Help Wanted; POTUS. See Job Description (EP.86)

Summary

We all know that if we want to attract high quality candidates to important positions anywhere; in business, the military, healthcare, law enforcement and fire protection, teaching and so on, that the job description and compensation must be highly attractive. Additionally, the working environment must be cooperative and supportive. The best candidates have many options. All of that is pretty straightforward.

Imagine the kind of candidates we would get if we ran the following Help Wanted ad:

CEO to run a company of 330,000,000 people, with a security force of 1,300,000. Your Board of Directors is split between two groups; one with 435 members, the other with 100. Both groups are divided between those who will like the CEO, and those who will detest the CEO. The HR department has 9 members who often overrule everyone else. Every four years the people get to vote on the CEO, and in between they vote on the Board. There is also a bureaucratic department of 2,000,000 employees, none of whom can be fired. Compensation is $400K annually, with good benefits, a pension plan, meal plan, housing and transportation. Must be good with people; half of the 330M people in the company will be out for your hide at any given moment. During the 18 month interview process, you will be subject to intense scrutiny, exhausting travel, and you and your family will be vilified. Apply to USA, an equal opportunity employer.

What kind of candidates do you think we would get? For the next 10 minutes, we will unpack what our country offers to attract potential Presidents, and the kind of candidates who are most likely to apply.

Transcript

We all know that if we want to attract high quality candidates to important positions anywhere; in business, the military, healthcare, law enforcement and fire protection, teaching and so on, that the job description and compensation must be highly attractive. Additionally, the working environment must be cooperative and supportive. The best candidates have many options. All of that is pretty straightforward.

Imagine the kind of candidates we would get if we ran the following Help Wanted ad:

CEO to run a company of 330,000,000 people, with a security force of 1,300,000. Your Board of Directors is split between two groups; one with 435 members, the other with 100. Both groups are divided between those who will like the CEO, and those who will detest the CEO. The HR department has 9 members who often overrule everyone else. Every four years the people get to vote on the CEO, and in between they vote on the Board. There is also a bureaucratic department of 2,000,000 employees, none of whom can be fired. Compensation is $400K annually, with good benefits, a pension plan, meal plan, housing and transportation. Must be good with people; half of the 330M people in the company will be out for your hide at any given moment. During the 18 month interview process, you will be subject to intense scrutiny, exhausting travel, and you and your family will be vilified. Apply to USA, an equal opportunity employer.

What kind of candidates do you think we would get? For the next 10 minutes, we will unpack what our country offers to attract potential Presidents, and the kind of candidates who are most likely to apply.

The US Presidency is arguably the toughest, and certainly the  most consequential, job in the world. We need, “Men To Match My Mountains” a book by Irving Stone about the men who matched the challenge of opening the American West. On occasion, we have seen men who matched the then current challenges and were able to step up to the dreadful tasks demanded of the times. George Washington risked everything he owned, including his life, as a traitor to the British Crown, to be part of creating the breakthrough founding documents. He then led the ragtag army that defeated the most powerful military the world had ever seen. Similarly, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, to list a few, rose to the occasion when crises loomed and they steered us through to the other side. Here’s a compliment to George Washington from an entirely unlikely quarter. Washington was held in such esteem by his countrymen, for his character and rectitude, that they would willingly have made him their king. It was upon this occasion that when King George asked what Washington would do, that the American Ambassador to Court of St. James  replied to the king, “He will return to his farm”. King George, George III, replied of his former enemy, “Then he shall be the greatest man in the world.” Washington returned to his farm.

Where are the men and women to match our mountains today? In the past, great men volunteered, at enormous cost to themselves, to respond to challenges like the need to fight Britain to obtain our freedom, to defeat evil in two World Wars, to defeat evil in our Civil War, and to defeat our enemies in the Cold War. The list of massive challenges continues; where are the men and women of quality, commitment and competence, that we need to step up to and meet these challenges today?

So many of our current best leaders, the ones we need, both in business and in politics, when asked if they are interested in stepping up, recoil responding, “Not me!” Why not?

Question: Why are so many of the “The Best And Brightest” not interested in government work in general, and unwilling to be considered for the Presidency in particular?

Answer: Candidates are no longer rising to the challenge of being the President of the United States driven by patriotism and a desire to serve the people in the USA, and by extension the people in the world. Our process, and we, you and I, are attracting people driven by their egos and their desire to benefit personally, to be served instead of to serve. For example, which of our recent Presidents would have served the country by walking away from staying in power the way that Washington did?

Yes, the fault is ours. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves…” -Shakespeare’s character, Cassius. We have shown with our voices and our votes that division, insults, misleading information, and cliches and slogans masquerading as research and policy are what we will accept. And worse, far worse, we do not see these faults in our activities, in ourselves; all fault belongs to those who disagree with us. We are not divisive and cliche-driven; they are. All sides believe that about all the other sides.

And all-too-many of the politicians on both sides of the aisle play to that weakness in us. Until we, We The People, demand that all of our leaders act like functioning adults, by seeking agreed-upon common goals, sticking to the complete set of facts that pertain to those goals (courts call facts like these evidence) and use non agenda-based thinking to reach those common goals, nothing will change. We The People must change. “There go my people, I must follow them for I am their leader.” -Gandhi. Let’s give our leaders something worthwhile to follow.

Random note; We are in the holiday season, a time of year that sees us sharing holiday greeting with each other. Unless I know the other person is not a Christian, I say “Merry Christmas.” It is my way of recognizing and sharing the season. I am happy to hear “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy Kwanzaa” or some other warm, well-wishing seasonal greeting. Isn’t the key what is in our hearts when we connect with others, not in the precise language?

Join with me in using what we know how to do–what we know we must do–to everyone’s advantage. Let’s practice thinking well of others as we seek common goals, research the facts that apply to those goals, and use non agenda-based reasoning to achieve those goals together. Let’s demand that our politicians and other leaders do both as well. Imagine for a moment that all of us, including our politicians and other leaders, practiced this part of what we believe at Results With Reason. Let’s picture that world together, and think about how to make it happen. Remember, Revolution 2.0™ is coming. Please stand by…

Links and References

Men To Match My Mountains
Divided Nation

Contact

As we get ready to wrap up, please do reach out with comments or questions about this podcast or anything that comes to mind.  You can email me at will@resultswithreason.com, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And you can subscribe to the podcast on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google, or Stitcher.

Frequency

I host two podcasts each week; mid-day on Tuesday and Friday. Every week. I am also considering doing these as videos on YouTube, and would love to get your thoughts.

Now it is time for our usual parting thought. It is not enough to be informed. It is not enough to be a well informed voter. We need to act.  And if we, you and I, don’t do something, then the others who are doing something, will continue to run the show.

Remember: Knowledge by itself is like running a winning race, then stopping voluntarily before the finish line.

Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

Will Luden
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Will Luden

I am your host, Will Luden, former long-time high-tech CEO and Board Chair. I had no idea when I started this podcast that it would become the highest calling of my professional career. Lincoln famously hoped that a government, “…of the people, by the people and for the people…”, would not perish from this earth. My hope, the reason for Revolution 2.0 ”A Booster Shot”, is that a government based on common goals, achieved by applying non agenda-based reasoning to core facts, will allow us to continue to build on our mutual inheritance of a legacy of dedication to seemingly impossible ideals, a legacy that also includes a history of achieving them.
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