Sunday, April 20, 2014

Image Obessed Leaders Distort: The Emanuel Effect

Rahm Emanuel cited three priorities when he was sworn in as Chicago Mayor.

In shaping that future, our children, and their schools, must come first.  Second, we must make our streets safer. Third, we must put the city of Chicago’s financial house in order, because we cannot do any of these things if we squander the resources they require. 

Ironically, Chicago is the place where Rahm's personal financial house expanded greatly in terms of resources.  As an investment banker Emanuel made $18.5 million in two and a half years.  His political influence grew as a member of Congress and President Obama's Chief of Staff.

In his Mayoral swear in speech Emanuel said:

As some have noted, including my wife, I am not a patient man. 

Underlings know what to bring and what not to bring such men.  Their demands must be met, ethically or unethically.

Which brings us back to Chicago crime rates.

Reporters detailed a number of incidents in which crimes were reclassified in order to fit the narrative that crime overall was falling in the city.  One reporter said. “You would hear Superintendent McCarthy and Mayor Emanuel talk about these massive crime drops but people in the neighborhoods didn’t see this and the cops in those areas didn’t see it.”

To please those in command calculations are altered.   Questions about these changes become lost in a bureaucratic maze.  Everything in the present moment must fit the narrative that Mayor Rahm Emanuel's rule is supremely successful.  It's the platform for Rahm to advance to the next stage.  The charge for underlings is to optimize Mayor Emanuel's image.  Job preservation requires this be done at all costs.

Fear is back in force.  It's a primary motivator for politicians and PEU's, second only to greed. Managers leveraging greed and fear induce massive distortions over time.  Most end badly.  Even so, it's never their fault.

Update 4-23-14:  The disease has infected the Census Bureau where data is "changed at the whim of supervisors who are more concerned about making quotas."  Here's the irony:  Quality guru W. Edwards Deming honed his management theory, not only in post-war Japan, but at the U.S. Census Bureau.  I wish he could visit us from the grave.  As he said many times, "Fear causes wrong figures."  With wrong figures who can manage?