Tuesday, September 22, 2015

It Doesn't Matter How Good/Bad a CEO Fiorina Was

Ezra Klein lays the "run the government like a business" canard to rest on vox.com.

There's a widespread fantasy that some hard-charging CEO could take control of the America government and make it run like a business. But it's mere fantasy: the US government can't run like a business because it isn't structured like a business, it doesn't have the goals of a business, and it doesn't have the tools of a business. It's possible for a brilliant CEO to be a terrible president, and vice versa.

As CEO, Fiorina could fire a department head who wasn't executing her strategy quickly enough; she can't fire the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee because he's dragging his heels. And when it comes to making the bureaucracy work, she's even more constrained: where she could once close whole product lines if they underperformed, as president, she can't even axe individual members of the civil service

Carly Fiorina's time at HP might tell us a lot about her, but it won't tell us that much about what kind of president she'll be, if only because she'll have to be different as president than she was as CEO.

Perhaps the simplest way to see that is to remember that virtually the entire conversation over Fiorina's tenure at HP is about her acquisition of Compaq; if the US has a bad couple of years, she can't just go buy Canada.

No comments: