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The Leveraging Synergies for Matrix-Driven Perfomance Based Action Presidency

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It’s very exciting that the Romney Presidency would have been nothing more than an exercise in corporate cliches, with its leaderocity, core competencies, magnetic niches, and other meaningless words.

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  • cpinva

    clearly dr. loomis, you do not understand the business of business, which is to create meaningless buzzwords. whole industries are devoted to this effort, with thousands of highly trained, new professionals being churned out annually by the nation’s institutions of higher learning. it is a robust, expanding industries, stretching its tentacles around the globe. think of an octopus grasping its helpless prey, and you have an idea of the reach and affect of corporatese, on modern business systems.

    • Leeds man

      think of an octopus grasping its helpless prey

      Vampire squid, surely.

      • Just a Rube

        The fascist octopus has sung it’s swan song

    • Mike G

      Rmoney’s vision for America is more simply condensed down to this YouTube clip —

      Chinese Manufacturing Press
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJjeDfZW1yc

  • Todd

    It’s the typical consultancy report, with the typical recommendations: Hire us permanently to continue to consult for you, fire everyone else and then hire many more of us.

    • cpinva

      “It’s the typical consultancy report, with the typical recommendations: Hire us permanently to continue to consult for you, fire everyone else and then hire many more of us.”

      well hell, I could’ve said that! is that really what you want, for your $100,000 consulting fee? of course not!

      • Todd

        We are also very concerned about your recent attitude and further recommend executive training for you and your Cabinet. Your attitude is so troubling, we are ethically required to pass on this recommendation to your Board (er….Congress).

        CC: Congress

        • cpinva

          much better!

  • We’d have had US Government by PowerPoint.

    Just think how much fun we’d have had, watching Mitt project “slides” during his State of the Union address.

    And his wooden laugh when a shot of his wholesome family on vacation got in there, and he said, “How’d THAT get in there? I guess I’ll have to fire someone. Heh-heh-heh…”

    No, that was W’s laugh.

    I don’t think I ever saw Mitt really laugh.
    He had that sociopathic serial-killer smile down pat, but I don’t remember him genuinely laughing.

    Does anyone?
    How would you describe his laugh?

    • cpinva

      “We’d have had US Government by PowerPoint.”

      I hate to be the one to break this to you, but that’s what we have now, and have had, for the past several years. several years ago, I was teaching an intro to corp. tax law class. it was a three week, concentrated unit, with roughly 45 students. in an effort to keep the class from just passing out on a daily basis, I converted all my lessons to PP presentations; they would have to keep their eyes on the projection screen, and that way, they’d be forced to stay conscious. that was my reasoning, anyway.

      my effort was very successful. too successful, as it turns out. the powers that be took that idea, and ran with it. now, pretty much everything is a PP presentation, whether it’s really a good means of getting the information across or not. because, you know, it’s cheaper to deliver it that way.

      • Lee Rudolph

        Years and years and years ago, when personal video recorders were the hot new thing, a summer neighbor of ours invited us over to the vacation farmhouse for a show of his recordings. Some of them were modestly interesting (he played in the Met orchestra, and it was entertaining to see instrumentalists backstage taking nips from paper-bagged bottles kept in their lockers), some less so (the commute from New Jersey to the backside of Lincoln Center), and one was positively postmodern: he had recorded, and was playing back to us, an entire slideshow (actual, old-fashioned slides) of some total strangers’ (to us) Mexican vacation. His wife finally stopped him.

        That said, I am entirely looking forward to MOOC videos of PP presentations.

      • Vance Maverick

        They say that the military runs on PP now too.

        Any bets on what the Obama transition was like? Pretty management-y, I’d warrant, though I doubt “holding company” was an analogy they reached for.

        • Lee Rudolph

          Big Brother and the Holding Company…

          • jake the snake

            You haz won the internets.

        • Major Kong

          It does. I sat through many a “death by PowerPoint” briefing.

          • PowerPoint has its place.

            But a whole lot of lunkheads don’t know how to use it effectively.
            Instead of using if for bullet-points that keep the flow going, they cram whole, massive, paragraphs on the first screen, and then proceed to do the same with the rest of them.

            I made a polite comment one time, suggesting that putting so many words up there, made it hard to read and stay focused on what the speaker was saying at the same time.
            I was told that maybe I needed new glasses and a hearing-aid.
            Putz.

            • cpinva

              “Instead of using if for bullet-points that keep the flow going, they cram whole, massive, paragraphs on the first screen, and then proceed to do the same with the rest of them.”

              this!

