Friday, May 19, 2006

General Michael Hayden Promises to Sub-optimize the CIA?

Dear President Bush,

Will Michael Hayden’s management practices ensure the CIA incurs the heavy losses spoken of by leadership guru Dr. W. Edwards Deming? Your lack of leadership has and continues to incur them Executive branch wide. Several of your candidate’s comments lead me to believe that he is capable of taking the agency down that road.

In his testimony before Congress the General said he would “reward risk taking”. Does this mean he will provide financial incentives, bonuses or inducements? In the business world these are shown to produce internally competitive, win/lose behavior which makes the organization suboptimal, or less than it could be in serving its mission.

In his last book, The New Economics for Industry, Government, and Education, Dr. Deming warns how extrinsic motivators like incentive pay and forced rankings can crush intrinsic motivators, the natural joy in work and learning people are gifted by birth. Alfie Kohn wrote a book on this very topic Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and other Bribes which you and Mr. Hayden should also review.

Dr. Deming cited as point #8 in his 14 points of management “Drive out fear so that everyone can work effectively for the company”. From some comments made about the General, he can use fear as a prime motivator. Over time this reduces the effectiveness of an organization and incurs more losses.

As the number of terrorists have grown, according to General Hayden, what does this say about your “War on Terror?” Is it a case of leadership undertaking the wrong strategy to address a problem? How can it have gotten worse if the strategy's are targeted and effective? The likely new CIA director said the Iraq mission lacked understanding of local culture and of how decisions were made in the country.

With an understanding of Dr. Deming’s system of profound knowledge, leaders have a better chance of organizational success. Without it, actions are taken without knowledge, their likelihood of success is reduced as the problem is not understood, people become frustrated and de-motivated as they wish to do their best and take pride in their work, and systems continue to be sub-optimized. Please put The New Economics on your summer reading list this year and invite someone from the Deming Institute to hang out with you at the ranch in Crawford. It is a necessary first step to turning around the heavy losses your administration has brought upon our country and our world.

Please do so before commission the CIA to conduct a coup in Iran, Venezuela, or Bolivia. Tampering with sovereign governments of other countries is dangerous management practice. It is much better to show them through our example of how to lead on behalf of all citizens and you have much work to do in that regard. As a shining example, other leaders would want to come learn about our practices. My vision has a U.S. President with that leadership vision, don't make me wait for 2008 for it to even have a chance of being realized.

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