Could you imagine a corporation in which the CEO and his design team are in a bitter contentious fight with the production team that doesn’t like the design, doesn’t like the color, doesn’t trust the whatever, and categorically refuses to build the product because they thought was unsafe?

closed signNot only that, but what if the CEO refused to negotiate with the production team – to listen to their safety concerns – and cuts off all communication?

I think if I were a shareholder in that company, I’d either fire them all and start over, or I’d have my broker on the phone in a matter of minutes telling him to sell as fast as he could.

Now, I have my own opinion about what I believe is best for this country as it relates to the government shutdown, raising the national debt limit, and Obamacare. But this post isn’t about what I believe. It has to do with my frustration about what I see happening.

First, the CEOs and business owners that I personally know understand that they could and would never survive if they allowed their businesses to operate the way Washington does. They know that failing to have a common vision, failing to compromise, and failing to listen to contrary opinions is exactly what could otherwise destroy a healthy and profitable business. Businesses don’t get stronger when the leaders and workers don’t talk… and listen. Businesses don’t grow when the workers go out on strike. The business and all the stakeholders only survive and thrive when people work together to find a common ground and communicate on behalf of those stakeholders.

The second thing that bugs me is that through all of this I believe the national media has failed us completely. We get emotionally charged sound bites from Congress and the President. We get the opinions of the newscasters and we are inundated with rhetoric from biased commentators. But we don’t get FACTS! We don’t see the DATA. Whatever the TRUTH, whatever the REALITY of what’s actually going on in Washington with the issues of the day, we don’t have a clue beyond what these gatekeepers of the media allow us to see. I suspect that even the so-called public opinion polls are biased in favor of the side that’s reporting them.

In the corporate world, shareholders get their quarterly and annual reports. The independent auditors and the SEC look over the business’ shoulder to make sure everything is “Kosher.” Sure, businesses sometimes find a way to “adjust” the data and control some bad news. But in the end we have at least some confidence and peace of mind that the people running those corporations have at heart the wellbeing of all the stakeholders.

Washington sometimes (or too often) fails to remember that they work for us. We are the stakeholders and the shareholders. We expect that there will be varying points of view. But we expect them to work together sanely to work it out because if, as in any business large or small, when the various departments within the organization fail to listen, fail to compromise, fail to communicate, fail to do additional research, fail to do what is right for ALL the stakeholders and shareholders, it DOOMS the very stakeholders and shareholders it purports to protect and work for.