Leadership 101

July 1, 2018

Endless effort and spin has gone into trying to explain why Hillary Clinton lost (without ever considering that her own history, personality and views had anything to do with it).  As I tried to explain long before the election in my book, “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy,” the elites of politics, academia and the media had sealed themselves into such an airtight echo chamber, they had no idea what the mysterious natives of that vast “flyover country” that they looked down on, literally and figuratively, were thinking. 


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What they were thinking was that they were fed up to the gills with a doumikble standard that gave the politically-connected a pass for things that would land them under the jail.  There were sick of being ignored and insulted for voicing legitimate complaints about how their lives were being adversely affected by leftist policies, disregard for the Constitution and selective enforcement of laws. 

 

And just on a visceral level, they were tired of the grating combination of ignorance and arrogance – that condescending attitude of elitists who seemed to believe they were the smartest people in the room even though the results of their ideas in reality showed that they didn’t have the slightest idea what they were doing.  They thought they knew how to run the entire planet, but they had fewer practical skills than the average apprentice plumber.



 

During the Obama years, a lot of young savants with massive egos sailed triumphantly into Washington only to go slinking back to academia after seeing their precious theories shatter on the rocks of reality.  So what can all those Ivy League hothouse flowers learn about problem-solving from a lowly former Arkansas governor and business owner? 

 

Well, the most important tip I could offer is this:  very big problems are usually not solved with very big solutions.  A 2000-page bill only creates a whole new set of problems.  If you want to turn a problem into a catastrophe, the recipe is simple:  just add lots and lots of federal bureaucrats. 

 

When you have a big problem, Step #1 is to break it down into little problems.  Then put someone in charge of each problem who actually knows how to solve it.  It takes an experienced, executive decision-maker just to decide which decisions to make and which ones can be left to someone else. 

 

Next comes the hardest part: prioritizing.  We’ve all seen executives who are constantly bustling and shouting.  They look busy – some people are even impressed by their constant bustling -- but they never really get anything done.  That’s because they’re trying to do everything at once, instead of focusing on issues in their order of importance. 


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I’ll let you in another secret: the importance of an issue is not determined by how important the people closest to it think it is.  You might have to disappoint people by telling them their pet issue isn’t your top priority.  But sorry, that’s part of the job. 

 

I once had a professor of religion who said one of the wisest things I ever heard about management:  “Don’t use all your water to put out too small a fire.”  If you use up all your resources and credibility overreacting to a small crisis, then what do you do when a big crisis comes along and your fire extinguisher is empty?  (We’re seeing this a lot in the media these days, when every little controversy becomes a hair-on-fire CRISIS, then gets dropped the second the next one comes along.  All this has accomplished is to erode their own credibility.)

 

Another essential skill is choosing the right employees.  If you have important jobs to fill, find people who’ve mastered every aspect of their current job and are happy there, but ready to move up.  Someone who wants a promotion because he’s not comfortable where he is won’t be any more comfortable higher up. 


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You also don’t need an idealistic dreamer who leaps in from academia to reinvent the wheel.   Advanced degrees are admirable, but often, real world experience is much more valuable.  When you need to put out a fire, you call a firefighter, not a Ph.D. in combustion theory.  And as we’ve also learned, you don’t put people in charge who let partisan zeal prejudice the way they do their jobs or deal with the public. 

 

That’s what you should learn on day one of “Leadership 101.”  So how come so many of our leaders still haven’t learned it?

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Comments 1-25 of 30

  • Brenda Fitzpatrick

    08/10/2018 03:30 PM

    I subscribed to the evening edition several weeks ago. I received a thank you for subscribing but I have not received any editions yet. It has been weeks. I miss your info on the latest events in Washington. I have very few that I have trust to tell the truth.

  • Richard Clayton Trotter

    07/03/2018 03:25 AM

    I am in academia (I have not always been) and I teach something’s that are practical business law and tax. But your assessment of the “delete” could not be more on point. I’m a Trial lawyer. And I’ve known some law professors who couldn’t litigate their way out of a paper bag. Academic degrees are enormously important, but they are just the start. It’s like the difference between a young lawyer right out of law school, and the seasoned Litigator in a firm for 20 years - Who would you want representing you. Just keep it up Mike we are winning all the whining of the Media is really just proof of how effective we are being

  • Judi Duffy

    07/02/2018 05:08 PM

    "doumikble" new word, cannot find it???

