The Participation Blog

Government Doesn’t Operate Like a Business

Because it isn’t a business, it serves a different purpose and the goals just aren’t the same. Government can learn a lot from good companies and C-suite managers, but government isn’t a capitalistic enterprise and it shouldn’t be. Sometimes corporate arrogance oversteps wisdom when executives make the jump to the public side of life. It was a lesson I learned when I left the private sector for a government agency job 30 years ago. More business people seem to be running public entities these days and that culture clash can be tough on everyone. I learned, working both inside an agency, and later for a Fortune 50 corporation, that the public sector is always more publicly accountable, requires consensus to get things done, lives under a relentless microscope and as a result, moves painfully slow – and all for good reason.

And on the subject of arrogance, hubris is just about the worst trait you can bring to the party, particularly when trust is low and concern and public scrutiny are high. Consider a little humility.