One of my many professional tasks is that of a Value Stream facilitator where value to a customer base is communicated to a large organization through a visual management method. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because many people have been asking me to run for public office and there is nothing appealing to it for me at all. But in all actuality that shouldn’t be the case honestly, and the reason is essentially at the heart of the entire argument regarding political discourse. The experiment of Donald Trump as President of the United States has said enough in my mind to pin point some problems with government that are essential to rectifying the situation, and why the thought of any public office disgusts me. I’m glad to have friends who are in public office, but honestly, I look at those jobs as something beneath my intelligence. I find interacting with elected officials and government workers painful, like going to a Christmas dinner with hostile family members. It’s certainly something I can endure, but I don’t look forward to it. However, I have enjoyed the Trump presidency because he has brought some of the business sense that I am used to applying to a government position and that has ignited in me the thought that its time for some change agency in our approach to government. Instead of just pointing out the problem, its time to evoke solutions. Otherwise, a person like me would never in a million years last one meeting in a public office setting, I am simply too good to put myself through such an experience, it would be a waste of my time.
In private industry particularly in capitalist countries companies go to great measures to unlock the secrets of efficiency because they need a competitive method of survival in their given markets so they can advance beyond their rivals. And there is a real beauty when such efficiencies are reached. Of those methods companies employ are variations of Six Sigma, Lean, PDSA, The Theory of Constraints, Agile, just to name a few and the goal of Value Stream Mapping is to communicate the efficiencies to large groups of people particularly at the upper management level. In such exercises Gemba walks are of utmost importance to gather proper information so that the top of an organization understands what happens in the meat and potatoes part of it succinctly. And in government, all government none of these methods are used to achieve anything, nobody in any government jobs wants to know anything about efficiency and that really bothers me. Government is so disconnected from reality, which is unleashed in capitalist countries through the value of money evoked by the businesses that produce wealth, that for a person who thinks about efficiencies all the time it is just repulsive to sit through a government meeting while they discuss spending millions of tax payer dollars. I have developed over time a real hatred for them because there are rules to making and spending money that all government ignores, and unfortunately, most people smart about such things want nothing to do with government, when in fact they should.
Most of the people against Trump are no different from the people within an organization who hate a dynamic force that has been introduced to shake them into thinking efficiently. The resentment is real and there have been hundreds of serious books written on the subject of overcoming just such oppositions. You could say there is a real science to overcoming opposition and being an agent of change within an organization, which has often been my role for the last two decades in several ambitions. When it comes to change agents, the goal isn’t to get along, its to shake things up, but to do it in a way that most of the time is done with a smile on your face. There isn’t a need to be forceful when you have the leverage of being right. Yet when interacting with government, those rules seem to go out the window and to my mind, they are the only ones that matter.
The purpose of Value Stream Mapping for any organization is to evoke value for the customer within the organization and to cut out wasted efforts so that a company can be a good supplier to a customer who will value the effort. The value is for the customer so that the utilizer can survive well and be there to produce goods for a marketplace in need. From that vantage point it all sounds very simple, but in practice it is extremely difficult because human beings bring with them into their lives which percolate within any work culture their internal demons and other deficiencies, which must be overcome to flow as productive contributors to whatever strategic necessity a company may have as a producer in the world. In government interactions they never feel they owe any value to anything, not to a customer, (other countries, or even their own people) to their suppliers, (tax payers) or even to themselves, (government employees). For some reason they feel they are exempt from all value judgments when in fact value judgments are all that ever matter, otherwise the money issued and traded are worthless. That’s how we end up with a 21 trillion-dollar deficit and a government that wants to do anything to keep the government open through the Holidays just so everyone can have a nice Christmas, when a shut downs and massive layoffs are really needed.
Without value judgements a government can’t even do basic assessments of itself to correct the bad behaviors other businesses conduct just to be competitive. Government feels that they are above it all and do not have to do such things, when in fact the reality is the opposite. I have many friends who are in various public offices and they mention to me that I should join them, but due to this lack of value judgments, when in my professional life that’s essentially all I think about, the two worlds just don’t mesh. They don’t mesh for me and they certainly don’t for anybody else. Government is a huge consumer of resources in any country, but they don’t feel that their value is anybody’s business and that is the essence of their problem. And any force that tries to bring value judgements to them, such as what President Trump has done to Washington D.C. culture becomes their mortal enemy.
I think its time to look at government differently, not as something grandfathered in as an inefficient entity of aristocrats who couldn’t do work in the private sector successfully—but to expect them to perform the way any business does. It’s time to measure government value not as a siloed top down management system, but as an organization that is applying the tools of business to solve real problems that require solutions, not just lip service. I think its time to turn the scope of government back on itself instead of allowing them to build their walls and hide within them while they blow millions of dollars from the people, they are supposed to serve like gamblers drunk off their ass in a casino spending the last cents of their latest paychecks. It’s time the same rules we all live with get applied to them, and that their opposition to that value judgment be destroyed, utterly. And until that culture is in motion, I won’t be running for any public office because the insanity of it all would drive me nuts.
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