  • Gayle Johnson

    07/02/2018 04:29 PM

    Gov. Huckabee,
    As usual, you hit the nail on the head. I especially liked the second to last paragraph where you said: "You also don’t need an idealistic dreamer who leaps in from academia to reinvent the wheel. Advanced degrees are admirable, but often, real world experience is much more valuable. When you need to put out a fire, you call a firefighter, not a Ph.D. in combustion theory." My younger brother did not have a college degree (although he did attend a vocational school), instead he had a job as a machinist working on sheet metal, with more than 20+ years experience. Along comes a new supervisor fresh out of academia and he didn't like the fact that my brother was not "going by the book". My brother had found a faster, more productive, efficient, and cost effective way of doing the task at hand and produced QUALITY sheet metal, but the supervisor wanted him to do it "his" way (by the book) so my brother complied. Later, after churning out thousands and thousands of yards of sheet metal the supervisor came back and told my brother to go back to the way my brother had been doing it because doing it by the book produced inferior sheet metal that failed when made into product.

  • Donna Marie King

    07/02/2018 04:04 PM

    Hello Huck, I enjoy reading your 'stories'. Reading Leadership 101 is good, but I want to add what I see developing. These in the 'swamp' don't really want to 'make America great again'. They want to live their lives rich, immoral and to answer to no one. They want to be in control. They want everyone else to pay for their, so called leadership. This is nonething less than the One World ideology of which the Bible speaks . Having gotten by with their double standard for so many decades, they thought they had it in the bag. However, God says he decides when that happens. It isn't time yet. However right now the thing I will add is the greatest thing they are trying to hide is what is happening to the children in the world that fall prey to human trafficing. These loose borders give free passage to bring these young ones into the hands of satanic ritual abuse and pedphfiles, even to those in the highest levels of government. When this horrid news surfaces, anyone with a heart will be crying. These children need to be delivered and I pray soon. They call to impeach Trump as it is the only thing that might keep this from surfacing. I believe it will surface and when it does, we need to be prepared to help those who have suffered so severly under these horrible acts.

  • Gerald Baumann

    07/02/2018 08:43 AM

    Mr. Huckabee,
    I am certain that the President of the USA could find a position where you could your great skills and experience to the Country's benefit. He will not ask me, but I would recommend you for any position.
    God continue to bless you and I thank you for all that you have done and are doing to make our country a better place to live.
    Jerry

  • dawn

    07/02/2018 07:22 AM

    You got me with the word 'doumikble'. Can't find it anywhere. I do love words, so, HELP!

  • James E Clark

    07/02/2018 06:14 AM

    Too many of our elected and uncollected officials have never held a private sector job. They have spent their whole adult lives inside the cocoon of government employment protectionism. We need term limits on both elected officials and bureaucrats. Additionally we need accountability structure to prevent the abuse of power.

