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Obama's Cabinet Picks and Flawed Criticism Thereof

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Headlined to H3 11/22/08

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Obama

By the time one has lived into their mid 30's or beyond, the chances are one has either worked in or belonged to a large organization. It could be the boy scouts, or a political party or a large firm. In my case, it was Price Waterhouse/PricewaterhouseCoopers where I worked from 1994 through 2001. 

If you have been a member of a large organization, chances are you had the opportunity to see how a change at the top impacted how that organization functioned. 

I work in IT and I observed at PwC how the same large IT organization, technicians, developers, system administrators, managers and directors worked through three different CIO’s. 

Somehow, the same people performed very differently depending on the leadership of the organization.  

There was one CIO in particular, a man by the name of Mark Lutchen, who seemed to bring out the best and got the most out of everyone. In my research today, I discovered that Mark has written a book titled "Managing IT as a Business". click here . He was interviewed by Katherine Chalmers in March of 2006, and the interview can be seen here http://www.bsmdigest.com/managing-it-as-a-business-interview-with-author-mark-lutchen/

When Mark took the reins as Price Waterhouse's CIO in 1996, he gave a speech that was very inspirational. I still remember some excerpts of it and my memory is not good in general so the fact that I can remember any of it says something about the quality of the speech. In that speech, he made it clear that he understood our challenges and he understood how hard we all were working. He also said that if we were open to change and worked with him, he could make a big difference in the quality of our work experience. 

To make a long story short, we trusted him, and things changed a lot for the better both for us and for the organization it was our job to support. I also seem to remember working a heck of a lot of hours under Mark, and enjoying every single minute of it.  

The reason this applies to the criticism of Obama's cabinet picks should be obvious. Someone who knows how to be a leader can make a big difference in how an organization and individuals in that organization perform. The leader sets the tone and expectations, inspires (or fails to inspire) and follows up to make sure their expectations are being met.

We know what Obama’s expectations are. He wants to bring an end to the Iraq war as rapidly as possible. He does not believe in torture or extraordinary rendition. He does not believe in warrant-less wiretapping. He believes in Universal Healthcare. He believes in sitting down with leaders of countries with whom we have disagreements to find peaceful solutions to our issues. He has committed to finding the best and brightest people to turn our economy around and that brings me to another point. 

The one thing that could stand in the way of even a great leader is if the people under the leader did not have the basic knowledge and abilities to perform the tasks that would be assigned to them. Obama is making sure this is not an issue by hiring some of the most competent and experienced people available. Some of these people may have performed a certain way while on their own or within the administration of a different leader, but that does not mean they will perform the same way under Obama.

 

Mark completely changed the way we all did our jobs. It was the same people, but we improved how we measured the effectiveness of everything we did. We improved our knowledge of how IT affected the business and changed how we delivered our services based on that knowledge. We literally changed under his leadership. Even today, 12 years later, when I think about my career, job capabilities and ability to conceive how IT works on an enterprise level, I think of them based on how they were pre-Lutchen and post-Lutchen.

I know from my own experience and from watching how Obama led his campaign that he is the kind of leader who will set very high expectations and insist that they are met. Moreover, I know what Obama’s expectations are and I listed some of them a few paragraphs above. Knowing all of this, I am not going to occupy myself with overanalyzing every single one of Obama’s cabinet picks. I think most of the people that are doing that have a pre-existing desire to see Obama fail and the rest don’t know a good leader when they see one. I look forward to Obama proving his early naysayers wrong.

 

http://www.ibtimes.com/blog/steven-leser_103/bio/

A political blogger for the International Business Times, Steve Leser is a hot national political pundit. He has appeared on MSNBC's Coundown with Keith Olbermann, Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Russia Today's (RT) Crosstalk with (more...)
 
