Can you lie yourself out of a problem like the President Barak Obama?

08 Nov

These days it’s not a secret that the President Obama misled the American people on his signature legislation – Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Either the President doesn’t understand the English meaning of “Period”, or he was intentionally misleading American people to get his way. For people who don’t know the background of this lie, this is what the President claimed on multiple occasion (it was not just a one-time slip of tongue) – “If you like your plan, you can keep it. Period”. Don’t jump your guns though. Executives who might be thinking that they have found a holy grail to solve all of their issues by lying, please consider it twice before taking your chances. Odds are…..lying won’t work well for you as it has worked for the President Obama. Following are few reasons behind it.

Accountability: Unlike the Government, public companies have to be accountable for each and every action they take. If Surface Tablet doesn’t perform well, Microsoft stock price will plummet in no time. But hardly anyone holds the government accountable for the healthcare site which is developed for millions of dollars, and still it doesn’t work. Since the government doesn’t have the profit motive, some of the government programs can’t be run efficiently by definition. On top of this, government doesn’t hold anyone accountable for their mistakes. If this kind of a fiasco would have happened in the private company, someone would have been fired. Period. As we have seen in this administration, people who lie are not just given a pass, but on few occasions they also get promoted. Unfortunately, this kind of behavior won’t work for you, if you own/run a private company.

Blame game: During the hearing of the Healthcare website, it was clear that every contractor was blaming the government for this lousy rollout. And the government was blaming the consumer demand. Really? Have you ever heard a big website like eBay or Amazon blaming their consumers for the malfunction of their website on the Black Friday? That would be a complete disaster, and no one will buy this lie. Unfortunately, since the government has so many departments, and it is so huge, people can play the blame game for a long time, and kick the can down the road. Also, the government of the United States is becoming bigger and complicated as the government expansion takes on. And due to this reason, people can easily be confused. In the real world though, a CEO of a company can’t play the blame game for a long time. Stockholders will be asking tough questions, since they are financially invested in your company.

Lying doesn’t matter: In today’s political world, people believe that almost all the political leader lie. And due to this reason and this reason only, we expect very little from our political appointees as compared to other people. Also, if the President of the United States lies to you, you can’t just fire him, he has 4 more years under his belt. On the contrary, if you find out that the CEO of Yahoo lied to you about his credentials, you can create an external environment of pressure through your stock holdings to fire him. If a company lied about its products and created a false marketing campaign, you can technically take that company to the court for false advertising, while you can’t take Obama to the court for lying. He can just get out of his past claims by just apologizing to its consumer.

So, next time when you are thinking of lying to get your way, think twice. Do you think this path of lying is sustainable for the government? Or are we living in a world where government employees are held up to a lower standards as compared to other folks?

Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

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Posted by on November 8, 2013 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management


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