He said he was Corporate America trained; he managed hundreds, motivated thousands, spent millions and millions of dollars and generated billions of dollars. He went on for the next 45 minutes outlining what he believes are the basics in business.
Most of the "basics" are common tips that you hear consultants present in training classes. A few of his comments regarding some of the basics stand out to me:
- Working smartest and harder than anyone else will not get you noticed. You have to market yourself. He said there were the smartest and strongest people working at Citibank and Premier and nobody knew who they were. I find that an interesting comment. I was corporate trained for 15 years in the Bell System before coming to work for the city and working hard and working smart is exactly what got people noticed and what got them promoted. Marketing yourself is not equal to working hard and working smart. You may talk a good game, but if it is just smoke and screens eventually you will fall flat on your face because you are just a talking marketing cardboard cutout.
- When you make a mistake, notify your boss. You should be thanked for it. That is not what I hear is going on at the city. Three words - culture of fear. He said in city government there is a strong feeling of not making a mistake for fear of the press and the people. I submit there is a fear of him and his reaction.
- If you don't like it here, leave. When you leave, you will be replaced in an instant. The mayor went on to say when he left Citibank, he was the "golden boy." I agree with this philosophy to a point. No one is irreplaceable or indispensable. However, there are varying degrees and reasons why people are unhappy. Some are just complainers and don't value what they have in their job. For others, their dislike for their job or their unhappiness could be because of a new management style or an intolerant boss mentality. It could be because of something we as leaders do to make the environment difficult. This "just leave" philosophy is dangerous in the workplace and disenfranchises people without further investigation. It's how you lose good people. A "my way or the highway" philosophy is not an admirable "business acumen" trait.
Yes, his luncheon speech was good for those in the audience who may just be entering the business world. I would venture most of the seasoned "business" people have heard the "basics" before. He always seems to mar the message by his grandiose reflections of himself, however. He has to constantly tell us he is working hard and working smart. He is constantly "marketing" himself.
Another thing he hammers over and over again is his constant reflection on his corporate business experience. It is a major put down to the hundreds of professionals in the city who may have never been corporate trained but have dedicated their entire professional life, education and training to public sector work and are excellent leaders and managers in the city. It's as if working in the public sector does not count, that somehow it is mediocre. He comes across that if you are not "corporate trained" you have no credible "business acumen."
Business is business whether it's public sector or private sector. Do you bring value to the public sector when you are Corporate America trained. Yes, you do. Does it make you better than everyone else there? No. You may have come from Corporate America but you don't know jack s...... about government and how it operates. It's a whole new learning curve.
Maybe, just maybe, the mayor should quit beating everyone over the head with the Corporate America trained and business acumen mantra and his personal marketing agenda and move on by listening and try to learn and understand something new. Oh, and maybe listen to the public sector experts once in a while.
His "basics in business" are common sense basics that don't just apply to or come out of Corporate America. Contrary to what he thinks, city government is a business too. After a year in office, he still thinks Corporate America is the only real business place that counts for anything.
I suggest he take a class offered by the city called Situational Leadership Training, taught by T. J. Reardon. Maybe just maybe, he will learn something new and useful about leading a new "business" called city government.