Politics and campaigns create a world of unreality where normally very sound judgement becomes insanity. Imagine as outlined below if America was a company you held stock in, and you had the opportunity to put in a new CEO….
1. You have a huge investment– really your life savings and your children’s financial future savings– in a large, complex technology manufacturing company. Let’s call it “Company X”.
2. Before the open of the market one morning, you go to Marketwatch.com and read the headline, “Company X names new President and CEO, Sam Smith”.
3. Made anxious by the headline, knowing your entire future is invested in this company, you quickly read through to find Sam Smith’s resume.
4. When you read it, your heart stops. As it turns out, Sam does not have a manufacturing background. You keep reading. Sam does not have a technology industry background either. Your heartburn stirs, but you still have hope. Next, you learn Sam has never managed a large, complex organization.
5. Can it get worse? You read further and see, not only has Sam never managed a large and complex organization, he has never managed an organization at all!
6. You turn on CNBC, and you see that Sam is a good looking, articulate guy, and he expresses his vision for the company and it sounds good. Sure he’s talking as if the company is completely dysfunctional and hasn’t made a dime when in actuality it is the most successful company in the industry and has returned more to shareholders than any other company on the planet. But Sam is convinced it needs to be “fundamentally transformed”. And, for some reason, so do you, and you think Sam is just the man for the job.
7. 1.5 years into his CEO tenure, he announces a “Summer of Growth” for Company X. That growth never materializes, and in fact the company stagnates and falters.
8. 4 years in, the Board is meeting to determine Sam’s fate. It seems shareholders are up in arms about his performance and the company’s results under Sam’s tutelage. You, as a majority shareholder, have a key vote to cast. You vote to keep Sam in.
9. 5 years in, the company is in bedlam. They had $6 billion in debt when Sam came on board, and now they have $17 billion in debt. They had 25 thousand marginal employees adding nothing to the company, now they have 49 thousand employees adding nothing to the company.
10. Executives are fighting all over the place. 2 groups who traditionally challenged each other but found ways to do the right thing for the company in the past are now at odds. They won’t speak to each other. They hurl insults at each other. Manufacturing slows to a crawl, and nothing is getting done. Sam chooses one group of executives to side with, and he publicly rips the motivation, morals, and character of the other group of executives. He won’t even speak to them, only “about” them, in public forums and on television. Then there is a strike that lasts 2 weeks, crippling the company and damaging the brand and any goodwill that may have been left.
11. You decide, in spite of all this, to continue to support Sam. It’s not his fault, you say. His performance has nothing to do with the fact that Sam never managed anything previously, you rationalize.
12. You cling to hope. Your usual ability to be intelligent, logical, insightful, and right, is completely impaired. All the obvious signs around you tell you otherwise, but for some unknown reason, you still believe in and defend Sam.
The stock, once at 200 is now at 20. And unfortunately, you cannot sell your stock. You know you have to hang on, but you are losing your ability to have the audacity to hope.