That's not "an administration in chaos." That's upholding standards and making people accountable to them

When the boss thinks someone is doing a bad job, he's supposed to fire him

By —— Bio and Archives--March 14, 2018

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When the boss thinks someone is doing a bad job, he's supposed to fire him
I’ve had to fire people. The worst ones are the ones when you look at all the signs you should have seen that they would fall short of what you needed from them, but for whatever reason you chose to only see the hopeful signs and you hired them.

There’s one in particular that haunts me. I won’t give the person’s name because that would achieve nothing positive, but when I think back to everything from the interview to the orientation period, I realize the red flags weren’t just flying. They were soaring. I wanted it to work so badly that I failed to exeercise my best judgment and I paid a price for it. That was entirely on me.


But once it was clear it wasn’t working, I wouldn’t have been doing anyone a favor to let the situation persist. I needed to end it, so I dropped the axe.

I don’t care what boss or one-time boss you talk to. We’ve all had to do it at some point. You realize one of the prices you might pay is having to own up to having made the bad hire in the first place. But when someone’s not working out, it’s not as if you’re the only one who sees it. Everyone sees it. If you double down on the mistake to avoid admitting you blew it, that will not engender greater respect. It will only add stubbornness and denial to the problems the rest of your people are going to start having with you.

Someone, somewhere along the line, is going to get fired.

I have no informed opinion about the job Rex Tillerson was doing as Secretary of State. But my opinion doesn’t matter. Donald Trump didn’t think he was doing a good job, and thought Mike Pompeo could improve the performance of the State Department and of the nation’s overall diplomatic efforts. If that’s what Trump believed, then keeping Tillerson would have represented malpractice in leadership.

The usual Trump critics are complaining that Trump just wanted a Secretary of State who agrees with him. Perhaps he did. And he should. The nation’s foreign policy and diplomatic priorities are set by the president, not by a cabinet member. Only the president is vested by the Constitution with executive power, and cabinet members are appointed and confirmed to serve the nation’s interests as defined by the chief executive.

Making personnel changes that strengthen the team is not indicative of chaos

That is not to say the president shouldn’t listen to opposing points of view from his cabinet members. Of course he should. But while you need to be willing to listen, ultimate policy decisions still belong to the president. If a cabinet member cannot executive consistent with the president’s policy priorities, or doesn’t want to, he is not serving the country by remaining in his job and undermining the president.

This is the case even if the president is wrong. If you do not believe you can support the president’s policies, you will best serve the nation by resigning and then explaining the disagreement you had. Remaining in the job and undermining presidential policy helps no one and achieves nothing.

When a president makes major personnel changes, the media and the political class shriek about the “shakeup” and yammer on about all the “chaos” in the administration. But making personnel changes that strengthen the team is not indicative of chaos. It’s indicative of improvement. Not all stability is good. If you have people achieving nothing in positions for which they are not well-suited, and that situation is allowed to persist over the long term, that’s a recipe for failure. A president who sees that something’s not working and makes a change is exercising good judgment.

And if he’s partially responsible for the problem because made the hire in the first place, then making the change means he took responsibility and fixed it.

One of the problems with Washington is that they scream at presidents for unwillingness to admit mistakes, but then when one does admit a mistake, they jump all over him for it. That’s why you should never govern to please the political and chattering classes. There’s no winning at it. What you need to do instead is make the right decisions. It may look like chaos to people who do nothing but talk, but anyone who has had a management position knows there’s rarely a path to success that’s not at least a little messy.


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Dan Calabrese -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dan Calabrese’s column is distributed by HermanCain.com, which can be found at HermanCain

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