Thursday, January 22, 2009


There are situations where nothing one does has an impact and only time can resolve the issue. That is the case here. California has been sinking for years into budget shortfalls combined with an inability to do anything about them because each political faction blamed the other. Now the state is on the edge of collapse, and the governor is calling for action. There is no guarantee he will get it.

These kinds of situations are interesting to study, especially if they eventually resolve themselves. What dynamics caused gridlock in the first place, and what finally forced the issue? What can statemates tell communicators about their own work? California could be looked upon as unique, but it isn't. Similar standoffs have occured elsewhere, notably Japan during the 1990s when there was no political will to resolve the banking crisis that had overwhelmed the country. One can argue that American auto companies have been unable to change their embedded culture until reaching the edge of failure where they are now. So too, large pharmaceutical firms, which today are reeling. In each case, there are a different set of circumstances but underlying them all is an inability to take the right action. Leadership either could not see a way out, or there wasn't one.


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