My most surprising discovery: the overwhelming importance in
governmentbusiness of an unseen force that we might call “the institutional imperative.” In business school, I was given no hint of the imperative’s existence and I did not intuitively understand it when I entered the governmentbusiness world. I thought then that decent, intelligent, and experienced civil servantsmanagers would automatically make rational governmentbusiness decisions. But I learned over time that isn’t so. Instead, rationality frequently wilts when the institutional imperative comes into play.
For example: (1) As if governed by Newton’s First Law of Motion, an
government agencyinstitution will resist any change in its current direction; (2) Just as work expands to fill available time, governmentcorporate projects or acquisitions will materialize to soak up available funds; (3) Any governmentbusiness craving of the leader, however foolish, will be quickly supported by detailed rate-of-return and strategic studies prepared by his troops; and (4) The behavior of government consultantspeer companies, whether they are expanding, acquiring, setting executive compensation or whatever, will be mindlessly imitated.
Monday, June 09, 2014
Buffett on Government, No It's Private
Brad Delong posts Warren Buffett's lessons learned: