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Productivity and Politics – Would Our Government Be More Productive If It Was Run Like A Business?

Our country has been divided by our recent Presidential Election. It is time for a new era of cooperation and respect, and I believe if we follow a "small business" model, it can be achieved!

 “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”.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John Linko November 17, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Kimberly - I enjoyed the points that you made, but I also believe that some of your assertions must be tempered with the realities of existing in a free society. 1. I agree that a business plan is important, but unlike an "at will" employment relationship in business, those who disagree with the business plan to the point of disruption, and/or who won't show "mutual respect", can't just be shown the door, according to an excellent fundamental business plan in it's own right, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This is especially true in states like Pa. where elected officials can't be recalled from office by a vote of the people. 2. Many in our country would see an emphasis to "Desire the 'Good of the Whole' over the Individual" as a step toward collectivism, socialism, or even communism. 3. Depending upon the organizational culture, this type of emphasis on business principles can also be used to reduce the ability of the individual to exercise their rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" according to one of the most awesome mission statements ever written - the Declaration of Independence. In governance, the ability to be flexible is essential - hopefully that's something that the GOP and the Tea Party ideologues will eventually learn...again.
Kimberly A. Kline November 18, 2012 at 02:04 AM
John, Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. I completely understand your take on my article. My statement concerning the "good of the whole" was more in reference to what I think most Americans want, a government that is willing to work together to achieve goals in the best interest of the people. Our representatives need to put aside their own agendas to achieve this. To me this does not hinder the individual from pursuing their own unique goals and exercise their rights. However, when we elect our representatives they are no longer "individuals" but are the voice for those that elected them. Their personal agendas should not come into play. The bottom line, I celebrate living in a country where you and I can engage in a discussion like this and can respect the other's opinions even if we don't agree! Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. It is certainly appreciated!

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