Framing the Dialogue

That Guy

If you have worked anywhere you have probably run into that guy (or girl) sometime in your career.  Terry was the name (name changed to protect the innocent) of “that guy” at one of my recent jobs.  I would describe him as young, well dressed, very good looking, very personable, great to talk to, funny, a good listener, and someone everybody likes.  Terry started in our sales department. 

I was in engineering so I had very little professional interaction with Terry, but it was a small company and we all knew each other.  When I started this position as Environmental Manager we also had hired a new Construction Manager and a new Sales Manager.  There were a lot of changes happening so I took little notice that Terry was moved to “inside sales.” 

As part of the management team, I was expected to attend routine meetings (a chill still goes up my spine thinking of regularly scheduled staff meetings – Death by Meeting).  I was much younger then and have very little interest when we reached the part of the agenda dealing with sales.  Terry must not have been doing very well and he was switched to a “marketing” position.  That is when I started to have more official contact with Terry.

Terry marketing duties covered a wide range of tasks and our jobs overlapped when he had to complete Requests For Qualifications (“RFQ”).  Potential customers wanted to ensure that we were a company that complied with all environmental laws before doing business with us.  That may sound unusual, but we were in the waste management business and companies learned that their liability did not end when their waste went in the trash bin. 

Terry needed help completing these RFQs and naturally I was the guy to guide him so we spent some time together.  I would even take him on-site to help him understand our operation so that he would feel comfortable completing paperwork.  After a while, I noticed that Terry could or would not take the wheel and do the RFQs himself.  At first I thought it was a lack of confidence, but as time went on that did not seem to be the case.

Terry even started to give me his paperwork to complete since he “needed my input” to finish.  I was now tuned into Terry and was welcomed into the group of people who already had Terry figured out.  Terry was still a great guy, but the group was tired of covering for him by doing his work.  There was no tension we just wouldn’t do his work.  One of the people who recognized Terry’s tendencies was the General Manager.  I know that he had many conversations trying to get Terry on track.  Terry was either unable or unwilling to pull his own weight and actually quit before the axe fell.

As I am watching Washington D.C. politics, I have come to realize that 52% of the American people elected “that guy” to serve as President of the United States.  Terry is not Barack Obama, but Barack certainly seems to be Terry as “The first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”  The second part of the Terry/Obama story is that he doesn’t seem to do his job.

When something bad happens such as double digit unemployment, it is someone else’s fault or my favorite excuse “it would have been much worse without my actions.”  A very difficult proposition to disprove or prove…a very slick move that does not help the millions who are out of work.  That guy in the White House has now found a way to get others to do his work just like Terry.  Rather than do what Kennedy and Reagan did to boost the economy (lower tax rates), Obama is creating a task force.  He’ll load it with like-minded individuals and former politicians who, having NEVER run a business, will make recommendations that align with his beliefs.  His work will be done by others.

One of Obama’s big campaign issues was health care.  He put the burden on Pelosi and Reid to draft legislation while he put nothing on paper himself.  The wildly unpopular bills contain his policies, but not his fingerprints.  He still wants comprehensive legislation to sign into law, but does not want to own it so he calls a summit to try to draft bipartisan support through televised negotiations.  That did not seem to work out very well for him.

Fortunately the General Manager of the United States, the voting public, seems to be on to “that guy” in the White House.  According to Rasmussen Polls, his Presidential Approval Index is a sorry -21.  That is the good news.  The bad news is that this Terry is not going anywhere for another three years, but we can fire a great number of his enablers this November.

Let’s do just that!  Remember that WE SURROUND THEM!

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