On Leadership
Video | PostLeadership | FedCoach | | Books | About |
Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

Gen. John Batiste (Ret.)
Military/Corporate leader

Gen. John Batiste (Ret.)

A retired U.S. Army Major General, John Batiste is president of Klein Steel Services, Inc, based in Rochester, New York.

Fresh Political Blood

Business leaders should "hang on" as long as they are effective, at the discretion of a company's board of directors or shareholders. This is all about accountability and performance measurements, which tend to be cut and dry. It's a basic question of accountability, and there is nothing magic about this equation.

I would rather address the question, "How long should our elected officials--even effective ones--hang on?" As I read American history, our founding fathers intended our elected officials to selflessly serve their country or state, for one or two terms, at wages that would discourage one from making representation a career.

As originally envisioned, the task of representing one's constituents was not intended to be glamorous or easy, and certainly not line the pockets of those entrusted with this huge responsibility. Pay was intended to be adequate to cover expenses. The intent was to serve one or two terms in Congress, then return to one's profession. The idea was to elect people to serve in Washington, and in my case Albany, as our representatives, not leaders. Indeed, the majority of today's elected officials are not qualified to lead.

Over the decades, our system went very wrong. People are now drawn to service for all the wrong reasons, and as a consequence, special interest groups own the process and far too many of our elected officials. "We the people" have abrogated our basic rights and responsibilities. Unless and until we fix the process, to include term limits and campaign finance reform, our democracy will continue to head in the wrong direction with the wrong people in charge.

In my mind, this is the fundamental issue today, not whether Anne Mulcahy served too long or whether Xerox in my hometown counteracted this tendency.

By Gen. John Batiste (Ret.)

 |  May 27, 2009; 10:45 AM ET
Category:  Succession Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Don't Count Years | Next: When "Short-Termism" Makes Sense

Comments

Please report offensive comments below.



It is interesting to see that the fundemental issues remain the same. "We The People " are "You The People" Leadership may change the process but implementation is key and thats where it gets tough! Understanding what the process is and what the changes need to be is often led by "You The People". Id like to have my hand in the pot without getting slapped! Nice input. Ms. Blankenship

Posted by: okme | May 30, 2009 6:07 PM
Report Offensive Comment

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company