Saturday, March 2, 2013

The President, Congress, and Concussions

The sequester impasse reminded me of the source of concussions for many football linemen; ramming heads against each other. Recent reports show the repetitious butting of a player's head against an opponent causes more long term brain damage than an occasional big hit.

So, it's a wonder whether the constant battling and bickering over budgets between the president and congress, like the constant ramming of a player's head against his opponent, will cause long term damage to the country?

In football, two teams agree to square off to score the most points. It's a brutal sport, but the contact and physicality make it special to participants and fans. The team executing the best often wins.

We expect our leaders to execute like one team, so the country wins. We don't expect them to beat on each other like football players. Congress and the president are not, as in football, acknowledged adversaries. They are expected to function more like a team to generate the greatest good.

Therein may lie the problem. In football, the goal is very clear; to score the most points. In politics, different agendas and constituents make goal clarity more difficult.

What, can our leaders agree, is the nation's most important goal?
Is it maintaining freedom?
Is it offering people the right to happiness?
Is it adhering to the constitution and to the declaration of independence?

I help work teams and executive teams improve performance with a basic template.
Fist, everyone must agree they want to be on the team.
Next, we define the goal.
Then, we define the roles and responsibilities needed to carry out the goal.
Next, the processes and procedures needed to administer roles and the team are defined.
Then we work on relationships; collaboration, communication, respect, and trust.
Finally, we define methods to demonstrate commitment to the goal, to each other, and to development and growth.

I'm guessing our leaders could use a little team building right now.
Does anyone have a phone number I can call?


russell said...

Great piece on our Executive and Legislative Branches working together. That said, this is a prime example of dysfunction, where each person in an island and refuses to look at the bigger picture...each piece of hard-won turf must be protected at all costs.
I was interested to read your view that the Government exists to give us the opportunity to be happy. That is very different from the Government of today which looks to "ensure" happiness and security.
This is the big reason I am in such favor of term limits. It disables the concept of entrenchment, and encourages the longer-term view of the nation since the President and Congressional reps understand, upon their swearing-in, that their respective stays are very limited, so what can they do for the common good.
As it is inscribed on the Courthouse in Elizabeth, NJ: VOX DEI VOX POPULI (The voice of God is the voice of the majority).

Swanlady said...

Hi Matt:
You have outlined our governmental illness: Winning at all cost! Some members go to Washington D.C. with thoughts of serving but because of no term limits; they soon are fighting to preserve 'their turf'. We need to choose our Senators and Representatives wisely and carefully. In my thinking our country is slowly moving toward an oligarchy form of government. Power does corrupt!

Bob Irving said...

Matt is back! Welcome back Matt. As usual, a concise evaluation of a significant problem and yes I do have a number for you to call. Unfortunately, because it would benefit the populace, DC will not get back to you until 2085. Irvs

Nomi said...

This concussion analogy (? parable? allegory? ) is so apt, we can develop this further.

There are different kinds of concussions, right?

Some cause permanent damage, but some do not.

Thanks, Matt.

I think we can all send this post to our Congressional Representatives (House and Senate) and Governors, and, of course, the President and other Administrative folk.

Mark Webster said...

Hi Matt- we spoke a few years ago. Our dads grew up together, and I was raised listenig to stories of the Paknis family and Kearny. FYI - I just put my pops in the Veteran's Home due to his progressing Alzheimer's from football (MRI showed more than 10 major dead spots in his brain from concussions. It was the toughest thing I've had to deal with. It's kind of like the movie "Groundhog's day". He has to keep relieving certain events like his brother Alex's death. A Tough reality.

In any case, we'll be back in Jersey (Point Pleasant/Kearny) in late July. I'd love to meet you for a pint, if you're able.