Business Classy

Dear J-

There’s nothing quite as American as assessing blame; we delude ourselves into thinking that it’s a human trait, but it’s so ingrained in our culture that we just assume everyone else works the same way.  When we call for the presidential candidates to assume the mantle of leadership by finding someone to blame for the financial crisis, we forget what good leaders do:  instead of pointing the finger, they lift their hands and direct the recovery.

Leadership has more to do with taking action and being involved, being intimately familiar with what your team does and how they do it.  So while it’s fun — for a few hours — to point the finger at greedy CEOs and unscrupulous lenders, ultimately it does nothing to resolve the problem (how about this, if your company has screwed up badly enough to receive a government bailout, the folks responsible for business direction forfeit their last ten years pay as restitution?).  Yet we don’t have to accept a hasty plan, as we’ve accepted rushed decisions after last-minute decisions with little time to blink.

Who stands to benefit from the way the bailout is structured?  There are alternate proposals that deserve reasonable consideration; we do not have to accept the first blank check that comes across our plate.  Do you still believe in an unfettered business class?  With the opportunity for real reform, we still stand to lose at this; we still run the risk that the tenets of business first and always will carry the day.  Remember this:  if the failure of the company is spectacular enough to roil the economy, why did we let the company get that big and important in the first place?  When did private business interests start to trump the greater good?



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