At times I feel like Telemachus, staying at home waiting for something to happen; like hoping for a burst or even an incremental uptick in the economy. I listen to the folks in our Capitol, to the pundits, read the newspapers and their opinion columns; all who seem to have the answers, but nothing of substance seems to convey from all the energies expended by those folks, except name calling and childish put downs; because as we are told … negative beats down the opponent and you win. I have lived through a whole bunch of cycles of figureheads in our Capital telling how they will make it all better, but mostly it gets worse. I look at my grandkids and just hope.
When stymied I tend to focus in the mode of “positive thinking”. This morning I heard, quite by chance, a retired military Lt Commander, a former Top Gun, speak about the military’s accountability and personal responsibility. Wow! – How that brought resonance out of the past! At one time in my career I had the good fortune to be able to occasionally interface with the military, at The Naval War College in Monterey, and at TRW Space Park, and a couple of embassies. I was impressed with the caliber of the individuals and their absolute, unwavering professionalism. The Air Force Colonels seemed to be the epitome of the executive decision maker and organizational geniuses. And please don’t confuse the toilet seats fiasco with the military. They get a lot of programs and materials shoved down their throats by politicians and bureaucrats.
Anyway, briefly, the Lt Commander reiterated in his book, Top Gun on Wall Street, the four points that the Academy military mind is molded to use in almost every aspect of their deployments and career. To wit:
I. YOU CAN’T COME IN SIDEWAYS. Just because you’re an Admiral in the Navy doesn’t mean you can switch to the Army as a General, and to transliterate to the government and corporate life no CEO in ABC Corporation automatically goes to the CEO position of the XYZ Corporation, you gotta first meet the special requirements of each organization.
II. HIPPITY-HOP … PLEBE STOP! At the Academies you can be braced at any given moment, and you must have the answer to any germane question asked of you. It’s called accountability every moment.
III. HONOR CONCEPT. No half-truths … No lies! No out of context quoting! At all times one must have personal integrity!
IV. ALL GO TOGETHER. No fall guys. All share in any blame. There is no “I” in team.
Well, wouldn’t it be great if we could establish an Academy for those who would wish to seek office in support of their country. ATTENTION, amendments to the constitution required first. You could not run for election until you had completed the five year course, sort of an upgraded political science degree. Naturally, there would be similar Academies for the other branches of government: justices, civil servants, etc., and this is critical—all would be based on the four points above. By the way, the first “Sideways” point needs a little explanation, the concept is designed to get away from the “good ol’ boy’ appointments by pals on the corporate boards, disproportionate compensation, and with no heed or little deference to the stock holders. Unrealistic you say, and if you have nothing to offer – well then you can join me in my role of Telemachus awaiting the return of Odysseus from the Trojan War to make every thing all better ... and you know how that went down!