Monday, December 2, 2013

how much micromanagement is too much?

Obama can't win with the media, at least not this year. When he stays arm's length from an issue, such the budget talks, he's blamed for aloofness. When he gets directly and personally involved in a matter, like fixing the government's healthcare website, he's accused of micromanaging. Whatever the right balance is, the President doesn't seem to have it right now.

I've long believed, drawing on Richard Neustadt's analysis of presidential power, that presidents need to pay attention to some details of governance or else the subordinates would act independently. I also liked the line my former Senate boss, Lloyd Bentsen, used frequently: "Expect what you inspect."

All the management books in the world can't help a decision maker to find the right balance. Let's hope experience does.

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