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Posts Tagged ‘politicians’

POLITICANS – ARE WE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 17, 2010

I’ve been making the rounds through local political meetings lately and have met a lot of candidates for the November elections, everything from congressman, to senator, to county commissioner, to school board representative, to dog catcher. There’s a lot of new faces running for office, probably because they realize the citizens are fed up with the status quo. Interestingly, I noticed a lot of the new faces are not much better than the old faces.

I don’t care what party you’re in, there’s a certain level of “smarminess” associated with a politician running for office. Maybe it’s because the candidate is trying to appease everyone. You have to smile a lot, shake a lot of hands, and be a “Jolly Wally.” I don’t take these type of politicians seriously and I tend to wash my hands afterwards. They’re just plain “smarmy” if you ask me.

I’m generally disappointed in the types of questions we ask candidates. People tend to ask about their position of the catastrophe du jour. I tend to believe it’s rather easy to answer such a question in retrospect. It’s a lot harder to get them to give their opinion on what they would do in a future calamity; you tend to get vague generalities in this situation.

I don’t believe we are asking the candidates the right questions. As for me, I see this as an interview for a job (which it is). Consequently, we should ask questions about their skills, experience, and why they believe they are qualified for the job. For example, here are the typical questions I like to ask politicians:

* “What is the biggest job you’ve ever had?”

* “How many people have reported to you?”

* “What kind of performance reviews have you had?”

* “How do you accept criticism?”

* “What is the biggest decision you have had to make in your professional career? How did you come to your decision?”

* “What was the largest project you worked on in terms of money and people? What was your specific role in the project? What was the outcome (was it successful or a failure)?”

* “How do you prepare a Feasibility Study? What steps do you go through?”

* “What business skills do you possess? e.g., speaking, writing, negotiations, cost/benefit analysis, return on investment, etc.”

Again, if this sounds like a job interview, it is.

In a Republic, the masses elect people to serve office and in the process make their own decisions. Although they should listen to their constituents, they are not bound to follow popular opinion (which would be a pure Democracy). I therefore want to know if the candidate knows how to make a rational decision and has the proper character for the job.

I would much rather know the answer to these questions, then the latest public relations spin. We need more government officials with character than we need smarminess.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

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Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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HOW MUCH DO WE TRUST GOVERNMENT?

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 15, 2009

I recently developed a poll in Facebook whereby I was curious how Americans generally felt about their government officials, specifically how much they trusted them. To this end, the question was simply:

“For U.S. citizens only. In terms of your government officials (including Federal, State, and Local), how much do you TRUST your government?”

66 people participated in the poll, not exactly a landslide in terms of people, but still a respectable number. Here are the results:

0 – TOTAL TRUST – government officials have my best interests in mind. Keep everyone in office.

9% (6) – SOMEWHAT TRUST – I tend to believe in my government officials and I will support those I think are doing a good job.

12% (8) – AVERAGE – I am ambivalent. I can go either way depending on circumstances.

52% (34) – SOMEWHAT DISTRUST – I am suspicious of my government and I am inclined to vote out of office those I think are incompetent.

27% (18) – TOTAL DISTRUST – Government officials do not have my best interests in mind, I will vote out all incumbents in the next election.

I guess the results of the poll were to be expected. Even if more people participated in it, I believe the percentages would still be about the same. People today simply do not trust politicians. If we are so dissatisfied though, why do we reelect the same people over and over again? It seems we tolerate their behavior regardless of what they do. It’s kind of like thanking someone for mugging us, but with a little more finesse.

I sense a backlash is in the offing though as people become more aware of our growing economic problems, not just the meltdown of 2008, but our growing debt that looks more insurmountable with each passing day. In a way, it reminds me of the 1978 taxpayer revolt in California where the people finally got fed up with escalating property taxes and implemented the legendary “Proposition 13” to limit it (anyone remember Howard Jarvis?). This revolt helped propel Ronald Reagan into the limelight and launch his conservative movement.

From the discontent I am hearing today, I believe a similar groundswell is in the offing, and it will be so large, it will register shock waves on the Richter scale. In the next election, do not be surprised if you see a record number of incumbent officials voted out of office, not just at the federal level, but state and municipal as well.

I remember a time when we openly trusted our government officials, but I think the 1960’s changed all of that. When the stock market was clicking along on an upswing and we balanced the federal government’s budget, it seemed we were more inclined to overlook the indiscretions of our officials. Today though, as the economy stagnates, it is difficult to be trusting of any government official. I’m just thankful that I am not a politician as I believe people today will be giving a lot of them their walking papers in the next election.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Tune into Tim’s new podcast, “The Voice of Palm Harbor,” at:

http://www.phmainstreet.com/voiceph.htm

Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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