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Today’s NYTimes political analysis:   ... by Alan MacDonald on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 8:22:52 AM
where the leadership changed, every other person w... by Steven Leser on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 10:57:56 AM
is one of the main companies that got us into the ... by sliphoch on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 2:49:07 PM
thanks for making that clear.... by Steven Leser on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 5:15:34 PM
No, Steve, I've never been associated with one... by Alan MacDonald on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 10:55:07 PM
   It was stated:    "Mor... by richard on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 9:41:19 AM
For some of us, the election of Obama is beyond im... by virginius "gin" arnold on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 10:02:36 AM
     With apologies Steven. I ... by mikel paul on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 11:52:49 AM
" My sadness today is that I am lef... by virginius "gin" arnold on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 1:09:23 PM
      Gin....I DO NOT QUE... by mikel paul on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 4:40:57 PM
all pretense of objectivity. Your argument is basi... by Richard Mynick on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 12:33:55 PM
Mr. Lutchen was called "good" by judging... by Jim Eldon on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 12:43:00 PM
I'm curious who you would have liked Obama to ... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 4:34:57 PM
on Terror, the Afghan war, the Iraq war. I want to... by Richard Mynick on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 6:57:50 PM
"..Feingold, Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Marcy Kap... by Aurora on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 7:37:39 PM
you should read some of the stuff he has said abou... by Steven Leser on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 9:30:04 PM
Well,  they damn sure couldn't have been ... by David Hastings on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 7:55:53 PM
they tell a woman she's an idiot, for voting f... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 8:59:18 PM
I was a corporate drone for over 25 years, working... by Steve Windisch (jibbguy) on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 12:50:12 PM
This argument rests on the analogy between preside... by Jim Eldon on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 1:09:18 PM
a couple of pretty large organizations myself. The... by Jack Harrington on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 1:15:33 PM
It may be a bit harsh to call Mr. Leser a shill.He... by William Whitten on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 1:15:55 PM
as to assume that someone is not reading those com... by Jack Harrington on Monday, Nov 24, 2008 at 1:43:41 PM
Time will tell Steven.  Obama's picks so ... by Rolland Miller on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 2:04:57 PM
Where's the change?   Where's th... by shirley reese on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 2:16:31 PM
I would like to see some more mature and sophistic... by William Whitten on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 3:12:10 PM
And I've also worked in small ones.  As a... by Margaret Bassett on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 2:16:32 PM
you sum up things very well. At 66 I know that age... by virginius "gin" arnold on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 3:48:27 PM
..... not agree with anything Obama does or says..... by Richard Mynick on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 4:24:17 PM
although it does not matter where I put my comment... by Mark Sashine on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 8:10:00 PM
Isn't it curious that so many of the commentor... by Linda Alvarez on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 3:49:06 PM
... perhaps because its truth is unassailable? Lea... by Steven Leser on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 5:25:25 PM
And Lemmings run off a cliff following the One at ... by boomerang on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 6:48:13 PM
This is a myth  --   based on a film in ... by sometimes blinded on Monday, Nov 24, 2008 at 1:11:21 AM
... to well thought out criticism and questions, b... by Mr M on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 8:17:20 PM
sorry, buy you ran and slammed into a wall a long ... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 9:13:51 PM
Do we really need a Ceasar?I see the issue not as ... by Linda Gonzales on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 4:17:41 PM
I don't like most of Obama's appointments.... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 4:46:02 PM
 Rob says:"I'd still like to hear fr... by William Whitten on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 5:09:01 PM
I almost hurt myself, laughing at your subject lin... by boomerang on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 6:51:58 PM
The President has a lot of power (that can be ltd.... by Better World Order on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 7:39:41 PM
... what we think or suggest, makes a tinkers-damn... by Mr M on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 9:04:33 PM
and then what? I ask you and Richard, et. al., who... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 9:22:15 PM
I've asked you whom you think these people rep... by Mr M on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 10:32:12 PM
and i too would be interested in hearing who Rob&#... by Better World Order on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 11:30:46 PM
... as much as whom he thinks they represent? If n... by Mr M on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 11:49:12 PM
but I would like to point out that Obama is one of... by Jack Harrington on Monday, Nov 24, 2008 at 1:48:36 PM
"Leaders"? What 'leaders'?In a r... by William Whitten on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 4:48:00 PM
By my reading of what steven has written:*  T... by Aurora on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 5:22:38 PM
... that commenters thought the author was saying ... by reasonableperson on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 8:00:35 PM
"What kind of person might have a "pre-e... by Aurora on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 9:03:43 PM
... I’m generally an optimist myself, so I h... by reasonableperson on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 4:42:33 AM
The analogy is flawed. I have no doubt that a grea... by Bob Trowbridge on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 6:13:04 PM
Would a military leader "choose" spies, ... by boomerang on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 7:00:06 PM
of Obama as a great leader. I'm also not surpr... by John Sanchez Jr. on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 6:34:53 PM
Thanks ... by John Sanchez Jr. on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 6:38:06 PM
of Obama as a great leader. I'm also not surpr... by John Sanchez Jr. on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 6:36:33 PM
John got one thing right. It is not a right thing ... by richard on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 7:55:38 PM
...you just said what i was WAY too tired to say.&... by waldopaper on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 9:05:29 PM
Thanks.Carlin was such a brilliant man. He did ind... by Munich on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 11:25:38 PM
and what you say is precisely true. And I wonder e... by richard on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 7:13:14 AM
or do you prefer to storm the Bastille with pitchf... by John Sanchez Jr. on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 7:47:09 AM
" ... until I see irrefutable proof of the wo... by Mr M on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 8:34:11 AM
I still haven't heard what you intend to do to... by John Sanchez Jr. on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 9:18:40 AM
... I stated that since the situation is beyond no... by Mr M on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 10:54:22 AM
There are so many times Richard says what I'm ... by Mr M on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 8:37:47 AM
Mister Whittim said the most powerful loss we all ... by shirley reese on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 9:26:28 PM
Obama's cabinet and transition appointments I ... by Jack Harrington on Tuesday, Nov 25, 2008 at 12:53:21 PM
because I want the reaction, I want the position i... by Mark Sashine on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 8:24:17 AM
... between a corporation and a representativ... by Mr M on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 11:10:16 AM
In my mind, Bush was a puppet of the rich and powe... by Philip Pease on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 10:10:45 AM
That last post by Philip has just induced me to sc... by jersey girl on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 12:27:56 PM
I said I would answer the question and not microma... by Margaret Bassett on Monday, Nov 24, 2008 at 2:16:22 PM
i like your analogy to your old boss, mr. lutchen.... by Joan Brunwasser on Monday, Nov 24, 2008 at 2:59:38 PM

 

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