Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is!

dollar-1443244_1920A recent story on NPR about Congress’ legislative action to try to manage the opioid epidemic caught my attention. Opioids kill more people than car crashes, and it seems that there are some good elements in the legislation (e.g., removing restrictions for doctors to certain therapeutic drugs), but Congress isn’t yet funding the efforts at a level to succeed.

I’m sure most Congress members would like to reduce this problem. I’m also sure they’re so used to putting lipstick on pigs, trying to look as though they’re large and in charge, that they don’t grok that much of this is window dressing at best and harmful at worst.

Business leaders must also be conscious of this. Knee-jerk reactions to real problems often have negative, unintended consequences that exceed their envisioned benefit. Like Congress, if organizations devise good measures but don’t fund them appropriately, they waste their effort and add a few more pages to the company operating manual or HR policy binder, causing cynicism and wonder at “how stupid they can be” on mahogany row.

There’s a time for speed and there’s a time to slow down the game and make sure you’re asking the right questions.

Organizations can develop many ills and can also have many opportunities in front of them. However, you only have so many arrows in your quiver and so many dollars in your bank account.

Congress is set up as one big dysfunctional committee, and it has a plausible excuse when it comes to making decisions (a damn lot better than dictatorships, however!). Companies — outside of those experimenting with the “everybody/nobody is in charge” movement — don’t have the same excuse.

Funding everything at the same level and allowing too many priorities is about failed or misguided leadership. Successful businesses aren’t fair in the sense that everything and everyone get the same voice and the same rewards regardless of merit. They require tough decisions backed with resources, even when made collaboratively. If you believe in something, fund it!

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