Harkin’s bill “appears to be one of the best approaches that I’ve seen,” says Helaine Olen, author of Pound Foolish, a 2012 book about personal finance. “I like that it takes, to some extent, the money management part away from the individual. The vast majority of us really do everything wrong when it comes to investments. We buy when we should sell; we sell when we should buy.” Bloomberg Businessweek, Can Washington Craft A Better Retirement, Mar 10, 2014.
Actually Helaine, we should just invest and hold for the long term. Thank you, but I’ll make my own decisions. If we can’t decide then where is this wonderful fount of wisdom who knows exactly how to do it? No, don’t tell me “the government.” They overspend and are deep in debt and their only solution is to raise taxes since they can’t prioritize and say no to anyone.
The Businessweek article initially got me interested in looking into Ms. Olen’s book. I figured if Businessweek quoted her she must be a good source of ideas. However, I never got past the reviews on Amazon. The one that summarized the majority of the reviews for me was:
“Ms. Olen is a huge believer in playing the “victim” card. There is absolutely zero room in her universe for any kind of personal responsibility. If you are bankrupt, it is not your fault. A shopaholic? Not your fault. Lousy job? Not your fault. Bad investments? Not your fault. Steeped in debt? Not your fault. A recent divorce? Not your fault. Well, you get the idea. I think we can all agree that bad things can happen to good people but can we always blame everything on others? In Ms. Olen’s view, everything that goes wrong is the fault of bad government policy and only government can fix your problems.”
So two lessons here. First, even in a business magazine check the “experts” they quote. They might be great for snappy quotes, but they may not be the kind of expert we would normally turn to for an opinion.
The second is that having a good system, which we understand and works well, is a great way to minimize the number of decisions a team needs to make. This leaves the team free to make the critical decisions that make the difference in a successful project. Trying to micromanage a team or advise them to death with review committees just ensures that they will underperform.
For more see: How To Manage People Who Are Smarter Than You
Are you trying to do the thinking for your team or are you letting them develop and make their own decisions?