Detroit, The IRS And Distrusting Government

I like studying management and leadership. I have read about the topic since 1988, and I have done the job, as a leader, Pastor of a small church, and a manager, for fourteen years at Boeing. I was reflecting on this during my morning reading due to articles  in WSJ discussing the Detroit fiasco, IRS scandal, and the collapsing confidence in our government. I had two concluding thoughts; one the recognizes the importance of honest leadership, and the second involves paying attention. Two simple ideas that will help ensure of well-managed organization.

Take Detroit for example. Detroit is the largest municipality to declare bankruptcy. Instead of using proper controls of revenues and expenses, Detroit promised large pensions to its employees thinking they would always have enough revenue to pay for it. Detroit did not think its automobile industry would shrink, but it did. In fact, one of GM’s previous leaders once said that anyone who thinks that GM’s market share would be less than 38% is smoking opium. This managerial hubris was unhealthy and noncompetitive. GM’s market share is now 18%.

The IRS scandal demonstrates how destructive nontransparent, dishonest management can be. The scandal was supposed to be centered in Cincinnati, now it appears that the problem has been traced to the IRS chief counsel. Elizabeth Hofacre, “in charge of processing Tea-Party applications in Cincinnati, told investigators that her work was overseen and directed by a lawyer in the IRS named Carter Hull.” Hull is the IRS chief counsel appointed by the President. The lack of honest and transparent managerial practice demonstrates the affect unethical leadership within an organization.

The poor performance of leadership in this nation leads a collapsing confidence in our nations managers. I don’t believe it is just in government leadership, but which means 64% of American people think the President is doing a poor job. However, the Congress has an approval rating of 10%. 90% of the American people think congress is doing a poor job.

So, in light of these events what can management do to turn things around? Congress, Detroit, and organizational leaders need to create ethical, honest and transparent systems to guide their organizations. Trust must be reestablished, and it will take more than just words. Second, in the case of our politicians, the deficit must be managed. In the case of Detroit, a 58 minute Police response time is atrocious. Leaders must manage resources more efficiently and effectively. However, they must recognize that it will take all employees will need to be involved with the solution.

Can this be accomplished? I am an optimist, and believe it can happen.

And that is my thought for the day!


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