If you can’t agree on objectives, you’ll never agree on alternatives. The debt ceiling fiasco is a perfect example. Regardless of the outcome, the process is completely flawed because the debate is all about alternatives, not objectives:
- No tax increases
- No Medicare or Social Security cuts
- Smaller government
“No tax increases” is an alternative, not an objective. We all pay good money for services every single day. Taxes are just one way of paying for services – one alternative. There may be a better way, but let’s agree on the services needed first and then examine our alternatives. In countries like Norway, people and businesses are happy to pay taxes because they believe they receive good value for their money. Why aren’t we focusing on the value – the objectives?
No Medicare cuts, no Social Security cuts, and smaller government are also just alternatives. Lawmakers of all stripes have locked onto these and similar alternatives and have no intentions of budging. Where is the discussion of objectives? What do we want for the American people? Do we want our citizens to be educated? Do we want roads, police departments, and public parks? Do we want someone ensuring the safety of our food, water, and borders? What do we think should happen to people who encounter disasters and hard times? What are the priorities and truly unavoidable constraints? If there is no agreement on a vision for America, how can we decide how to get there?
Our exasperation with the government leads many to say that it needs to be run more like a business. Well, I’ve got news for you. I’ve encountered lots of businesses operating just like the government:
- Debating alternatives without agreeing on objectives
- Operating without a vision of what they want to become
- Making across-the-board cuts without taking a good hard look at the strategic impact
- Pursuing short-term goals without enough thought of the future
- Banking on cuts over growth strategies
- Winning at the expense of employees, customers, vendors, community, and the environment as if the company can survive in a vacuum
If any of these describe your business situation, don’t wait for a crisis to change your ways.
Need help changing your ways? Establishing a vision for the future? Choosing growth over cuts? Call Uncommon Clarity, Inc. at 800-527-0087.