Saturday, March 08, 2008

Bush Qualifies as Problem CEO

An article on problem Chief Executives in the New York Times applies to our current President, George W. Bush. Consider some traits cited by the business author:

“Observers are often amazed when executives with impressive track records are mysteriously transformed into corrupt and tyrannical monsters once they become C.E.O.s,” Terry Leap, a management professor at Clemson University, writes in Sloan Management Review.

Does wanting to waterboard suspects fit into the tyrannical part? How about invading a country pre-emptively?

But they (observers) should not be (amazed), he says, pointing out that these executives “had serious character flaws that were either hidden or ignored for years.”

The Democratically controlled Texas legislature, specifically House Appropriations Chair Rep. Rob Junell, made Bush "the uniter." Once he rode that mantra in Washington, Bush shed that role like a used condom.

Mr. Leap lists a dozen warning signs that boards should be looking for, and they include:
An obsession with acquiring prestige, power and wealth.” This, coupled with an inability to delay gratification, suggests that a chief executive may put his interests ahead of the company’s.

Bush regularly puts his political party's interests above the country. Other characteristics of flawed CEO's include:

A reputation for shameless self-promotion and other self-aggrandizing behaviors.”

A tendency to create “grandiose strategies” without including a detailed plan for how they will be carried out.

Let's see, the Iraqi people will greet us with flowers, followed by no detailed occupation plan. And for rebuilding New Orleans, Bush actually said, "The work that has begun in the Gulf Coast region will be one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen. When that job is done, all Americans will have something to be very proud of."

Flawed leaders have the ability to compartmentalize and rationalize to an amazing degree. This trait, Mr. Leap writes, is shared by dysfunctional people, among them bad chief executives and criminals.

Does this qualify as dysfunctional? That same night in Jackson Square, New Orleans Bush stated, "I also want to know all the facts about the government response to Hurricane Katrina." Yet, Bush's report left out at least one key fact, the hospital with the largest number of patient deaths post landfall. LifeCare Hospitals had been purchased by The Carlyle Group just weeks before Katrina sideswiped New Orleans.

George W. also said that dark night, "The United States Congress also has an important oversight function to perform. Congress is preparing an investigation, and I will work with members of both parties to make sure this effort is thorough." Yet, his White House refused to hand over e-mails between White House Chief Andy Card and Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend. That clearly doesn't fall into the thorough category.

So Bush is pathological. Who really didn't know that already? We've seen him defend the list of criminals under his employ. They range from Scooter Libby to Tim Goeglein. My guess is a few more are yet to be discovered. Like draws like...

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