Let’s pretend for a moment that the United States is our company, USA, Inc. We are deep in debt and we can barely make payments on our debt service. We have to continue to borrow more money against our collateral and we really do not see a way to pay back the principal any time soon. To make it worse, we are buying more from our suppliers than we are selling to our customers. And to top it off, we have internal unrest. Our CEO cannot get all divisions on the same page. The Senate division would rather do nothing than go along with him, and the CEO somehow lacks the power to gain compliance. The House division is filled with rebels who would rather break the company than fix it.
We the people- oops, I mean the Board of Directors, are sick and tired of it, but we are stuck with those we have brought into our company- at least for now. What should we do? What if the Board brought in a consulting firm to work on a strategic planning process? What might that look like? How different would USA Inc. operate if there was an overriding strategy at work?
What might the vision be? How about something simple like “establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence (sic), promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” We have liked that since 1787. It still seems pretty good. How are we doing with that vision?
What are the true critical success factors in achieving it?
- An equitable system of laws, both civil and criminal, that protect all equally and are enforced fairly.
- Security protecting us from those inside and outside of our country that want to destroy the liberties we value.
- General welfare- providing the means for all to have education, healthcare and safety in their daily lives and to be able to support their families and make a reasonable living.
- Protection of our individual rights.
How are we doing with them?
Then there are the resources we need to achieve those critical success factors. They include:
- Strong infrastructure to aid commerce and individual freedom of movement.
- Energy independence
- Strong and accessible educational system to support the jobs being created by business and government in pursuit of our Vision; and to remain competitive with other countries in global economics and global security.
- Strong credit to enable businesses to grow, flourish, hire more people and sustain themselves.
- Universal and reasonably priced healthcare
- Credible and effective governmental policies on defense, environment, etc.
- Our employees- are they all rowing in cadence and with the same effort?
It is pretty clear that if we as USA, Inc. could stay focused on our Vision, our CSFs (critical success factors) and the proper allocation of and development of our resources, our chances for success would improve. Why can’t we just do that? Let’s face it. If the USA was a business, it would have been shuttered, its assets auctioned off, its customers scattered and its competitors picking at the pieces. Do we really want to continue to operate that way? Can we be turned around? Are we willing to do the work required? These are some of the questions we ask in business.