A Leader I Knew

Where have all the leaders gone? I was amazed by the lack of leadership exhibited by Obama after hurricane Sandy destroyed the Jersey shore and Staten Island. My experience with leaders is quite different. On my job I often had to fix quality problems we had with our products. If it was trivial, Engineering handled the matter immediately. If it was serious, the CEO-owner became involved. Mr. CEO called the department heads from Quality, Engineering, Tool Room, Production, and Marketing to his personal conference room. The problem was defined, the extent of the problem was determined, and then the brainstorming began. Mr. CEO did not allow us to leave the room until he satisfied himself that we had a plan to determine the root cause and an action plan to resolve it. The CEO made sure each department head had a solid plan of action to implement before the meeting convened.

Most of the time, Engineering had the bulk of the work to do. Within one hour after the meeting, I received a phone call from Mr. CEO who wanted a progress report. If I didn’t have one, he gave me a new deadline for when I would have one. He always followed up. Some problems were serious enough to follow up several times a day. Often, I had design changes made and prototyped into hard plastic by the following morning with test results to report. Mr. CEO followed each department head with the same tenacity: were the customers notified and appeased, had Production determined if all the molds used in the process had the same problem, did Quality check the inventory on the shelf?

Mr. CEO had a big stake in a major quality problem just as President Obama has in this country. The difference I see between Mr. CEO and Obama is that Obama gave an order to his department heads via national TV and then left to go campaigning. I laughed out loud when I heard him tell his bureaucrats via his speech to cut the red tape and think of ways to get stuff done. Did he call his Department heads and give them the same message? Did he hold their feet to the fire for solutions? Has he followed up? If he has, why are the people of New York and New Jersey still feeling the hurt?

Mayor Bloomberg, another proclaimed leader proudly announced that in spite of the devastation the New York Marathon would go on. Eventually he thought better and cancelled the race.  Two huge generators were on hand in Central Park for the Marathon.  They remain unused while big sections of the city could be powered from those units.

Where is the leadership?

5 Responses

  1. While we may disagree on some things, I rarely find myself applauding the efficiency or efficacy of large government programs. Public education isn’t exactly a well-oiled machine these days either. But federal support needs to exist and be accessible at a moments notice.

    I was only trying to provide you and your readers another perspective from a fellow blogger.

    And I was also interested in hearing your response to Gov. Christie’s remarks.

    • Matt:
      Christie did what he had to do as Governor. His duty is protect the citizens of New Jersey. As much as he doesn’t like Obama, he did his job and sucked up. He will continue to suck up until New Jersey is back on the road to recovery. He is a good leader, New Jersey is lucky to have him.

  2. Hey Grumpa,

    What are you basing your assessment of Obama’s leadership during/after Sandy on? I saw that Fox News piece where a grumpy man from Staten Island complained about the government response too. But I have also spoken to multiple relatives who live in NYC (one directly in Staten Island) who were all praising the way the situation has been handled. If the opinion of my relatives carries no weight, then listen to the praise Gov. Christie – the man who gave the RNC keynote adress – has given for President Obama. If the response was insufficient in any way, Gov. Christie would have SLAMMED the President.


    And by everything I have read, Obama curtailed his campaigning to deal with this (I believe President Clinton took his place at an event or two).

    You ask why these people are still feeling the hurt and the answer is simple; it was the biggest storm to ever hit our country. How many National Guard members and FEMA staff do you think we have?

    • Matt: Thanks for commenting. I cannot refute what your relatives living the nightmare are feeling. I can only go by what I see from a thousand miles away which is mostly news. To answer your question about how many FEMA people we have the answer is too many.

    • Matt: It is more than two weeks since the hurricane. The election is over and the news I continue to see shows me that there is an incompetent effort by FEMA to help. Big government is not the answer, it is the problem.

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