Smith: President or publicist

Smith: President or publicist

August 25th, 2014 in Opinion Columns

Robin Smith

Robin Smith

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

What happens when a leader treats every opportunity for leadership, every decision and every strategic action as either a political event, an occasion for public relations, or a time to defend a failing agenda rather than identify an actual problem and propose solutions or strategies to solve it?

You get political distrust, business failure, and/or every other dismal result one might imagine.

Don't limit your thinking on this just to politics and Barack Obama, but we'll get there.

Imagine a business confronted with an aging product line that has served the company well over the years. Imagine that company leaders identify a problem with that product line (now in the end of its product life cycle), analyze the issue, but decide only to boost spending to advertise that lagging product more, or rename the product after some version of "reformulation."

Repackaging a loser even while acknowledging that a better solution could be found in a new strategy, a new approach -- however risky -- is a hallmark of failure and negligence.

By 1999, the Dell computer company was the number one manufacturer of personal computers. The ease by which the average person could order their computer to include specific software or unique programs for their professional or personal needs and have it delivered within days to their doorstep was appealing.

While Dell excelled, the market changed. Transformational, visionary companies such as Apple burst onto the scene. Executives and engineers grasped the significance of mobile computing and the necessity of smaller laptops, tablets and phones.

In the early 2000s, Dell President and CEO Michael Dell repeatedly and actively blocked attempts by his executive staff and board to lessen the company's dependence on PCs through acquisitions and partnerships.

Today, Michael Dell is no longer CEO of Dell; other companies are now leading the pack in this highly competitive market.

Now, let's look at our current political situation that's hyper-partisan and yielding policies that are destructive to economic growth, that compromise our standing in the world and that create more problems than solutions.

During the first five years of the Barack Obama presidency, the U.S. economy has grown more slowly than any other time since World War II. During the first quarter of 2014, the U.S. economy actually shrank by 2.9 percent.

What are the policies that have hindered and obstructed job growth and hampered economic recovery? Tax increases and government replacing private industry in the job market through unprecedented expansion of entitlements, federal spending and bailouts of industry, just to name a few.

On the foreign policy front, Obama's belief in self-determination of a country despite its terrorist foundations, hostilities to minorities such as women, children, Christians and Jews, and holding captive energy markets have made the United States a laughingstock to both our allies and enemies.

Then we have our southern border overrun with illegal immigrants who recognize that our immigration laws are disregarded by the Obama administration.

What do these business and political failures have in common? Leaders clinging to their own failing agendas actively obstructing steps to implement practical, strategic solutions.

It's time our elected leaders think and plan strategically, execute competently and evaluate results.

The repackaging, remarketing and public relations nightmares need to stop. We deserve results.

Robin Smith, immediate past Tennessee Republican Party chairwoman, is owner of Rivers Edge Alliance.