Thursday, April 30, 2009

A One Man Band?

I just happened to look at the Wall Street Journal online to see the inevitable announcement about Chrysler entering a bankruptcy process. The accompanying photo is a bit startling. Where you expect to see the Chrysler CEO spinning a chrysalis yarn, there is the President of the United States. In the background are a bunch of politicos, including the increasingly omnipresent Tim Geithner and Larry Summers.

Within twelve hours, President Obama assured the nation that he himself is assiduously and continuously monitoring the worldwide spread of the swine flu while now simultaneously solving the previously intractable problems of Chrysler. Perhaps he is receiving Tweets to his Blackberry. By the way, I haven't included many of the President's other personal projects, such as monitoring Pakistan, making progress in Iraq, and maintaining a vigilant eye on the poppy fields of Afghanistan. What happened to his Vice President? Better yet, what happened to his Cabinet? Secretary of State Clinton is off "dialoguing" somewhere, but her workload seems tame by comparison to that of the President.

It's good to have a confident self-belief. However, we know from the world of know-it-all, self-absorbed CEO's (pick a name, any name: Welch, Greenberg, Fuld, Cayne..) that there is a razor's edge between self-belief and hubris. It is always good for a real leader to delegate to trusted lieutenants who are expert in their areas. I forget, do we have a Car Czar?

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