We all know leaders who can get things done but whose tactics leave a path of destruction. With each successive effort, organizational antibodies gather against the individual and his progress slows or even stops.
President Obama recently passed his first major piece of legislation. He won, but left a path of destruction. The numbers tell the story; Washington is in turmoil, perhaps more now than ever before. Last Monday's Pew Research poll found that almost eight in 10 Americans say they don't trust the federal government and have little faith it can solve the nation's problems.
Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, calls this, "a very, very negative climate of opinion about government."
With no course correction, the November elections will change the balance of power and meaningful change will slow or even stop. For the administration to achieve its aspirations beyond 2010, it must immediately launch a major offensive against gridlock.It is possible to run a healthy organization with an opposition party. Take unions for example. Without an adversarial relationship between a company and its people, there would be no need for a union. Nevertheless, successful corporations like United Parcel Service (UPS) and General Electric (GE) are unrelenting in their quest to improve union-management relationships. Companies that ignore their unions end up like Eastern Airlines. Working effectively with an opposition party is also possible in government. The Clinton administration passed Medicare reform, the first tax cuts in 16 years and four consecutive balanced budgets without a House majority and with the highly adversarial leader New Gingrich. Ronald Reagan never had a Republican House majority, but his persistent negotiations with Tip O'Neill delivered dramatic changes at home and abroad. Obama can deliver on his promise of a post-partisan Washington. But it won't be easy. Here is a four-step recovery plan:
Step 1: Commit to Personal ChangeIn corporate America, no change, especially cultural change, is possible without CEO ownership. Similarly, there is no person other than the president who has the ability to break gridlock. Success or failure is in his hands. First, Obama must decide, unambiguously, whether he will recommit to his vision of a post-partisan Washington. And his behavior must be absolutely consistent with that vision. A New York Times article last month had the headline, "Scolding GOP, Obama Makes 15 Recess Appointments." That's not it.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV