Politicians tend to appoint to government’s most influential decision-making positions their family members, friends, paramours, significant others, chief donors and key supporters. These people often see that their main mission is to help their politicians gain the name recognition they need to continue to get elected to office every two to four years. Consequently, many appointees use their positions to dream up costly, politically motivated initiatives designed to make a headline or photo opportunity for them and their politicians. The initiatives make great sound bites, but in reality often lack not only a working knowledge of available resources but also the contextual awareness and detail to coordinate the various operational elements to make programs effective.
As a former statewide government program administrator, I improved underperforming government services by instilling pride and focussing employees on performance and productivity processes. The Three-Dimensional Leader: Negotiating Your Mission, Resources and Context explains that government has challenges with efficiency often because its leaders only function within two of the three MRC essentials necessary to achieve effective operations.
Even simple things are overlooked like coordinating the job titles and partner relationships that are necessary to provide services in ways that deliver meaningful outcomes to the public. While many appointees can recite a government agency’s mission statement, their behaviors painfully demonstrate to gifted and skilled civil servants that they have no actual experience in what they are tasked to manage or oversee.
The new initiatives often are out of synch with why the program was established, and how it was set up to operate. The heavy handed way appointees tend to go about implementing them demonstrates the lack of people skills and leadership abilities necessary to effectively coordinate large numbers of people across multiple departments. Many a civil servant has been idled as a result.
The Three-Dimensional Leader: Negotiating Your Mission, Resources and Context gives us a scalable reference for understanding good and poor leadership. Here’s how the template or paradigm applies to rating and assessing leaders in government.
When government in America operates from a three-dimensional perspective: it sees its mission is to facilitate a set of circumstances that make it favorable for our nation’s chief resource, which is “We the People,” to use our talents, gifts and abilities to innovate goods and services that others find useful and beneficial and are willing to pay us a profitable price to obtain and enjoy. The context that good government must keep in focus is the U.S. Constitution, which is based upon Biblical values.
A three-dimensional government leader keeps a long term focus on this mission, resources and context, or these MRC’s. When government leaders operate from a two-dimensional perspective they only get a bearing on just one or two of these MRC concepts. Worse yet, one-dimensional government leaders think that everything that takes place within the American economy has to include them, their “input and/or control. One-dimensional leadership is all about “me” – not the mission of enabling “we the people.”
One and Two-Dimensional leaders set up “us vs. them” dynamics. They appeal for votes separating us into individual groups of hyphenated-Americans, divided by race, ethnicity and behaviors. They promise us “African-Americans” rights we already have as Americans, and which undermine “we the people” seeing ourselves as “one nation under God.” For instance, I do not need a special law saying you can’t hit me because I am black, because we already have laws that say you can’t assault me.
Responsible and astute government leaders and citizens keep the big picture MRC’s in focus.