Stop trying to keep your job and start doing your job

Too many legislators and elected incumbents focus on trying to keep their job rather than doing their job. As a result, things do not get done, as every issue becomes a wedge issue rather than one that needs to be solved. I have grown long past weary on this lack of leadership and stewardship.

In my career, I have consulted on and actually been a part of several mergers between organizations, both for-profit and non-profit entities. Effective mergers require due diligence, planning and diplomacy. It should not surprise people, but the majority of mergers fail to be as accretive to the cumulative value of the two separate entities as first envisioned. Some actually are dilutive to that combined value – in other words, they fail.

One of the reasons is people involved tend to focus on keeping their jobs or getting good money to leave. They get overly protective of the way their organization does things, even if they do not know why they do it that way. They worry about keeping their job and less about doing their job. One of my favorite examples is two incumbents in a merger zealously vied for the same job verbally undercutting the efforts of the other. The boss decided to hire neither one of them as both showed their true colors.

Politicians in Washington and other capitols around the world and country tend to do this. They are failing to do their jobs and work together to solve problems. If the other side has an idea, its veracity is less important than the fact it must be defeated as the other side raised it. The fact that neither side owns all of the good ideas and both sides own some bad ones should make a difference.

These people in leadership positions are supposed to solve problems, not bark like a a junkyard dog at the other side. We citizens must insist they work together. Name callers need to be criticized and asked what they do not like about the other side’s ideas. If you do not like something, tell us what you propose and avoid barking at the other side? That serves little purpose and it certainly is not governance or rebuttal argument.

We must tell people in leadership positions to stop trying to keep your job and start doing your job. You owe it to us to do so. If you cannot do this, then resign – it matters not what party you belong to. You could start by stop spending 1/3 of your time or more fundraising and use that time to do the people’s work.

17 thoughts on “Stop trying to keep your job and start doing your job

  1. This is what I often think around election time when I see ads from one party bashing the others (I’m in Canada). It’s so immature and a waste of resources. Instead of trying to make other parties look bad, why not show that you’re qualified to do the job?

    • Thanks Ang. It is, but sadly fear sells. You would think that people could see through that, but they do not. I think we need to shorten the whole process to three months and force targeted issue debates. But, here there is too much money in politics, to influence behavior. Keith

  2. Note to Readers: A true story involves a large client who merged with another. A competitor who did similar work for the merger partner wanted to do the work for the combined entity as did we. They tried to undercut our efforts in a very visible way, as we had to defend ourselves. I emphasized to our team – focus on doing your job to serve the client, not trying to keep your job. Our focus enabled us to retain the work for larger entity. My main contact told me later our focus helped him as he did not want to have to judge a spitting contest. I think of this story when I see politicians try to undercut the opposition. To me, it reveals the clients (us taxpayers) matter less than their remaining in office.

  3. Good advice, Keith! Some of them are forgetting the actual purpose of their job and don’t notice that they lost their backbone somewhere on the way.

  4. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    I am brain-dead today, but fortunately our friend Keith is not and his thoughts here are well worth sharing. It often seems that while we dutifully pay our taxes, part of which goes to pay our elected representatives, we are not being represented. The politicos seem far more intent on keeping their power and enhancing their wealth than on doing their duty to We the People. Thank you, Keith, for putting this in perspective for us … now if only we can get the people in Congress to listen!

  5. Thank you for these clear words, Keith! Here its the same. They are all in keeping their jobs, most without knowing what they had been elected for. Sometimes this remembers me on the old times of the nobility, where some people out of the “normal people” were choosen to keep their former community be silent. 😉 Have a beautiful week! Michael xx

  6. It’s a problem… and not one that’s restricted to the political arena. Far too many people in elevated positions think more of their positions, and retaining or enhancing them, than they do on doing the right thing. It’s an endemic problem.

    • Pendantry, true words. I have consulted with people in the C-suite for decades. Self-preservation may not be apparent in all, but it is pervasive. It is human nature. Now, the better leaders are more egalitarian and should be commended, but the imperial leaders exist and are easy to spot. Their fatal flaw is “greed.” Keith

  7. Some commentators and historians will say we get the leaders we deserve; this is a bit unfair on the whole of the population, though certainly applies to those of limited perspective and ones who think it is astute not the vote.
    Reading this reminds that one Lyndon Baines Johnson was considered as ‘the most effective Senate majority leader in history’. And also barrelled, bullied and blasted the Civil Rights legislation through something the Kennedy administration had failed to do so. It was a tragedy that those skills did not translate into the international field, in particular during war.

    • Roger, agreed. I just finished Jon Meacham’s “Soul of America,” and the last part of the book is on LBJ and MLK. LBJ knew how cajole people in the Senate and he knew the rules. JFK acquiesced when Senators pushed back. LBJ just leaned into them. As for Vietnam, the Pentagon Papers reveal US leaders hid the facts from Americans through four presidents, LBJ and JFK included. We kept fighting a war we knew was unwinnable….and more died. Keith

      • That book does sound interesting. One I would recommend would be “The Best and the Brightest” (published 1972) by David Halberstam which is an account of how ‘The Kennedy Men’ with JFK & LBJ became embroiled in the war, despite all of their previous accomplishments and talents. The hubris of failing to adapt the victory in WWII and wearing down the North Koreans and Chinese in Korea came home to with a heavy price to pay.

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