by Ken Melvin
What is the first criteria when a Board of Directors goes looking for a new CEO? When the construction firm goes looking for a project manager?
Of late, too often, US Politics seems to have a new standard for selecting officeholders. We have been, are, watching this horror of a Pandemic being mismanaged by elected incompetents. Incompetents who might have been promoted to yet higher positions if their incompetence hadn’t been exposed by the course of events. This isn’t about The Peter Principle at play. This is about a large group of US Politicians who were elected to high-level Executive positions based on their perceived allegiance to a specific ideology or dogma.
It is to be expected that Political Appointees, chits come due, are most often incompetent. But, here, we are talking about some Mayors and Governors, people elected to Executive Roles; that simply could not step up to the task at hand. Noted: There were, indeed, those who did step up; did so handsomely.
For weeks, we had been witness to some of these Governors’ media paean to: Markets, Capitalism, The Confederacy, Christian Values, Western Heroes, American Independence, … only too soon to be followed by record rates of Covid Infections in their states. Why follow the advice of Science and the Scientists? Why heed the guidelines of the CDC? What does Science know?
Appears that they still don’t understand the math, the doubling, science stuff like that. Easily influenced, these Governors followed the lead of an incompetent President who, too, didn’t understand the Science, nor the math; who couldn’t be bothered to read his briefings.
The Frontline Documentary on the Pandemic ( https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/the-virus/ ), quotes experts who say that 83% of the deaths were due to delays in taking action in the early weeks; delays that were due to the incompetence of the Trump Administration. Once upon a time, in earlier days, in Grade Schools in rural America, they didn’t really teach exponents, let alone logarithms. But a teacher might pose a question to their 7th and 8th graders something akin to: The Farrier offers to shoe your horse for the price of one penny for the first nail, two for the second, four for the third, …; is it a good deal? Since there are 32 nails, the total comes to 231 or 2,147,483,648 cents, or $21,474,836.48. Starts out small, then goes higher and higher faster and faster. One couldn’t be faulted for thinking that some of our elected Executives still haven’t figured out what it all means; how pandemics work. But their Management skills and their knowledge of Science, unfortunately, were not the reasons they were chosen. More likely, they were chosen on the basis of a professed belief in an ideology or dogma.
In the 2016 US Presidential Election, some were convinced that above all the country needed to pick someone of this or that ideology; that ideology itself was what was most important; or that we needed radical change; a shakeup. We wound up with an incompetent President who panders to Autocrats and certain ideologies. First and foremost, we needed someone competent; some who was up to the task. First and foremost, the Boards of Directors were looking for someone who could competently run the Corporation. Being brilliant, idealistic, clairvoyant, … even entrepreneurial, would be a super nice bonus, but first and foremost, at the very minimum; they must be competent.