            • ploeg

              Then you have presenters who learn that you can embed video, and spend most of their time putting together a video of a tank and figuring out how to embed it properly, so that 5% of their effort is spent on the actual substantive content, with predictable results.

              • Oh, Jayzoos, I’d forgotten about the video embed’s.

                Suddenly, every PP presentation got hijacked into “Look at how clever I AM! I can even do video!!!”

                Yeah, well you need to keep us plebe’s amused, because you sure ain’t sayin’ any sh*t worth hearing.

                Being unemployed for 3+ years, certainly has its positives – like not listening to some asshole drone on and on, while kittens play with string, and fighter jets demolish towns, in the big build up to…

                “What was the f*cking point again? You lost me at the kitten playing with a string, when you were talking about the slippery metrics you’re using, trying to convince us that you’re right, and the rest of us are ignorant trolls. And you didn’t even bring any donuts, you worthless c*cksucker!!!” (NTTAWWT!)

                • mr.peabody

                  Being unemployed for 3+ years, certainly has its positives – like not listening to some asshole drone on and on

                  I figured as much, c u n d. I’ve been unemployed for going on 2+ years and see you popping up in the comments at all the blogs I visit.
                  Odd that we both still support Obama, given that, I suppose. I could never support any Republican, though, so there’s that.
                  Hope you have some luck finding a job. Don’t know your age, but you’ll need it if you’re 50+ like me.
                  But like you said: At least we’re not listening to assholes droning on and on.

              • Hogan

                I read an article in the WSJ about fifteen years ago saying the Pentagon briefings that used to take forty-five minutes had started running up to two hours, because the majors and LCs had figured out how to make tanks run across the screen and blow shit up in their PowerPoint presentations. The generals were not amused.

            • BlueLoom

              they cram whole, massive, paragraphs on the first screen, and then proceed to do the same with the rest of them.

              Or they cram whole, massive paragraphs on every screen and proceed to read them to the audience, word by word.

          • redrob64

            A colleague of mine, retired Army officer, had a dummied up “PowerPoint Ranger” tab hung upside down on his office wall — to indicate a condition of permanent distress, he said.

            • mr.peabody,
              Yeah, 55, and, despite literally thousands of resume’s I’ve sent out – no luck.

              I haven’t even tried since March.
              It’s pointless.
              And, if I do say so myself, my resume is not unimpressive.
              No one wants to hire those of us over 50, anymore.
              The only calls I ever got, or return e-mails, were for companies pulling scams, hoping that desperate people will do criminal, or borderline criminal, things.

              Oh well, whatchagonnado?

              Good luck to you, as well.

              • jake the snake

                Try at 60+. Just want something to hold me over until Medicare, if it is still there in
                4 years, after Cruz/Ryan wins in 2016.

  • ploeg

    Submitted without further comment:

     A White House spokesman did not respond when asked if Obama’s team had reviewed the transition report for ideas for the second term.

    • mr.peabody

      He was unable to respond due to uncontrollable laughter.

  • sibusisodan

    It is to larf.

    I have no problem with the necessary requirement for a President-elect to have a transition team, and to have advanced plans for that team on election-day. Or even for them to plan for a leadership style suiting the individual. But this is just full of doofus. For example:

    “The White House staff is similar to a holding company” read one PowerPoint slide, which would have been presented to President-elect Romney as part of an expansive briefing on the morning after Election Day.

    Things which I would require that a wannabee-President would know, prior to seeking the office: what the White House is like.

    But then once you get into the detail of the 200-day plan, it’s so vague. ‘Identify ways to do X.’ ‘Determine pathway for Y’. The number of instructions to draft legislation are minimal-to-non-existant. And then there’s the whole mathematical-illiteracy of the tax plans.

    Was the entire Romney candidacy a giant Poe?

    • cpinva

      that first slide told me none of those people had a farking clue what they were talking about. they couldn’t even get the description of a holding company right. a holding company (generally)is an administrative shell, which owns a controlling interest, in stock in operating subsidiaries. the divisions within the holding company itself are just like the divisions within the operating subsidiaries. normally, the financial statements/tax returns are prepared/filed on a consolidated basis. the divisions within the holding company are not what makes it a holding company, it is the owned operating subsidiaries.

      if they couldn’t even get something as simple as that right, god only knows what damage they’d have caused, at the national level, had Romney/ryan won.

      • sibusisodan

        a holding company (generally)is an administrative shell

        Ah, so like the GWB White House, then?

