Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Great American Makeover: The Anatomy of the Takeover

The Great American Makeover: The Anatomy of the Takeover

The Death of Capitalism: Only a Crisis Will Do

A hostile takeover is apparent to all involved, marked by antagonism and an unwillingness to participate or facilitate “the change”. However, the boiling frog theory is a vulpine method whereby turning up the heat in small increments becomes so unnoticeable that before anyone notices, the frog is boiled. Likewise, I assert a “smoke and mirrors theory” whereby anything can be changed quickly without resistance when a constant crisis is in effect to distract everyone from seeing what is going on behind the scenes.

There is a new global economy that has emerged from the historical foundation of what was once considered the basis for business and value. Today “value can be created or destroyed without any transactions, and intangible assets have suddenly become very important to valuation” (Boulton et. al., 2000, p. 1). Taxpayers are the shareholders of America and as of late our stock values have plummeted. It can be argued that “assets combine, recombine, and interact in infinite ways to create or destroy economic value” and with “human genetics as an analogy, we can think of assets as the components of the “business genome”, or the “value code”- the economic DNA of an enterprise” that economists and strategists must unlock to discover the code of value creation (Boulton et. al., 2000, p. 2). Looking at capital structure and how to best maximize the overall value of America Inc. for the taxpayers/stockholders, one needs to question the debt to equity ratios. The debt continues to climb as equitable values fall. There is a gross imbalance thereby devaluing the “corporation”. Who then wants to invest in such a corporation where there seems to be no end to the devaluation? Even a contrarian investor would see that the long-term horizon for such an investment would not be realized even by their great grandchildren.

The Strategy of Semantics

What if I decreed that “garbage” could no longer be called garbage. Garbage must be called “contingency waste products”. Does this change the hard facts that garbage is still garbage? Would garbage gain an enhanced image if I called it contingency waste products? Would garbage be less offensive if I called it contingency waste products? Would more people embrace their garbage and be less offended if it were now called contingency waste products as opposed to garbage? By changing the names of such things as war, does not inherently make the manifested acts any different, likewise terrorists are not perpetrators of “man-made disasters”. It is still war, they are still terrorists, just as garbage will always be garbage no matter what you choose to call it.

What is happening to the intellectual integrity of our society? The assault on our values that have stood for hundreds of years is being bulldozed by political demolitionists and the “New America” is being built by the biggest government body ever assembled in the biggest power grab ever attempted. Meanwhile, citizens that voted for this “change” seem to be reclining in their LazyBoys with remote firmly in hand watching mindless television to further gelatinize their brain while the government performs full frontal lobotomies on those who protest.
Who is really in control and what is this grand strategy being implemented? Much of what can be seen appears to unfold moment by moment without a real plan except to tear down the things that have made this country great. Thoughts to words to strategy to execution: there are apparent gaps in these constructs amidst the current administration. Closing Gitmo, which has been a successful “housing operation”, seems on the surface a simple task, but what is the exact plan on HOW you do this? How do you propose an act without having a strategy to successfully implement this action? Where do you then successfully and safely house these “people”, so that no person is offended if they are labeled by the actions they have “allegedly” committed? How do you create national healthcare without increasing taxes? How does national healthcare place any power and control of individual health in the hands of anyone except government bureaucrats that deem you are too old, sickly, or expensive to “fix”. It seems that certain corporate entities are “too big” to fail but the individuals that make up our society as a whole that run these entities are “to small” to matter.

Bankruptcy and Not Bailouts: Look to Organizational Theory

Population ecology theory “seeks to explain the factors that affect the rate at which new organizations are born (and die) in a population of existing organizations” (Jones, 2007, p. 330). According to this theory, “the rate of birth in a new environment increases rapidly at first and then tapers off as resources become less plentiful and competition increases” (Jones, 2007, p. 331). “Hannan & Freeman believe that long-term change in the diversity of organizational forms within a population occurs through selection rather than adaptation. Most organizations have structural inertia that hinders adaptation when the environment changes. Those organizations that become incompatible with the environment are eventually replaced through competition with new organizations better suited to external demands” (Hannan and Freeman, 1989, p. 27).

Leadership and Followership

To better understand leadership one must look at it “not just as an interaction, but more holistically, as a function of capabilities possessed and deployed by the individual leader” (Brown & Moshavi, 2005). Leadership is intangible “it exists only in relationships and in the imagination and perception of the engaged parties” (Bolman & Deal, 2003). Kouzes and Posner (2004) found that followers bestow the title of leader to those that they are freely willing to follow; those who possess honesty, are forward-looking, competent, and inspiring. These four traits combined are tantamount to credibility, the foundation of leadership.

“Extensive research has shown that leaders who exhibit positive leadership behaviors – such as intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration, inspirational motivation, and idealized influence – achieve greater employee performance, effort, satisfaction, and organizational effectiveness” (Barbuto & Burback 2006). Effective leadership is said to be a combination of the match between the leader and the leadership situation (Nahavandi, 2002). The biggest challenge for effective leaders is to bring out the best in others.

Darwin states “it’s not the strongest of the species who survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change” (Day & Schoemaker, 2006). There is no single leadership model that proves to be the most effective or the most successful, but a combination of styles, models and techniques that will provide the tools to meet present and future issues and challenges. It will be the skill, flexibility, knowledge and intuition of the leader to then craft the most appropriate situational response to the environmental indicators and human factors. Brilliant strategy and meticulous execution is required in the face of every environmental challenge, if success is to be realized and perpetuated. Execution must be part of an organization’s strategy and goals, and must be within the skill-set of every leader. “It is the missing link between aspirations and results” and “leadership without the discipline of execution is incomplete and ineffective” (Bossidy, Charan, & Burck, 2003, p. 495).

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