Archive for June, 2009

Pay Politicians Based on Performance!

Monday, June 29th, 2009

The Obama Administration has floated proposals that would allow the government to determine and cap pay for corporate executives. Congressmen like Barney Frank have even suggested that the government’s powers to intervene and establish pay scales should extend beyond companies receiving federal aid through TARP. All of this sudden interest in pay-for-performance from our elected officials got me thinking about how noble it would be if our government leaders led by example and agreed to be compensated along the same pay-for-performance philosophy. Here are a few suggested guidelines to start the dialogue. Senators and congressmen seem like a good place to begin:

  1. The salary of senators and congressmen would be adjusted downward by the same percentage of votes they fail to show up for in their appropriate chamber. Miss 20% of your votes and lose 20% of next year’s pay.
  2. Members of congress would no longer be allowed to quietly vote themselves automatic pay raises. Rather, they could propose increases and the voters in their own district or state would decide every four years during the general election whether or not to give their particular senator or congressman a raise. All senators and congressmen would come into office earning the same compensation. From there on, it would be up to those they represent to grant pay increases. In this manner it would be possible for a productive and honest senator from tiny Vermont to earn more than a style-without-substance loudmouth from populous New York or California.
  3. Candidates running for office would be required to record and submit all campaign promises made to their constituents. At the conclusion of their term, a percentage of promises they failed to keep would be determined. They would then be charged back a percentage of their salary that is equal to the percentage of failed promises. Amounts unpaid would be deducted from the representative’s pension.
  4. Each senator and congressman would be given an operating budget to cover staff, travel expenses, postage and the like. They would be required to post on the congressional website an annual report explaining the results and how close, percentage-wise, they came to living within their budget. Their pay for the next year would be adjusted according to the same percentage. For example, exceeding your budget by 10% would result in a 10% decrease in pay for the upcoming year.
  5. Elected representatives would sign a code of conduct agreeing to resign from office immediately if they: bounce a check, fail to pay any of their taxes, commit a DUI, felony or engage in sexual infidelity.

Obviously, the list of pay-for-performance critera could continue but this is a start. One downside of these guidelines would be that the welfare rolls might temporarily increase as slothful and ineffective public servants lost most of their income, but in the long run we would all benefit from having our government perform at the same level they demand of those who, through the sweat of their brow and burden of taxes, pay their salaries.

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Seven Truths about Titles!

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

How important is a title? I suppose it depends on the ego, personal security and emotional maturity of the person holding it. Occasionally, we all get the opportunity to reveal our level of development in these three arenas, just as California Senator Barbara Boxer did in a recent exchange with a witness before her committee. Here’s how it went down:

Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was testifying on the Louisiana coastal restoration process in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He began to answer one of Boxer’s questions with “ma’am” when Boxer immediately cut him off. 

“You know, do me a favor,” an irritated Boxer said. “Could you say ‘senator’ instead of ‘ma’am?'”

“Yes, ma’am,” Walsh interjected.

“It’s just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title, so I’d appreciate it, yes, thank you,” she said. 

“Yes, senator,” he responded. 

Most reasonable people would agree that if you want respect, you should show it. Thus, the senator may have helped her quest for respect had she first demonstrated it by referring to the witness in this dialogue as “general”, a title he no doubt also worked hard to earn; a title that was attained through decades of personal discipline and achievement rather than via a ballot box.

Going forward, consider the following thoughts and lessons to help combat any  personal pride that causes you to become obsessed with your own title or position:

Lesson #1. A title doesn’t make you a leader. It simply gives you the opportunity to become one. In fact,  all that a title does is buy you time: time to earn influence or to lose it, to get the job done or to blow it.

Lesson #2. Leadership is performance and not position. It is a choice that you make and not a place where you sit.

Lesson #3. It’s a foolish notion indeed to think that your competence has been increased by virtue of a change in title!

Lesson #4. As a leader, you don’t automatically have followers, you only have subordinates. How you act as a leader determines whether or not those subordinates ever turn into followers.

Lesson #5. If you inherit a title, you must understand that leadership is not genetic! The annals of history swell with examples of deposed monarchs and heirs that lost family fortunes that attest to this fact. In other words, if you were born on third base, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you hit the triple!

Lesson #6. Authority doesn’t make you a leader! A judge has authority; as does a teacher, a parent, a senator and a policeman. But it is character, competence, consistency and compassion that earn the influence necessary to ordain these titled authority figures as genuine leaders.

Lesson #7. If you meet Barbara Boxer do not call her Barbara, Babs, Barbie, ma’am,  Miss, or Mrs. Boxer. She has made very clear how she expects to be addressed. As a  tax-encumbered, resident of her deficit-laden state, I find it refreshing to know where at least one elected official stands on a specific issue.

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A Letter to the Terminated Chrysler Dealers

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

An Open Letter to the Terminated Chrysler Dealers:

I can only imagine the stress and uncertainty you’ve had to endure since the May 14th announcement by Chrysler that they were terminating your dealership. This sort of devastating news has no doubt tested your leadership, temperament and even your faith. I want to help those of you that have decided to fight it out by staying in business: either as a used car dealer, a service center or by taking on another franchise. It is your tenacious spirit that has made the retail automotive industry so great and that I find so inspiring in the midst of economic adversity.

My guess is that right now you could use some renewed energy, focus, vision and strategy to get your team moving in a new direction. To help you achieve these goals, I want to give you a free $1500.00 training package to help your business rebound. I assure you that this is a real deal. There are no strings attached, no “gotchas”, no fine print. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I shoot straight.

The over one million dollars in free training products and services I want to give the 789 terminated Chrysler dealers won’t change anyone’s fortunes over night, but I hope they will inspire, instruct, educate and elevate your staff to a new level of performance as you reinvent your business.

The free Rebound Training Package includes everything from: sales and management DVDs, newsletters, video-conferences and online access to hundreds of training programs for your entire sales and management teams. Again, there are no strings; games, no costs involved and no one is going to try and sell you or up sell you anything. Frankly, you’ve been jerked around enough.

When discussing this offer with my team at LearnToLead, the following points arose as matters that I should address:

  1. Who qualifies to receive the free $1500 Rebound Training Package? Answer: All of the 789 terminated Chrysler dealers that have chosen to remain in business in some manner.
  2. How do I get my $1500 free Rebound Training Package? Answer: Call us at 800-519-8224. We’ll check your name against the list of terminated dealers and would like to see a faxed copy of your termination letter. Once we’ve confirmed that you are who you say you are, we’ll set you up with the package right away. When you call, please ask for Rhonda or Russell as I’ve designated them as our “Rebound Training Package” service assistants. If you have questions about any of this, email me directly at
  3. How about if we are part of a larger dealership group that closed the Chrysler dealership but still operates other dealerships? Answer: You qualify. I think it is safe to assume that you’ve already taken a financial beating throughout this process and could use a break. Let our Rebound Training Package help focus the rest of your team on selling more so that you can recoup your losses.
  4. What provisions have we made for the terminated GM dealers? Answer: The GM dealers are still appealing the manufacturer’s decision and won’t have to close their stores until late 2010. When the dust settles and their situation becomes clearer, we will stand with them as well. The Chrysler dealerships have already been closed and immediate attention should be given to helping the leaders of these enterprises rebuild their businesses.

We would like to clear up the internal accounting issues involved with this giveaway, so please claim your Rebound Training Package by September 1, 2009.

For those of you who are  not familiar with me or LearnToLead, you can find out about us at We hope to hear from you soon. It is a pleasure and a privilege for us to help you recover, refocus and regain your momentum.

Dave Anderson
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