Paralysis by analysis as Obama is stuck “without a strategy” and behind the times

If I rate my expectations of Barack Obama when he was first elected at 90, he has now sunk to a negative rating because the world is a more dangerous place today than it was when his high rhetoric captured my imagination.

Now in situation after situation he appears to be caught in the trap of “paralysis by analysis”. With regard to the quality of managers I wrote:

The Proper Exercise of Power

At one extreme in the exercise of power is paralysis of action. Such paralysis occurs when the manager in spite of having power and in spite of having made the appropriate analyses finds he is unable to make the final judgement and to make the required choices. To take no action is always a valid option but needs to be a conscious decision, in which case it is not paralysis. At the other extreme we have the manager who rushes to judgement. This can result in a surfeit of actions where all options are addressed simultaneously in the hope that some of the actions will be beneficial. In between these extremes lies the proper exercise of power, wholly dependent upon the manager’s judgements and the quality of his judgements.

Obama, it seems by his own admissions is suffering from “paralysis by analysis”. He certainly cannot be accused of rushing to judgement. (In fact he cannot be accused of rushing to anywhere except perhaps the golf course). He was talking about ISIS in this report, but it could apply to almost every domestic or international issue he is faced with.

The Hill:

  1. “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama said.
  2. Obama said “folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are.”
  3. “We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans, that we’re developing them. At that point, I will consult with Congress and make sure that their voices are heard,” Obama said.

Edmund Burke: “Do the thing and you will have the power. But they that do not the thing – had not the power”.

He is still talking about making sure that they are making plans!

Up s**t creek, behind the times, planning to plan, without a strategy and without a paddle. 

It has nothing to do with his intelligence but it is about his courage to take actions. He makes a poor manager. And it is not exactly the stuff of leadership. He does not the thing.

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