So I thought this was very telling today about the difference between the public and private sectors…
I was teaching a class and gave the students a challenging scenario and problem and asked how they would solve it.
The class was a mix of leaders and managers from the public and private sectors — this time weighted mostly on the commercial side.
Typically, the students from the government usually provide answers in terms of lengthy analysis processes, negotiations, vetting and getting buy-in and approvals through many layers of bureaucracy and red tape, as well as getting people to understand the what’s in it for me (WIIFM) value proposition.
However, this time, one the students from the private sector said bluntly, the following:
We can either do it the easy way or the hard way!
So I asked, “What do you mean the easy and hard ways?”
And he answered:
The easy way is that we can try at first to appeal to people, but if that doesn’t work then the hard way is we just do what needs get done.
Again with great interest and curiosity, I inquire, “And how do you that?”
This time someone else answers, and says:
We do “rip and replace” — we pull up the truck in the middle of the night and we rip out the things we don’t like and replace it with what we do, period.
Then I ask innocently again, “So what happens the next morning?”
And the 2nd person answers again, and says:
Who cares, the job is done!
This reminded me a little of the old images of the mob gangster pulling up in the shadows of the night to someone’s door that wasn’t cooperating and applying the baseball bat to the knees!
Yes, it’s a very different and extreme way of getting what you want and when you want it, done.
Quite a BIG difference between the private and public sector approach to getting thing done!
One one hand, we have the speed and execution of the marketplace versus the more lengthly thoughtfulness and inherent compromises of government and politics.
What’s it gonna be — some bureaucracy, seemingly endless red tape, and horse-trading or the good ol’ baseball bat to the knees? ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)