  • Bruce Probert

    07/02/2018 02:17 AM

    Mike let me tweak your leadership problem solving. Leadership is based on trust and integrity no one follows someone they don't trust if they have a choice. Good leaders set the example, bull on the other hand always floats to the surface and always stinks. Hillary called us Deplorable insulted our intelligence for years, lied to us when she didn't have to. She got caught using a private Email in my opinion to hide her corrupt activities. What the investigators wanted was to see how Benghazi came to be virtually undefended. What did she do to be on top of that situation. The answer to me was completely inadequate that she trusted the professionals to take care of it. Mike I'm an old Marine and to be blunt if she worked for me she'd have been fired. Hillary went looking for a scapegoat and jumped on the video story and pursued the film maker in spite of the fact he had the 1rst Amendment right to make as repulsive film as he desired. It was Hillary's responsibility to oversee the security for the Embassys world wide. That she wasn't qualified doesn't relieve her of the requirement. Her feckless response was only exceeded by that of her boss who needed his beauty sleep to make a fundraiser the next day in Las Vegas. I'm not going to rehash the lack of response it wasn't acceptable. From Hillary's conflicts of interests working for the Rose Law Firm while they had contracts with the State of Arkansas and Bill was governor and her 98K bribe from the cattle futures scheme to her attacks on the bimbo eruptions to being named after Sir Edmund and the sniper fire story. We know for a fact that Hillary violated the espionage act numerous times. That she destroyed records under subpoena, allowed uncleared personnel, her lawyers, to access classified information,stored classified material in an unapproved storage her lawyers office, and allowed classified material to transmitted to unauthorized recipients including Anthony Weiner's laptop. These are all felonies as is Barack Obama's failure to act on the knowledge that Hillary was breaking the law because as one of 13 regular correspondents his "I only heard about it when I heard it on the news" isn't credible. On the second issue, Problem solving, no problem has ever been solved without defining the problem. you can't assemble a team until you know what you are trying to fix. A good example of democratic problem solving is Obama Care or the Affordable Care act. They first thing they did was add mandated care to medical plans without understanding it's paid up front. Then they created a bigger pot of money through the mandatory coverage provision to help cover the pre-existing conditions but underestimated the ballooning costs. They added millions of covered individuals without adding providers. We have seen costs rise out of sight there has been nothing done to constrain costs everyone wants to blame everyone else when there's plenty to go around. There has been no tort reform we haven't even bothered to limit the charges that Hospitals get away with daily like the $230/hr IV charge because it's called infusion therapy or hydration therapy or when they administer a couple dollars worth of drugs at a charge of $360. or $260 for blood type when it's an $8 test that takes 5 minutes. The IRS won't be bothered to follow up to look into the non profit billing these charges without a care in the world. I could fix Healthcare but there would be a lot of people that wouldn't be very happy.

  • William Schlumpf

    07/02/2018 12:40 AM

    Well said and appreciated! Thanks.

  • Earl Helder

    07/02/2018 12:12 AM

    They are not Leaders; they are just great little finders of things to do that mean absolutely nothing to the business, or to MISSION ACCOMPLISHMENT! They don't understand the first axiom of Leadership; i.e., Responsibility cannot be delegated, only authority can be delegated. They are poor delegaters and usually are micro-managers afraid to let the doers do their jobs so they saddle the doers down with busy-work. Also, they fail to accept that true leadership is not assigned but rather is earned and is given at the consent of those being led.

    Keep up the good work, Mike. You've got it right.

  • Sandra Gray

    07/01/2018 10:53 PM

    Gov H - you are absolutely correct about big problems - - - I can't tell you how many times my hubby & I have been overwhelmed at our office - but we end up taking a deep breath and doing a step at a time. Next thing you know, it's a lot smaller problem that is easily handled. Love you and your family - ya'll keep your chins up!!

  • Paulette Taylor

    07/01/2018 07:50 PM

    Governor Huckabee: Thank you for your succinct explanations that even the liberals can understand. You have an easy temperment and so much common sense. Thank you for your updates and keep up the good work.

  • Dan Klein

    07/01/2018 07:41 PM

    Hillary lost for several different reasons. one reason was her pomposity; another was her ethics; another was her lying; another was her extreme love of money and power; etc. What she and her minions will never understand is that Almighty God made the decision that the next President would be Donald Trump. This decision was presented in a visit by the Holy Spirit to a retired Florida firefighter in 2011. She was denied because of the movement that she and Bill promoted to move the American public away from God. Then along came our Muslim "leader" who further took our people away from the presence of the Lord.
    She will never admit it because she "has read the Bible and even taught Sunday school"! Neither she or Bill are Christians and of course neither is Obama.
    The resignation and retirement of Justice Kennedy is not the last shoe to drop at the Supreme Court. Hang onto you hat as it is going to get wild for the Left.

  • Harold Levi

    07/01/2018 07:38 PM

    Why is Trump president? Simple answer, God wanted him president. All of the air-head pundits said he could never win the state Caucasus, but he did. The same slack-eyed pundits said he could never win the Republican nomination, but he did. And, finally, there was no way he could win the presidency from the bimbo he was running against, but he did. She conceded abound 3:30 am. Just think, Al Gore would still be calling for recounts. God wanted Donald J. Trump to be president - North America is the last Promised Land and he is trying to help us save it from the Anti-America Communists, Nazis, Socialists, Progressives.

