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TheStreet Open House

President Obama Gets an 'F' for Management

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- CEOs of large organizations all face the same problem -- driving their agendas in organizations too diverse and geographically dispersed to manage directly.

They hire competent managers for their units, set goals and establish clear metrics for evaluating performance. As in politics, competition in business is tough, and CEOs must set ethical boundaries for their managers' conduct.

In all this, the CEO's personal conduct is critical.

Early in his term, President Obama flaunted American constitutional tradition by pushing through major social legislation, ObamaCare, without a bipartisan compromise and consensus. And he relied on a legislative sleight of hand to pass the Senate.


Simply, Obama's hard left agenda requires him to treat the U.S. Constitution and Congress as mere inconveniences -- expediency is his ethical standard.

For example, unable to obtain Congressional approval, even among moderate Democrats, for limits on CO2 emissions and other environmental goals, the EPA -- at his public behest -- has written regulations imposing new and onerous requirements on business.

The Obama Credo of Management: We'll do as we please, stop us if you can.

His failure as a CEO, now with grave political consequences, was to impose no limits on managers' behavior and implement adequate controls -- mechanisms for the CEO to monitor the performance of units and head off emerging threats to the survival of the organization. Regarding the latter, of paramount importance is to insulate the president from any fallout from their actions.

Cabinet secretaries and agency heads took their cues from the boss -- at State, Justice and the IRS senior management would have had us believe they were unaware of what was happening in Benghazi, with the Associated Press or at the Cincinnati office of the IRS. And the president only learns about many problems when reported in the news?


Obama simply has been too busy giving speeches, raising money, and trying to turn every event to political advantage to keep tabs on his managers, as any good CEOs would do.

CEOs periodically meet with their principal managers -- in groups and where necessary individually --- to probe their tactics, offer assistance from their own wealth of experience, and discern areas where managers may be planting problems that will burgeon into crisis.

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