12 December 2006

Value of a MBA? Negative $100 billion a year

It's worth noting that George W. is the first American president with a MBA. I'm a business consultant privy to the inner workings of many great companies. I'm not particularly convinced that the way George handled Iraq is all that different from the way that senior management in corporate America handles affairs.

He delegated hugely important issues like the reconstruction of Iraq after the invasion, basically showing little or no interest in helping to solve these incredibly difficult problems. He created a "can-do" culture in which dissent, questioning, and pointing out that a particular plan was unlikely to work were all discouraged. He talked in broad strokes about vision of the future regarding a reality he knew about only through PowerPoint presentations that had been heavily filtered. He focused on a series of intermediate deadlines (e.g., capturing Baghdad, approving a constitution) with little consideration for how achieving those intermediate goals might complicate his longer term goals. His approach to managing Iraq shares many of the traits seen in managers throughout corporate America.

The Iraqi debacle is not just a warning for policy makers in DC. It ought to be a warning for every senior executive seeped in the current style of management.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Needed: Innovation in how to manage an organization such that it increasingly generates non-zero-sum gains for those within the organization, and those that surround and interact with it.

Does such a paradigm exist?