  • Joseph Behrendt

    07/01/2018 05:47 PM

    This is so true. This is the number one problem in Government today . There are no qualified people there. They are all politicians with no common cense or in most cases no actual work experience. The young people today because of their liberal schooling will also have the same deficit but even on a higher plane of stupidity. That isn't my opinion it is my observation of man on the street interviews and you tube videos. These college kids don't know even the answers to even the easiest of questions about this Country or the Constitution and Bill of Rights. How can they run anything.

  • Donna Kleister

    07/01/2018 05:28 PM

    So how come so many of our leaders still haven’t learned it? Perhaps is has to do with motive or intentionality behind seeking political offices. The verbal expression of serving God and Country sounds good but personal gain (monetary, notoriety, power, prestige etc) is what comes to the surface. I guess "serving God" should be omitted since God has be thrown from the public square these days- but perhaps there is the ultimate concern. The founding fathers recognized the need for an Authority to serve as a moral compass so this nation would be blessed.
    Denying God as the moral authority leaves humankind to be their own god and we can see how well that has worked out. Hollywood products are vulgar / deceptive/ and down right evil. We can no longer have civil discourse to reach common ground. The duly elected president of this country is being maligned, denigrated and obstructed against. The DNC/ DSA/progressives are not concerned about John or Jane Q. Public and totally tone deaf to the message sent - that we have had enough of the corruption and abusiveness of those in office. Utopia doesn't exist on earth and never will because humankind is a fallen species, failing to recognize that only our Creator God can bring healing mind, body , spirit and then socially in the community. "...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14.

    “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” John 3:16-21

    I am sure there will be people out there clamoring about " shoving religion down someone's throat". But now in my 6th decade of life I find that the only way is God's way. Don't mock it until one wholeheartedly gives the triune God priority in life. I do have concerns over the vacuum of appropriate moral leadership in our country, however faith in God sees me through this all. Our nation needs to stop twisting God's word and start seeking and living God's Word according to God will / plan for life. just look at the chaos that is going on because the corrupt elite are being found out on a daily basis and and they continue to lie, deceive and and live in their demented world of abusive power as though they were "teflon Dons". Tis country needs to heal, the guilty leadership need to receive the appropriate legal consequences of their misdeeds which is truly treasonous. Try on repentance and ask forgiveness, accept the consequences. One may find a tremendous load lifted of their shoulders.

  • Jack Willis

    07/01/2018 05:16 PM

    Love how Leftists cannibalize selves over simple issues like Title XI.
    Awesome
    Need more division among Leftists, ensure they lose midterms.
    Bet MS 13 wont vote??

  • Ellen Klapperich

    07/01/2018 05:07 PM

    I'm downright disgusted by what I see and hear coming from those who serve in our government. How is it that they are allowed to behave in such a manner? Decorum Please!

  • Richard Moulton

    07/01/2018 05:02 PM

    That’s easy. You’re not teachable when you think you know everything already.

  • sukey smith

    07/01/2018 05:02 PM

    Mike -- I love your columns! I have a question. I'm in TN and I was all set to vote for Diane Black and now I'm confused. i just saw a commercial where you endorse Randy Boyd.....Now, I don't know what to do. Is there something you could impart to me? I have deep respect for you -- and your humor! Thanks, sukey

  • Dave

    07/01/2018 04:51 PM

    Huckabee, once again boils leftists propaganda in to a decipherable message suitable for deplorable like myself. No fake news, just a palatable explication, of what the globalizing bunnies are up to. The latest by far is beyond belief, closing a effective law enforcement agency because the elitist think it’s a good idea. I urge everyone to get out and vote in NOV, or elitist silliness may actually win a victory.

  • Phyllis Murrell

    07/01/2018 04:39 PM

    Thanks for you insight--right on as always!

  • Dot Michael

    07/01/2018 04:16 PM

    As always... Insightful and cogent. HOWEVER... never saw this before: " doumikble standard". Huh? Oops. :-) :-) I couldn't help myself...

  • Linda LaGruth

    07/01/2018 04:14 PM

    Love your common sense! There are actually people that are starting to listen to us middle class, God Loving, God fearing patriots. Pray that our reprieve turns our country back to God. Ezra 9:8
    Give our love to Sarah??