are not just expected but demanded, that all are accountable for their achievements as well as their failures -- begins, and frankly ends, at the top.

It is CEO that sets the corporate pace as far as achievement and striving.

And if the CEO is a semi-retired layabout prince who never had a real job in his life before and likes watching TV a whole heck of a lot, and who really doesn't care about any aspect of the job except bullying reporters into printing positive stories about him and downplaying bad news, then that tone is transmitted throughout the organization.

The CEO is the brain of the beast. If the beast is lazy, dissembling, and ineffectual, you look at its brain, not its left big toe.

Megan McArdle on Obama's Culture of Incompetency:

I'm tempted to suggest that the confidence our president expresses in people who preside over these cyber-disasters, and the remarkable string of said cyber-disasters that have occurred under his presidency, might actually be connected. So tempted that I actually am suggesting it. President Obama's administration has been marked by titanic serial IT disasters, and no one seems to feel any particular urgency about preventing the next one. By now, that's hardly surprising. Kathleen Sebelius was eased out months after the Department of Health and Human Services botched the one absolutely crucial element of the Obamacare rollout. The NSA director's offer to resign over the Snowden leak was politely declined. And now, apparently, Obama has full faith and confidence in the folks at OPM. Why shouldn't he? Voters have never held Obama responsible for his administration's appalling IT record, so why should he demand accountability from those below him?

...

When the exchanges crashed on their maiden flight, the government managed to build a crudely functioning website in, basically, a month, a task they'd been systematically failing at for the previous three years. What was the difference? Urgency. When Obama understood that his presidency was on the line, he made sure it got done.

The serial IT disasters we have seen over the past seven years do not need a blue-ribbon commission or a really stern memo to fix them. If we want these holes fixed before they become catastrophic, we need leaders with a scorched-earth determination to have adequate IT. The only way that determination happens is if these failures become an existential threat to the careers of the politicians in charge.

We have an Administration for which failure is not only commonplace, it is acceptable, and the only true failure is the acknowledgement of that failure, which may play badly in the press (but which would succeed in correcting the failure).


Your Honest, Hard-working, Rara Avis Genius President with the Impeccably-Creased Trousers

The only true failure lies in admitting our failures.


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posted by Ace at 06:28 PM

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