Unrealistic Expecations

Sorry, still no pictures. My fault, not Norman’s. — AWO

by Norman Horowitz

Staff” — a group of persons, as employees, charged with carrying out the work of an establishment or executing some undertaking; a group of assistants to a manager, superintendent, or executive.

Operating” — used or engaged in performing operations.

Mrs. Goldfarb is examined by a new gynecologist. Following his exam, the doc asks her why, although she’s married, she’s still a virgin. Mrs. Goldfarb begins sobbing uncontrollably as she blurts out that Mr. Goldfarb is interested in sex but all he wants to do is “talk about it,” even though he has never participated in it.

Mr. Goldfarb is a “staff” person.

My corporate overseers were always “staff” people. The hallmark of a present-day staff executive is to schedule and attend meetings. (Of course, there’s more to it, but this will do for the moment.)  

As a rule, “staff” people are very bright and well-educated — and therefore perceive that they can intellectualize everything! As a rule, they are without a scintilla of “operating” experience.

All the people in all the companies who “got the job done” were “operating” people. These people know their businesses because they’ve actually done the work that they’re now supervising.

A lawyer president of a company I worked for — with not a scintilla of operating experience — once said to me in a budget meeting: “Norman, I don’t understand why you need to have any salespeople. If you produce good content, buyers will find you.” I became confused and ambivalent. Half of me wanted to answer him; the other half wanted to kill him.

There are those in corporate life who can swing between the two positions of “staff” and “operating,” but they’re few and far between.

Our President appears to be the quintessential “staff” executive who doesn’t have the “chops” to handle his opponents and the awesome, complicated, “operating” role of President.

From time to time, it’s required for him to raise his voice and “rip someone’s tongue out.” His Republican opposition doesn’t show him the respect that any President is entitled to. He therefore needs to speak with a louder voice and not treat them with such deference.

Respect the office while taking issues with policies.