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particledots
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Registered: 05/25/09
Posts: 1362
Location: , United States
 
Re:Brace for Impact
Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 09:35 PM CST

MotherofMeursault
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 372
Location: , United States
 
Re:Brace for Impact
Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 07:04 AM CST

Quote by: VicDiesel


So I'm not quite sure what you're saying. You are definitely saying that you don't need to know about energy to run an energy department. Are you now also saying that you don't need any running skills to run any department?

Victor.





I'm saying that high-level management skills are largely unquantifiable, or at least don't lend themselves to an impressive list of credentials on a resume. Lots of people, though, equate a list of accomplishments with ability, and that's where I think the popular notion of expertise begins to go off the rails (at least as it applies to management positions).
It is definitely true that to run the Department of Energy you don't need to know the first thing about energy or nuclear science, but you do need to know how to run a department. Of course, it's always nice for the director to have at least some glancing knowledge of the department's terminology and function, but it's not strictly necessary. (See: Johnson, Jeh.)


VicDiesel
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Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2908
Location: Austin, TX
 
Re:Brace for Impact
Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 08:08 AM CST

Quote by: MotherofMeursault

I'm saying that high-level management skills are largely unquantifiable, or at least don't lend themselves to an impressive list of credentials on a resume.



So far so good.


It is definitely true that to run the Department of Energy you don't need to know the first thing about energy or nuclear science,



Oh? You need to make decision based on an understanding of what is possible, what has been done before, what the future looks like. How are you going to decide between oil, gas, nuclear, power, without understanding the technologies?


Of course, it's always nice for the director to have at least some glancing knowledge



And that's enough to make billion dollar decisions with multi-year impact? Seriously?


but you do need to know how to run a department.



Which of Trump's appointments qualify thusly?

Victor.

-- My CD.
MotherofMeursault
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 372
Location: , United States
 
Re:Brace for Impact
Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 09:12 AM CST

The head of the Department of Energy does not spend long hours burning the midnight lithium-ion battery on behalf of the masses. His policies are not independent of the administration; they are aligned with it. Again: it's not an academic position.
And, if you've been paying any attention at all for the past 30 years, you would've noticed by now that cost and long term impact are the very last things on any bureaucrat's mind! (In fact, from his point of view, the more billions he can spend and the longer term the impact, the better for next year's budget.)


I'm not a spokeswoman for the Trump administration. A jaundiced view of past political appointees is not an endorsement of the current batch.
VicDiesel
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Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2908
Location: Austin, TX
 
Re:Brace for Impact
Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 05:19 PM CST

Quote by: MotherofMeursault

And, if you've been paying any attention at all for the past 30 years,



I've noticed that you haven't given me an example of someone running a business well, without too much knowledge of the product.

Some names of successful business people that occur to me are Jack Welch, started as engineer, Lee Iacocca, starting as engineer, Jeff Bezos, solid training and early employment in computer science and technology, Bill Gates. Notably, John Scully who came to Apple from Pepsi was pretty much a disaster. (Apple increased in value during his tenure, but that more timing than skill.)

Victor.

-- My CD.
MotherofMeursault
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 372
Location: , United States
 
Re:Brace for Impact
Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 08:16 PM CST

Quote by: VicDiesel
Quote by: MotherofMeursault

And, if you've been paying any attention at all for the past 30 years,



I've noticed that you haven't given me an example of someone running a business well, without too much knowledge of the product.

Some names of successful business people that occur to me are Jack Welch, started as engineer, Lee Iacocca, starting as engineer, Jeff Bezos, solid training and early employment in computer science and technology, Bill Gates. Notably, John Scully who came to Apple from Pepsi was pretty much a disaster. (Apple increased in value during his tenure, but that more timing than skill.)

Victor.




Now you're just being silly. Of course, some knowledge of the product is required, especially considering that no company will hire you to stock shelves much less lead them into the next century if you don't show at least some interest in what the company does. But if you have the native intelligence and education required to be CEO, you will have no difficulty becoming conversant in the relevant details of the business you are leading. This is a big reason why, at a certain point in their careers, many executives can move laterally into other industries. They change industries, but stay in the same world.
Somebody named Scott Flanders was CEO of Playboy Enterprises before moving over to head an insurance company. When Flanders goes to work, do you think he sees the development of the company in large strategic terms divorced from the minutiae of risk vs. return, or do you honestly imagine he shuffles into work, looks over the incoming faxes and says, "This one has a saucy little figure, let's give her a low deductible!"??



Now, Victor, I do want to remind you that government is not a business, so you should pull back a little on thinking of it in those terms. But I commend you on this new direction in your thinking. I'm very proud of you, dear!

