The past provides many clues about what to expect in the future. The old cliché about history repeating itself really does hold true in many cases. Individual reputations and organizational history and make-up contribute to what an organization will achieve.
A professional team that is searching for a new coach does not waste time looking at those who have not been successful in the past. Corporations generally do the same when they are looking for a new director or chief executive officer. The one area that is difficult to determine is how the new leader will interface and connect with the current team or organizational psyche. One approach is for the new leader to adjust to the current psyche and another is for the leader to change the team or organizational psyche. I prefer the latter.
Think about it. Most new leaders are selected because the current one did not perform adequately, be it a team or an organization. There are exceptions, such as when a superb leader retires, but even then a new leader can make improvements because there is always room to be better.
When one studies war, it is fascinating to see how a defeated country spends its time working to improve while far too often the winners are content with what is. Following World War I and World War II we disarmed and paid a terrible price each time. After producing the greatest armada the world had ever seen in the Pacific and fielding six Marine divisions, we had to borrow LSTs from Japan to ferry troops to Korea while clearing out most posts and stations in the States to form a brigade of Marines for duty in Korea.
As we look at 2014, we see the same people in charge so can we really expect anything different? The IRS went after conservative groups trying to become nonprofit organizations and no one has been held accountable. This is the same IRS that will be hiring thousands of more federal agents and be responsible for enforcement of "Obamacare". The NSA has been spying on Americans and again no one has been held accountable. The attorney general has used his prerogative to determine which laws he will enforce and which ones he will ignore. He remains with the full confidence of the president. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid changed the rules of the Senate so that now a simple majority can pass a bill or approve a judge except for the U.S. Supreme Court. The filibuster is dead.
The economy continues to move at a snail's pace and any positive sign no mater how small is highlighted as great news. The same type of people are in charge of the economy and they believe that more government spending is always the answer. More and more regulations continue to be issued from the government that ties the hands of private industries.
As a result, the economy will continue to struggle. The primary desire of the private sector is consistency. Private companies need to know what to expect from the government so that they can plan accordingly. When they are unsure of what the government will do, they wait.
The foreign arena also remains volatile. Iraq is becoming a client state of Iran, as is Syria. North Korea continues to rattle its sabers. China is starting to make provocative naval moves in the Far East while we reduce our forces. Friends wonder if we can be relied upon while enemies become more provocative.
The overall picture both at home and overseas does not look promising, but that can change in a heartbeat with the proper leadership.
Donald Myers is a retired Marine Colonel and regular columnist for Hernando Today. He lives in Spring Hill and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.