January 15; All Variable Costs Are Fixed
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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15 January

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,

but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:21

All Variable Costs Are Fixed

Heartfelt Plans

Who is the Boss? Who is, dare we say, the superior? If the boss is your superior — does that make you inferior?

And let’s not put the boss on the same Heavenly plain as The Creator. Let us merely appreciate the value of heirachry.

It seems a simple question but it is often lost on the entry-level staffer as he begins her career. He might have some control over her work-life. Maybe. But her manager sets her priorities. Management and Human Resources might wax eloquent on hiring you, the entry-level bureaucrat, for your Wisdom and Judgment.

They really believe this. It is, of course, a lie.

At an entry level the new employee should learn about company goals from the seasoned professionals high above him on the organization chart. He should absorb the strategic direction and the vision of the company coming from upper management.

Remember: the newbie’s objectives are set by his manager.

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Your Business Professor once served as a gubernatorial appointee serving at the pleasure of the Governor. Funding for a program came across my desk. It was an inherited on-going function that had become part of the architecture of local governments.

I viewed it as another silly legacy law that would cost the taxpayers of the Commonwealth less than a million dollars. Very little public benefit for a lot of government work. A variable cost that could be quietly cut.

But. But millions and millions from the Feds would follow this pittance. Free money.

As a new appointee, full of zeal for reform, my first heart-felt reaction, knowing the value of a tax dollar, was to recommend that the State politely decline the Federal matching funds. Then axe the program.

But the Governor had a more important goal: to advance his agenda without making enemies. The arc of my meat cleaver would have eliminated the continued employment of a group of well-connected employees with deep roots. People who had influential patrons–politicos and donors who could slow down the real work and distract from the Governor’s vision.

It was not a bargain the boss could make.

My suggestion was, well, inferior. And it was shelved and the leader’s will was done. And I learned that a “variable cost” in government is fixed and constant.

Proverbs 19:21 reminds us, similarly, there is only one strategic direction for an organization, Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Yes, the governor is not Lord but the accountability lesson is the same.

No matter what I thought was right it had to fit in with the end game of the state’s CEO. As is turns out the Governor was able to avoid my distractions and he achieved his major goals. The boss was right.

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