The Debt Ceiling and the Murdochs: Lessons Learned for CEOs
The House of Representatives is flirting with disaster on a previously inconceivable scale. Because, unlike the Crash of 2008 that led to the Great Recession - from which neither the US nor the global economy has yet recovered - this disaster is occurring by choice.
For whatever reasons - no matter on which side of the political spectrum you sit - Congress is putting the "full faith and credit" of the United States on the line, evidently thinking that nothing really terrible will happen.
They're wrong. And the way you know they're wrong is by looking at what Wall Street is doing to offset the damages of the debt ceiling default - in advance. Whether betting for or against the Government, the money guys are figuring out how to protect as well as profit from the potential economic crash.
Now, take the politics out of it and you have a lesson that every CEO should learn and apply - now - before making any further decision about anything.
The lesson? Crises are predictable. They occur because of a set of decisions made - one after the other - which either willfully ignore or actively promote a particular direction for the organization.
Look at the Murdoch/NewsCorp crisis. It didn't take long at all for what was supposed to be contained within one newspaper (News of the World) in one country (United Kingdom) to flare out of control - adversely impacting a major acquisition (BSkyB) and moving onto two other continents and their respective judicial and criminal investigatory agencies (the United States and Australia).
All because, within the confines of that company, the rules promoted by the company's leaders were that there were no rules - at least none from the outside which would be respected.
That's why the NewsCorp crisis was predictable. The Guardian newspaper wasn't (and isn't) letting the story go and, eventually, as has now occurred, all the players - including the Metropolitan Police and the Prime Minister - have been implicated.
It never had to happen. Scotland Yard's management didn't have to hire or socialize with NewsCorp's editorial staff. Neither did the UK Government's leaders - in both major parties.
What is going on now in Congress, on Wall Street and in the UK is a lesson every CEO should learn.
Look closely and objectively at the decisions you're making, promoting or accepting within your enterprise. Because what goes around really does come around - for the good and the bad of it.