If You Were President Obama’s Business Coach, What Would You Tell Him?
In light of the current election season here in the US, here’s a great question for the best and brightest business coaching minds on the planet. A bit of business coach training courtesy of U.S. politics…
If you were President Obama’s personal business coach, charged with helping Mr. Obama and his economic team implement the most critical Silver Bullets to improve the U.S. economy, which three of the 21 Silver Bullets would you choose? (Haven’t heard of the 21 Silver Bullets? Download the Silver Bullet cheat sheet here. No opt-in required.)
To stimulate your thinking, consider this short list of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on the U.S. economy…
1. The U.S. is running at a net loss. It’s being projected that the U.S. government will have a budget deficit of approximately $1.6 Trillion in 2010.
2. The U.S. is borrowing like crazy to stay afloat. Total U.S. government debt is now up to 90% of Gross Domestic Product.
3. The unproductive segment of the U.S. workforce is massive. Government estimates of unemployment are at 9.6% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
4. The most productive U.S. workers are funding the government. Nearly 50% of the United States’ population pays no income tax. It was 30% in the mid-80’s and 40% by the year 2000.
One of the most challenging tasks for any business coach is to help new clients choose the right Silver Bullets straight out of the gate. Failure to deliver results quickly means that you’ll lose the client. Choose the right Silver Bullets and your coaching engagement can last for years!
In my undergraduate and graduate studies, I focused on engineering, organizational leadership, and business administration. I have little formal training in economics, government, monetary policy, and the like. That said, I think some basic business common sense could go a long way in forming public processes and policies that produce positive outcomes.
Here’s my pick for the top three Silver Bullets I’d recommend to President Obama and his economic advisors…
1. Break Even Plan: “a plan to cut costs just enough to stop bleeding while also driving sales to cover your salary and a minimum number of expenses while you start paying back debt.”
The first thing I do with any new business coaching client is a set of quick calculations to identify the break-even point based on revenue, gross profit, and units sold. Then I choose a handful of strategies to SIMULTANEOUSLY drive revenue while cutting costs as fast as possible. Obama and his team need a credible plan to bring the budget into balance immediately: this should be priority #1 for the administration (just as it is for any company or organization in the private sector).
2. Sales Management System: “a system for developing a high-performance sales force by scripting their approach, coordinating their activity with the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software solution, measuring their activity, and tying their results to a paycheck.”
One of the classic (and far-too-common!) mistakes of business owners and executives is to DIS-incetivize the revenue producers with austere compensation packages while rewarding non-revenue producers with compensation packages that encourage non-productivity. I n the United States, the revenue producers for the government are those of us who pay taxes on our earnings. O ne idea that has been suggested to incentivize U.S. businesses and entrepreneurs to even higher levels of productivity, thereby contributing even more “revenue” to the government through taxation, is to convert to a flat tax so that business owners stop losing more than HALF their income to federal, state, and local taxes and can reinvest their retained earnings, stimulating faster growth and job creation. Additional strategies include reducing regulatory burdens such as cap and trade, health care overaul, and more.
3. Lean Manufacturing Program: “a process that originated in Japanese auto assembly plants, but that works for any business by rallying your team around a commitment to eliminate wasted time, movement, and materials. This allows you to dramatically improve efficiency and cut production costs so that you can compete more effectively.”
A few ideas that have been suggested to eliminate waste in the U.S. government machine include the privatization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, less intervention in failing companies so that the private sector and basic forces of capitalism can do their work, and the dramatic elimination or consolidation of wasteful government agencies.
So, those are my three Silver Bullets of choice. What are yours? And why?
Contrary perspectives expected and invited.
And to our readers who are not based in the U.S., please feel free to enter into this discussion with vigor; we welcome your candid commentary as third-party observers of our situation!