MoM
VicDiesel
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Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2908
Location: Austin, TX
 
Re:Brace for Impact
Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 08:32 PM CST

Quote by: MotherofMeursault
But if you have the native intelligence and education required to be CEO, you will have no difficulty becoming conversant in the relevant details of the business you are leading.



Example?


Scott Flanders was CEO of Playboy Enterprises before moving over to head an insurance company.



Meh. Marginal examples. Playboy is mostly marketing, and insurance is pushing money around. Give me an example of a primary industry, one that actually produces something.

Victor.

PS skip the condescension. It doesn't make you sound either more intelligent or more reasonable.

PPS I'm getting bored with this topic. I may just let you have the last word.

-- My CD.
jgurner
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Registered: 05/20/04
Posts: 1950
Location: The Valley, Mississippi USofA
 
Re:Brace for Impact
Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 08:59 PM CST

I do get what MoM is saying, and I don't disagree with it in general (though I don't completely agree with the whole idea), mainly because I've had some experience that would fit. I was a very good journalist. I was a good writer and reporter. I was a good newspaper and magazine designer. I could almost single-handedly put together a damn good product and I worked well with others. But I was terrible at managing other people. On the other hand, one of my bosses couldn't write a news story, design a page or put together an ad to save her life, but she did an amazing job of running our newspapers. She put the right people in the right places. Asked their input when needed and let each of the employees work to their strengths.

In contrast her boss, the guy who ran the company, also didn't have a newspaper background either, but was supposedly good at managing things. He was horrible. He alienated the people who worked for him, wouldn't take advice and wasn't interested in what those of us who had decades of experience had to say.

So while I do agree you can have good people who aren't experts come in and be successful managers (my former boss) and people who are experts in their field, but who are terrible managers (me), it's not always the case. I think it's more of a cap shoot to go with someone who isn't really experienced in the field. It may work, but I'd bet more often than not it won't work well.

As for Rick Perry, he has experience with government bureaucracy for sure, but I'm not sue I'd trust him to run a coffee maker, much less the Dept. of Energy. For ideological reasons if nothing else. (I am a left-wing looney after all, even though I was born and raised in the reddest of red states - Mississippi.) I wouldn't trust Trump to pick his nose, much less people to lead our government.

And just as a very loosely related aside, one good thing that has happened while the sky is falling around us is that I've retreated a bit from the world (I'm getting a little weary of the arguments. Not saying people shouldn't be having them. I just needed to step away for a bit.) As a result I've read about a dozen books over the past months, written two new songs and almost finished recording them, and have two more songs in the works with ideas for a couple of others after that. I think that's more original tunes than I've done in the past couple of years.

So there's that.
MotherofMeursault
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 372
Location: , United States
 
Re:Brace for Impact
Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 10:31 PM CST

All blessings upon Joseph Gurner! I've admired his (too rare) postings over the years, and occasionally felt ashamed that my own stuff was not half so thoughtful. Thank you, jgurner.
And for what it's worth, leftie or no, I agree with you more than you might imagine.

MoM
 
MotherofMeursault
Forum Full Member


Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 372
Location: , United States
 
Re:Brace for Impact
Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 10:34 PM CST

Quote by: VicDiesel


Meh. Marginal examples. Playboy is mostly marketing, and insurance is pushing money around. Give me an example of a primary industry, one that actually produces something.

Victor.

PS skip the condescension. It doesn't make you sound either more intelligent or more reasonable.

PPS I'm getting bored with this topic. I may just let you have the last word.




And now, to Vic:

The great irony of your high minded dismissal of 'marginal' businesses, and your embrace of those REAL producers in tech and Detroit is that the nation just went through 8 years of that version of expertise, and suffered trillions of dollars in capital flight and 1% annual GDP as a result. I got the Playboy thing straight outta Google and (while I hardly think a magazine that generates $300 million a year qualifies as marginal) played it for laughs. But the truth of the matter is the VAST majority of all business is what you would unjustly term marginal.

However, in the interest of fairness:

Indra Nooyi is the CEO of Pepsi. Her career path was: Booz Allen> Boston Consulting> Motorola> ABB> Pepsi

Phebe Novakovic is the CEO of General Dynamics. Her career path: MBA from Wharton> CIA> Dept of Defense> General Dynamics

What's the common thread? Hint: it isn't consulting or technology or soft drinks or spying or submarines. It's management. If you'd like to imagine that Indra is regularly quizzed on the correct proportion of syrup to soda, be my guest.

Sorry you've grown weary of the conversation.

My best,

MoM