Thursday, April 17, 2008

Client Service And The Presidency

As the Pennsylvania primary draws near, have you ever thought about our next president from a client service perspective? Who are the president's real clients anyway? Let's assume, as the framers intended, that the president is there to serve us, making his/her clients the American people. In your mind, who will deliver the highest level of client service excellence? Who will listen, keep promises, and lead this nation in a manner that delivers on our country's collective expectations and aspirations - on the important matters and values with which we all share a common bond as Americans. Here's your chance to vote!


  1. Leo, I hope this informal poll reflects the national trend come November.

  2. Personally, i don't like any of them. One is an obvious liar. The other doesn't care about anyone but himself. As far as McCain, well everyone has their secrets.

  3. I received a comment on Linkedin that suggested I asked the wrong question because the president doesn't serve, but leads. From my perspective it's not an issue of serving instead of leading, but leading by serving. Any thoughts?

  4. On one level, an intriguing question...on another, fundamentally flawed. I would, to be sure, hope that a president would instill a "client service culture" throughout government -- making various departments more responsive, efficient, and effective. But the last thing I would want in a president would be for POLICY to be over-responsive to public will and whim...and that is how the question here was framed.

    Who is the president's "customer", after all? How do you measure and define "our country's collective expectations and aspirations"? Are we that monolithic that any one individual can truly respond to a common vision of what "important matters and values with we all share a common bond with all Americans"?

    For example, a "client-service-oriented" President would note that the American public overwhelmingly favored, in 2003, entering war with Iraq. Does that mean he should automatically respond to that public will in the name of client service?

    The Democratic congress (and both Democratic presidential candidates) have recently shown us whom they think the "client" is -- the labor unions who finance their they tried to vote in the unpopular (and ironically named) "Employee Choice Act" and are in the process of killing an important Free Trade deal with Colombia.

    Despite the recent sour mood towards Republicans, all polling data continues to show that we live in a center-right nation. To be regarded as truly "client-service-oriented" by the definition of this blog post, a new president would need to pursue center-right policies.

    Does anyone truly believe that either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would pursue pursue the center-right policies that would earn them a "client-service-oriented" label as president?

    Across the broad range of issues, John McCain's center-right voting record is closest to where majority of Americans are. And his history of seeking consensus, compromise, and middle-ground make him more likely to be regarded as a "client-service-oriented" president.

    Bottom line: I sincerely hope that a president would try to instill a culture of client service orientation throughout the bureaucracy of government. But when it comes to policy, I hope that a president would NOT constantly respond to the whims of public opinion, and would lead in a consistent, reliable way according to a philosophy that was clear to the electorate when he or she was elected.

  5. First, thanks for your thoughtful comment, it's the conversation that makes blogs worthwhile. That said, let me borrow from a response I made privately to a member of Linkedin. "Seems there are two distinct issues here. First, you doubt the "servants heart" of the candidates. That's hard to dispute. I hold hope that it's somewhere in there for at least one of them. Second, I think you bring up the point that makes client service so fascinating because like beauty, it tends to be in the eye of the beholder. Your idea of what the president should do to serve/lead the American people may differ from mine, and we will differ from millions of others. There's no prescription that works for every client - public or private sector."

    We all bring our perspectives to the table when it comes to leadership, service, policy, and our trust of politicians. The question isn't flawed just because there's no right or wrong answer. The question is worth asking because there are in fact so many rich points of view to be considered.

  6. Obama would also speak the best pirate on national speak like a pirate day!

  7. I realize the attached post is a little harsh (and contains a plug for H&K), but I thought you might be interested in a "foreign" perspective . . .

  8. It's a very interesting post, and I encourage others to read it as well. I'll offer the response I left on your blog to the article: Thanks for sharing. That said, let me pick up on James' comment regarding China. While one can understand that from China's perspective it doesn't want anyone involved in its domestic affairs, its actions have consequences for others. It's like the smoker who complains that we're infringing on his personal rights by saying he can't smoke in public places. While he may have every right to destroy his own lungs, I'd argue he doesn't have the right to destroy mine. The problem here is that the more money the US continues to borrow from China, the more we'll all have to hold our collective breath.

  9. To your last comment about China, and because I have been watching the HBO series The Wire, let me just say 'true dat'.



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