Today it will be announced that the “Super Committee” that was brought together as a panacea for the woes of the U.S. budgetary debacle will end with no resolutions and with enough finger-pointing to make a Kinder Gardener blush. So I ask honestly. Did you think it would end differently? I mean really, did you? Now before you think this is some political piece let me assure you it’s not so hold those emails. This same silliness happens across the business landscape more often than anyone dares say. But if you listen closely, it’s whispered everywhere. “They’ve hired a consultant.”
It doesn’t matter in business, politics, or any other venture. The moment the person at the helm seems incapacitated or incapable of resolving major issues in strategy or survival the knee jerk response is to bring in someone else while possibly deflecting criticism for their own ineptitude. Hiring advisers or consultants can be a prudent business measure at times. There are also some great minds that work in the profession and some are worth far more than they charge, but there is also a flip side. There are those that add no value or serve no other purpose than to give credence to the illusion that the problems are so complex that not even so-called “experts” can reach a solution. The latter is usually hired by some H.R. department because they were lulled into some methodology or worse, they went with the cheapest that had just enough monikers, tag lines, or alphabet soup after the name to cover both theirs and the bosses backsides should it not work out. And I can assure you, it never does.
Managing in times of crisis is not for the faint of heart. It takes dogged determination, a fair amount of self-confidence, an ability to articulate you might not know the answers but are determined to find them, and to act. You also need to have a willingness to scuttle anything that doesn’t move the entity away from distress regardless of whose budget or ego it wounds. These insights are from personal experience. I’ve been there and have been successful, but with that success there were prices to be paid. I lost friendships, was scorned as tough decisions were implemented. Made alliances with people and firms that previously I wouldn’t accept a phone call from and vice versa. But when you’re at the helm, that’s what is not only expected, it’s demanded. Leaders lead. They may need help at times, but they don’t relinquish their leadership, they subjugate it. And people follow leaders. They don’t fall into line to fight the great battle behind the auspices of some committee regardless of the super powers it claims to hold.
So in the spirit of Bob Dylan:
“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”
And a Super Hero doesn’t kick a can. They kick ass!
© 2011 Mark St. Cyr All Rights Reserved