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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Cargo Cult Leadership

Imagine if there were a Cargo Cult Airport corporation. Imagine the fires along the runway and the man in the tower with coconuts over his ears. Somewhere there would be an office space where higher ranking airport officials conducted the brainwork behind the summoning of the gods. They would probably consume the majority of the tribes "cargo" in the course of their work. The net result of this work would be less cargo for the tribe. Was any work done?

The Legal Services Corporation was set up to provide legal service to the poor. They run on tax money but they have a special status that allows them to operate as an independent non-profit corporation. That means they didn't have to follow government-wide expense guidelines. A recent audit uncovered some egregious expenditures. $13 per person high tea service, $12 bagel breaks, $70 dollar lunches, and $14 Death By Chocolate deserts at board meetings. Then there was the first class airline tickets and the limosine service. Meanwhile poor people in need of legal services were turned away from clinics that we underfunded. Who is helping who here?

Cargo Cult lesson: Work is done when poor people obtain the legal services that the agency was set up to provide. The leaders used the money to provide food services to themselves. Work was not done.

Now to Wall Street. Ah money. People love it but they don't care much for hard work. That's why they created wall street. Put your money into a stock that will turn a dollar into ten while you fly first class to your next LSC meeting! You haven't paid for the flight, your lunch or the ride to the meeting and your own money has made you more money. The rest of America is so dumb for not doing this. But wait, not everyone can do this. If they did there would be no products or services. You have to disallow the riff raff from reaching the highest level of success. Only allow a selected few into this world where work is for suckers.

Check out Goldman Sachs chasm. Investors gave Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein a year-end bonus worth an estimated 53.4 million dollars, a record for a Wall Street executive. In all, the bank granted a total of 180 million dollars in bonuses to its top 11 executives. I guess the bank was primariy set up to enrich 11 guys.

Imagine if every construction worker got one square foot for every 1000 they contributed to building. Their own homes would be huge. They could start their own neighborhoods. With that kind of incentive they would work very hard. But they show up every day and earn an hourly salary. If they build a mansion or a shack, they make the same. Somehow they didn't get to write the rules the way the Wall Street bankers did.

Cargo Cult Lesson: Leaders know what people want.

Followers need to know what the leaders want.

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