Sunday, February 10, 2008

Government Policy and Leadership

Hello again. It is becoming a regular thing for me to apologize but I must do so again. I thought I was out of the woods with this whole lupus flare thing, but that was not true. I am feeling better physically. However, I am still struggling with concentration, focus, and energy. I find myself losing hours at a time, both at work and at home. This has definitely taught me something about leadership.

The book Good To Great by Jim Collins is speaks the truth, when it talks about having the right people on the bus. My staff has been great throughout this whole process. So have my peers. I believe that if I didn't have them, I wouldn't have been able to stay on top of all of my commitments. I am lucky to have them.

Now, on to the topic of the day - Government Policies and Leadership. The one government policy that has most effected by daily work-life is Sarbanes-Oxley. In many ways, this law drove leaders to take a step back in the area of empowerment. However, after 5 years now, we are starting to get the hang of it. We now recognize that control doesn't necessarily mean that you can't empower. It just means that you have to have the controls in place that will, as best as possible, eliminate the abuse of that empowerment. There are always going to be things that we are going to shake our heads at and question why its necessary. But, those are "Just Do It" kind of things.

Sarbanes-Oxley affects me directly. Other government policies do so indirectly and have for years. We would be foolish to think that ethics ,human resources, and information technology policies are not affected by the governments policies. Companies are not only concerned about sharing proprietary information outside of the company but they also want to ensure that its network is not being used for what the government might deem shady. Companies recognize that the information may be obtained by the government because of the Patriot Act. Government Policies about protected groups drive human resources policies as much as recognized benefits of diversity. And the list could go on and on.

Whether we want to admit it or not, government policy affects us each and everyday. It is something that we have to accept. And it is part of the leader's job to ensure that these policies are recognized and followed.

I'm going to one caveat to that statement. In the spirit of Martin Luther King, a true leader should also recognize that, in some cases, policy should be changed. Therefore, if the leader truly feels that any policy needs to be changed, they should work to make that happen.