Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How To Build A Building

Let's pretend that you are the CEO of a middle sized corporation. The Board of Directors has just voted to build a new and badly needed world headquarters which they expect to move into in four years. As they file out of the boardroom, they shake your hand and wish you good luck with your new construction project. OK, you've got the ball where do you run with it.

If it were me, I would call an immediate meeting with the VP in charge of facilities, the CFO, and the assistant VP that is going to be the corporate project supervisor. I would task the CFO to come up with a budget. I would task the facilities VP to look into what we would need in a new building to accommodate the people and services we would need for the next twenty years. I would task the asst. VP to find a possible site and to look into architects. Weekly meetings to keep the project moving.

In a week I would expect my group of four to be interviewing architects. Within three weeks, I would expect to have architectural sketches and proposed budgets with the intent of selecting an architect within the first month. That assistant VP that is heading up the project would have no other responsibility than the project and he would have the authority to call in whatever expertise he needed either from inside the company or outside. The group of four would meet weekly. 

You see that is how things are done in a well run business. Everything has a schedule. There is one central point of responsibility. From that central point information flows both upward and down to those involved on a daily basis. From concept to plans to execution of those plans to a finished building. It is hard and painstaking work. If it is done right everyone bears their responsibility. Shirk your responsibility, do a poor job, cut corners, there is no place to hide.

I have been a minor player in operations such as this. By the time the job was done I was exhausted. I am not in the least embarrassed to admit it. In my mind I cannot help but compare my experience against what I am seeing of the way Obamacare was handled. No one seem terribly invested. No one seems terribly stressed. No one seems terribly concerned.

It seems everybody was in charge but no one was directing traffic. No one seemed to be asking the right questions. They were just slapping a bunch of parts and pieces together without integration. And in the final analysis, while every one thought they were in charge, no one thought they had responsibility. But worst of all no information was being sent up to the man in charge, the President of the United States and he didn't seem to care.

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