“The combination of arrogance and stupidity that would prompt him to continue in these types of behaviors is just stunning,” Dr. [Kent Redfield, a professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Springfield,] said . “There’s no feedback loop or reality check.” [source]
If you haven’t been following it, Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich (known widely as “Blago”) has been arrested by the United States Depart of Justice. He stands accused of, among a laundry list of corruption charges, trying to sell the U.S. senate seat that President-elect Obama has vacated. Illinois law says that the Governor has sole discretion in this, and he wanted to make some money off of it.
It sounds completely insane. It’s like he couldn’t resist the charge to more corruption, even though he has been under investigation by the Feds for years.
Mike Jacobs, a Democratic state senator and former friend of the governor, suggested that Mr. Blagojevich may have lost his grip on reality.
“I’m not sure he’s playing with a full deck anymore,”
Illinois is long known for being a state only passed in corruption by places like Haiti and Italy. George Ryan, the previous governor, is doing time for a similar laundry list of corruption charges. It is so bad in the state that the Feds have made a permanent job out of finding them. And this has been a Republican administration with strongly political use of the Dept. of Justice.
Look, this is why I say all the time that you need to have a system that checks and balances your CEO. Jaques’s RO formulation goes a long way because it insists on managerial accountability for the results of a manager’s subordinates. But that falls apart when trying to protect the organization from someone who is willing to engage in completely amoral behaviour (someone with no sense of guilt) to achieve the results. There is some balance in the Manager-Once-Removed (your manager’s manager) having to spend at least some time each year with you. But if the sociopathic manager is producing big results, it’s going to be a hard sell that he or she is a nutcase who is ruining the company. The values of business in America at least mean that management will value the person willing to make those “hard calls” and who can “deliver results” in tough markets. Sociopaths are very effective in business when they have a high intelligence.
That’s the problem with using Jaques’s RO as it stands. He eliminated the truly revolutionary form that Brown used at Glacier (and which predated Jaques’s arrival): the veto-empowered representational body. These “works councils” differed greatly from what most were. They developed the power, devolved from Brown as Chairman and Managing Director, of veto over changes to policy. It was a complex set of relationships and rules, to be sure, that developed over years of negotiations and fights. It’s not simplistic any more than Jaques’s RO is simplistic. But it recognizes something that Jaques ignored: that people are evil and need to be checked. Perhaps it’s a foreign concept to a Canadian but deep in the cultural DNA of a Scot.
I have referred to it as the Presbyterian Model of Management and still think it fits. Scottish history created a religious social form that is very different from the English model. It built on the Reformed model from Calvin but extended it with more suspiciousness. Suspicious of Leaders, suspicious of parishioners. Everything needed to be checked.
That’s certainly true in today’s massive corporation where no one can understand everything. If you understand the business, you rarely understand the financial instrument being used to finance it or the underlying technologies keeping your company afloat. Things have always been complex. They are now Masters-level complex as different silos have “level-shifted up”.
Of course, checks and balances won’t help where the entire culture is built on corruption. Illinois politics have long been known as a place of “grease” and the use of government’s resources for personal gain. Or at least surcease.
So here’s a suggestion that comes out of the current financial bailouts: why not declare a new Reconstruction on Illinois as hopelessly corrupt, sending in Federals to run everything until that date when they can run it themselves? Think of it as an Iraqi invasion within the nation.