Saturday, July 29, 2017

Managing Oneself

Let's take a step back from our usual f-bomb-throwing hijinks in discussing the various mutant species currently pushing our fine country into permanent ruination, and step back and discuss the goings-on in more business-oriented perspective.

Unlike HRH Princess Snowflake von Clownstick, I actually completed my MBA, and have the massive student-loan debt to prove it. More importantly, I regularly read actual business books by actual business thinkers and innovators, as opposed to ghost-written celebrity memoirs that all end in Chapter 11.

One of those thinkers I like a lot is Peter Drucker, one of the true OG business innovators. Drucker, who passed away in 2005 a few days before his 96th birthday, was around so long that he literally was born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He coined the business axiom "if you can't measure it, you can't manage it," which seems obvious enough, but go ahead and apply it to the current regime using the conventional metrics. The GDP and unemployment rates have held steady the first two quarters, but every econ novice knows that these are lagging indicators, and the market does not like instability or volatility.

Drucker also laid out basic principles of management competencies in his essay Managing Oneself, which later became a full-length treatise. Again, at the risk of stating the obvious, Drucker proposed that the competent manager's self-actualization consist primarily of awareness, knowledge, and discipline -- that is, awareness of one's strengths and skills, the ability to acquire knowledge as necessary, and the discipline to not only be consistent, but to assemble a team of complementary strengths, and to delegate appropriately.

So consider all that, and compare to what you see now, and what you saw in past administrations. Every president from Washington to Obama understood what they were good at -- and more importantly, what they weren't good at -- gathered people around them that could help fill the gaps and provide other perspectives for a more balanced approach, and let them do their jobs within the constraints of agreed-upon policy. Obviously, the better leaders did this more effectively, and the poorer ones (Andrew Johnson, for example) who ignored this concept usually paid the price.

But it all starts with having the self-awareness to know (at the risk of sounding like Don Rumsfeld) what you don't know, and to let others help you in those areas. So when you're a spoiled man-baby who's had everyone kiss your fat fucking ass your entire life, and you've never been wrong about anything, ever, and facts are no longer empirically verifiable points of data but merely riffs that you decide on the fly, how are you ever supposed to assemble such a team?

This is the true, practical danger not only of having an aristocracy that by nature becomes insulated from its collective shortcomings, but of having an individual from such an environment be put in charge of immensely complex systems that they are simply not equipped to comprehend, nor have they acquired the discipline necessary to learn about those systems and their components.

This is really the heart of the argument for Hillary Clinton, and against Princess Snowflake -- whatever her flaws, she put in the work over the years to learn these things, and applied herself within those systems, while he spent his entire adulthood failing upward and talking shit about people much, much smarter and more accomplished than he could ever have dreamed of being.

That's not even snark; that's just the way it is. An average West Wing intern from any of the past ten administrations knows light-years more about the mechanics of government than the current asshole-in-thief. The most important thing to know is that the day-to-day operations of running an efficient White House office is mechanical, and not ideological. It's not a panel show where everyone screams over everyone else about some inane talking point, nor is it a reality show where ten people and five sharp knives are dropped on an island. This is how you end up with bridge-and-tunnel dipshits like "The Mooch" running your office into the ground.

So when you have someone who sincerely believes that it is both of those things, a reality show and a poli-panel screamfest, you get what you have now -- a narcissistic moron who thinks the sun rises and sets out of his asshole. Nothing but drama. No awareness, no knowledge, no discipline, just buckets of bluster and bullshit that remind most sentient observers that if this guy was your employee, you'd fire his worthless ass, and if he was your boss, you'd quit and punch him in the throat on your way out the door.

That's what amazes me most about the people still steadfastly defending Princess Snowflake. Not just that they fell for the "great bidnessman" schtick, but that they buy the "alpha dog" schtick as well. He's not a true alpha, he's just louder and more obnoxious, and unafraid to pull nonsense straight out of his bunghole and pass it off as truth. I don't know what sort of idiot "feels safer" with this guy. It's more like having your senile grandparent live at your house because you can't afford the rest home, and you have to hide your car keys and deadbolt all the doors to keep him from wandering off.

As a counterfactual, it's actually pretty easy to consider a scenario where not only is Snowflake competent and qualified for the job, but finds a way to beat the Democrats at their own game and win some of their flock over. He could have come up with an actual infrastructure plan that wasn't a transparent beak-wetting cronyfest, but created tons of good-paying jobs for people who don't necessarily have college degrees. He could have just not been a lying dick every single day. Seriously, this could have gone a whole different direction, even with the tone of the campaign. Someday we'll look back at all this and think about how much effort went into just being an asshole for the sake of being an asshole. Completely unnecessary.

This will blow your mind, and sound like some self-help Tony Robbins shit (confession:  I like Tony Robbins a great deal) but good managers and leaders don't pit team members against each other, they don't engage in routine humiliation of subordinates, they do understand that loyalty is in fact a two-way street. And yet that's 90% of what's gone on the last six months.

One of Robbins' better aphorisms is that leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders. Think about it from that perspective -- if he's such a great fucking bidness leader and all-around Wile E. Coyote-level genius, name one person from Princess Snowflake's "organization" that "leads" in any sense of the word. His doofy sons try not to fuck up their intertwined grifts too badly, while biding their time before they get to drop more than honest working people make in a year to jet to Africa and murder an endangered animal. His daughter lamely pretends not to get involved in politics, while she runs the branding operation for her knock-off handbags from their White House office. It is utterly impossible to imagine any of these inbred dipshits working an honest job. You see any real companies trying to pull any of them onboard, like ever? No, and you know that will never happen. They know that will never happen.

I had an unexpected chat this morning with a close friend who voted for the "change" Clownstick promised, and is now feeling a bit sheepish about all that. I think that feeling is going to become more pervasive among sizable chunks of that bloc. What liberals and Democrats can do to accelerate and intensify that feeling heading into the midterms is to approach it from this "competent management" perspective described here, and color with plenty of mockery and ridicule, which will bait Snowflake into ever more entertaining tweet-rages.

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