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Leadership Hurts Sometimes

January 9, 2012

No, really, we’re tired of the primaries already here at Finding Ponies.  I’m not even seeing a ton of real strategy playing out here.  It’s mostly reaction to whoever’s in the sights, which is probably why things are so boring.  But with that said, I noticed this comment this morning from Rick Perry to Mitt Romney with love

Perry laid into Romney for heading a company which Perry alleged eliminated hundreds of South Carolina jobs.

“There is something inherently wrong when getting rich off failure and sticking it to someone else is how you do your business and I happen to think that’s indefensible,” said Perry. “If you’re a victim of Bain Capital’s downsizing, it’s the ultimate insult for Mitt Romney to come to South Carolina and tell you he feels your pain, because he caused it.”

Hmmm…

Disclaimer: The company I work for did significant work with Bain long after Mr. Romney had left, and the comments I’m going to make are partially based on that direct experience.  But I clearly am not speaking for my company in terms of its overall experience with Bain, which has been widely regarded as positive inside and outside the company.

Okay.  Get rich off of failure?  Has Mr. Perry ever heard of “consulting,” or “business practice?”  Let’s just talk about the concept of “business as usual.”  And in this case, that last term means capitalizing on success and learning from failure.

I know several great executives who have a major flaw in that they protect people no matter the circumstance.  While I admire a fierce protective streak when it comes to employees, everyone has to eventually admit that a failing business strategy occasionally requires letting people go.  Mr. Perry is looking to score cheap political points by pointing out that there’s a need at times for someone outside the circle to take a look and recommend that things change.  Nobody’s ever enthused about losing a job.  I’ve lost several, though I’ve always managed to land another internal job to my company, and it sucked.  I’m also glad that my company shut down those organizations, since they weren’t adding to the bottom line in a way that should have kept them open.

I wonder more at the statement of strategic intent, though.  Is there a potential that protecting people is such an important task to Mr. Perry that he wouldn’t really shrink the government like he keeps promising in his campaign?  Again, I have no dog in the hunt here, but I still have to take the statements that are tossed out to score points and wonder how to score the future as a result.

Having to cut your losses is a necessary task in business.  If it’s not a necessary task in the minds of the person seeking my vote, then I start to wonder if there’s hope for government.

Updated: Jazz Shaw picked this up at Hot Air, and has similar feelings to me.

Maybe it’s just me, but I really haven’t been able to get behind this line of attack since it first came up. I could see if this argument was taking place among Democrats trying to garner favor with the unions, but it seems like Mitt has a fairly simply response to this. We live in a free market system where there are winners and losers, and the government doesn’t get to pick which is which. In some cases, companies where Romney brought the ax down wound up turning around and flourishing. Others simply turned out not to be viable.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2012 9:02 pm

    • January 16, 2012 4:19 pm

      Ah, thanks. I don’t have people skills, so no wonder I didn’t get it. 🙂

  2. January 10, 2012 3:17 pm

    But I’ve got people skills!!!

    (I’m wondering about the chances you’ll get this reference)

    Lin

    • January 11, 2012 9:22 am

      Sorry, no chance. If it involved pop culture from the last 10-15 years, I’m out.

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