        • Warren Terra

          They share etymological roots, but “shell game” and “shell company” aren’t necessarily connected.

    • Anonymous

      This was just the first phase of the transition outlining the goals of a Romney administration. From 11/7-1/21 they would’ve been working on the details for the legislative and regulatory strategies as well as selecting the next tier of appointments.

      • sibusisodan

        This was just the first phase of the transition outlining the goals of a Romney administration.

        Sure, Anonymous. The first 200 days. Which takes one up to June following the inauguration.

        Given that Romney touted a many-many-step program for putting America back to work during the campaign, I would have thought that the actual details of that program would have been worked out prior to election, if he was being competent, and all.

        • Anonymous

          A non-incumbent presidential campaign doesn’t have access to government resources and staff. A post-election transition team does. Obama’s team went through the same process.

          • swearyanthony

            But why would they want govt resources and staff? The entire Romney campaign was about how his business skills were far superior to the broken old government.

  • Leeds man

    I didn’t see my favourite buzz phrase; leveraging synergies.

    • Major Kong

      We need to rethink the dominant paradigm.

      • Karen

        While we interface proactively to advance core competences and take things to the next level.

        • cpinva

          I sense the outline of a country song here.

          • Karen

            Shel Silverstein — “Boy Named Sue,””One’s On The Way,” or Tom T Hall “Harper Valley PTA,” “Who’s,Gonna Feed Them Hogs,” “Faster Horses” – could do it justice, but no o e I know who’s active today has the lyrical skills necessary.

        • Mike G
    • R. Porrofatto

      Our value proposition is designed to plus the country. As soon as the electorate makes the ask we’re ready for full implementation, based on their upward feedback.

      • Kathleen

        Ummm. That’s some purty paradigms you got there.

    • Leeds man

      Duh. I guess I didn’t see the post title.

    • HP

      “leveraging synergies” is so ’80s. Get with the times — you need to start vertically integrating silos.

  • Anonymous

    20,000 pages (?!) epitomizes the ur-consultant skill of “plans by the pound.” This just confirms the rumors about Romney being the ultimate empty suit at Bain: less adept at being smart than looking smart (using the classic formula: sharp clothes, sharp tongue, expensive haircut, lots of tables, charts and buzzwords), and that he was hired less for his business acumen than for the connections built up through his Dad. Remember when W was *also* going to be the CEO President and shake up govt? Is any cliche more resistant to reality?

  • Aaron

    I would just like to point out, again, that many of these words do actually have concrete meaning, and are simply horribly abused by corporate types who are more interested in sounding smart than in actually saying something smart. But words like “leverage,” “synergy,” and “disruptive innovation” usefully describe real features of the world even if execs don’t care about the integrity of their language.

    • Karen

      Leverage — useful for describing a TV show and activities requiring crowbars. Otherwise, AVOID.

      Synergy — useful for engineering and physics.

      Impact — okay only for dentists, meteorite specialists, and artillery units.

      Interface — okay for computer experts.

      Proactive, competency, “disruptive innovation” — useless word invented only to make a stupid person sound intelligent and to conceal demonstrably evil ideas. Use real words and defend the ideas, don’t make up words to avoid debate.

      • My father – a luddite by temperament if not by intent – once asked me if “interface” was a new word for oral sex.

    • cpinva

      you are correct, up to a point. unfortunately, some words/terms mean absolutely nothing, and have simply been created out of thin air, by overpaid consultants. as an example:

      “grow your business”

      plants grow, businesses expand or contract, they are not organic beasts.

    • HP

      As a 20+ year veteran of corporate world, I get really tired of non-corporate types making fun of “going forward.” Believe me, there are no sweeter words after “new branding initiative” than “on a go-forward basis.”

      The alternative is too awful to contemplate, and unfortunately, happens as likely as not.

  • Haystack

    One of these might be appropriate.

  • “The White House staff is similar to a holding company”

    When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  • Warren Terra

    Y’all have only looked at the metaphorical cover. If you delve more deeply, you’ll discover that it’s not a management plan: it’s a cookbook!

  • RJB

    Boy, never thought I’d be defending Romney, but do you think Obama took an approach other than having a bunch of people pull together a bunch of material that would impose a little structure on how to manage one of the largest and most complex organizations in the world? So he used PowerPoint. You would prefer quills and parchment?

    Moreover, why not frame the government in terms the hopeful chief executive would understand? Holding company really isn’t too bad an analogy, given that (as we’ve seen in the IRS imbroglio) the White House delegates most decision-making to organizations under its “ownership” but not exactly its direct control. Not a perfect analogy, but good enough and probably a good way to help Romney understand his limits.

