Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Obama to Evaluate Government Programs for Effectiveness

In appointing his new OMB director, President elect Barack Obama gave Peter Orszag a charge, evaluate existing government programs for effectiveness and eliminate those that do not work. This sounds great. However, Obama is following the spectacularly incompetent George W. Bush.

Bush's heavy handed, incurious management style means our current federal bureaucracy is rife with suboptimization and wrong figures. A better approach would involve identifying the aim of government and critical programs necessary to achieve that aim. Then put everyone to work on improvement.

Government and corporate leaders need to use profound knowledge to improve our economy, business operations, and government functioning. That means education on systems, knowledge, psychology, variation, and their interaction.

America used Dr. Deming's teachings during WWII, when material for manufacturing was so scarce, every bit needed use. He helped rebuild Japanese manufacturing after the war. Dr. Deming refined his teachings until his death in the mid 90's.

Our financial crisis has its roots in poor quality work, extrinsically motivated (greedy) leaders, and a government asleep at the wheel. With profound knowledge America can produce high quality goods, leaders will be transformed, and markets/jobs will grow. The time to start is now.

The aim is to provide good jobs, to grow the market, to give people the chance to do quality work. I know it's a huge job, recovering from bad leadership. But, let's not start out with large scale amputations based on Bush's mangling of our federal limbs. Try the ICU first.

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