Monday, 28 November 2011

US Government, Incorporated

US Gov, Inc.....is a rather interesting company.

In the beginning, they basically ran the military, the postal system, built some bridges and roads, and had a tax system based on imports and whiskey taxes.  Along the way, US Gov, Inc added up the responsibility of managing open property and adding more property to their inventory.  They also added a federal banking system to help manage the money that they had rolling in.

As more time passed, US Gov, Inc added this concept of having national property because of its scenic values.  Then they tossed in forested areas, which also became part of the job of US Gov, Inc.

At some point, US Gov, Inc added a commerce section....to manage the way that other companies did business.  They later added an education section, a department for agriculture, a national police section, an intelligence section, a housing loan section, national emergency section, an environmental section, etc, etc.  At some point, US Gov, Inc had a division for just about everything.  They had customers that even went beyond the intended borders of US Gov, Inc.

So to make this function work....US Gov, Inc....had to make a profit.  Some sections had the business to show profitability, and some didn't.  Problems began to develop.  US Gov, Inc.....wasn't making the money that it used to make.  Adding to the mess....there were promises made....that went beyond financial planning purposes, and when reality showed up.....things were pretty dismal.

Most companies would stand back at this point, and admit a failure within divisions.....trim down those divisions immediately or curtail some operations.  US Gov, Inc.....could not make such a move.

The CEO was not capable of grasping business operations and simply was the "talking dog" of the board.  The board itself?  It was made up of 535 members.    Each board member had a full staff and personal fund for rewarding themselves or their staff.  Their travel was unregulated, and some board members traveled off to Paris, Rio, or Bangkok....just to say they were conducting business....in the name of US Gov, Inc.

Underneath this layer.....were another layer of a board system with well over 15k junior board members who were dispersed across the nation.  They had gone to great extents to run their own Gov operations, and were in the same position.....spending more money than they had taken in.  In fact, they had pension programs of such size.....that they were unknowingly preparing for bankruptcy.

The answer to the sizable mess for all the board members?  Raise the various fees, and keep the operations level at the same size.  Not a single board member could focus on the concept of US Gov, Inc being too big....and they simply couldn't downsize or cut anything.

The comical side to this story?  If this company had been Starbucks....it wouldn't have taken more than thirty days for the board to make a decision....shut down 100 Starbucks fronts.....and admit they were over-sized and well beyond their profit margin.  Yes, Starbucks is smarter and more capable.....than US Gov, Inc.  And there....lies the problem.  The only way that customers can get the attention of the board....they will have to fire them.