    And while you can make fun of corporate jargon, the terms are meaningful to those who use them, which is what communication is all about.

    Oh, but there I go, ruining everyone’s Sunday pile-on.

    As people sift through the

    • RJB

      Whoops! Hit ‘submit’ to quickly. I meant to conclude that as people sift through the details of the plan, I look forward to people making fun of the specifics. Full disclosure: I’m a business prof who makes a living presenting and attending talks on research, business, consulting, etc. Those who know how to use PowerPoint give far more effective talks than those who don’t use it at all, though those people are usually more effective than those who use it badly!

      Even more full disclosure: I’m one of those people who spent time figuring out how to embed .gif animations into my own talks. Let me tell you, my students and faculty colleagues thank me for it, esp. for tricky dynamic issues that are hard to describe in words or intuit just with a static slide.

    • Tehanu

      the terms are meaningful to those who use them

      To slightly misquote Elaine Benes, “That’s because they’re idiots.”

      • Tehanu

        RGB, I guess we posted our replies simultaneously and now I’m really glad I know who’s responsible for all that crap. Perhaps you should spend some time thinking about the way you and your cohorts have worked so hard to take anything resembling heart or humanity — let alone simple, straightforward language reflecting actual truth — out of business.

        • Mike G

          Perhaps you should spend some time thinking about the way you and your cohorts have worked so hard to take anything resembling heart or humanity — let alone simple, straightforward language reflecting actual truth — out of business.

          This. Thanks RJB for your contribution for making millions of Americans’ work lives dehumanized, intelligence-insulting inanity.

          The only thing you left out are football metaphors. Corporate jocks have to put everything in terms of football metaphors to avoid the danger of having to actually think.

    • wjts

      Moreover, why not frame the government in terms the hopeful chief executive would understand?

      Because the government is a government, not a holding company, and should be run like a government and not like a holding company. Mitt Romney, who has been both a private sector CEO and the Governor of Massachusetts, should have been able to understand this incredibly simple principle and plan for his presidency accordingly.

      • To be fair to Romney, he was a fairly shitty governor*, so it may be stretching to assume he understands this distinction.

        • wjts

          I’m sure he doesn’t, which is one of the many reasons he made a shitty governor and would have made an even shittier president.

          • Haystack

            Also why he made a shitty candidate: to look at running the country through the lens of a corporate executive at the exclusion of any other vision.

            People noticed that.

      • I’d as soon have a chief executive who didn’t need to have the gummint “framed” for him, but who had actual knowledge of what he wanted to run before starting his campaign.

        Asking too much?

  • Warren Terra

    Steve M at No More Mister Nice Blog raises an interesting specter:

    The fact that the report emerges the same week as an Ann Romney interview on CBS makes me wonder if Mitt is trying to get back in the game

    The disturbing implications are two-fold: Mitt might think he can get back into the serious-politics game (and soon, rather than through one of his sons in twenty years), and Mitt might think that this ludicrous 20,000 page exercise in facile obfuscation will help him demonstrate his merits and re-enter politics.

    • I, for one, await Mitt’s non-ludicrous 20,000 page exercise in facile obfuscation. It’ll be a hum-dinger.

    • Anonymous

      No matter – a Republican who loses a Presidential election is the weak elk of the herd, forever shunned.

    • Andrew

      The project management report was only about 100 pages. 20,000 pages refers to something else.

    • NonyNony

      The Flying Spaghetti Monster does not love me enough for Mitt Romney to think that he could be a serious contender for the 2016 election cycle.

  • Book

    I for one will lament the alternative history in which all State of the Union addresses were delivered as TED talks on the nextification of America.

  • Andrew

    While the business-speak is amusing, the policy contents of the document are cause for alarm. It starkly outlines the Republican, corporate raider view of government. They’re all Gordon Gecko wannabes.

  • jkay

    For extra fun, he was a too literally a vulture capitalist. DeLong wrote that he put absurd debts on bankrupt companies so his company could make more. That also meant his designated losers like his famous steel company had no chance beyond bankruptcy.

    • Cody

      He famously saved Bain Consulting by threatening to bankrupt the company by giving ridiculous bonuses to his executive team and self and make the FDIC cover all the loan defaults resulting.

  • What the hell is a “holding company”?

    • Janis Joplin’s back-up band. What that has to do with current-day electoral politics escapes me.

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