Excessive employee turnover undermines the growth of companies. I am struck by a statistic that over half of the residents of Connecticut would leave the state if they had the means to do so. That measurement occurred prior to passing of a $1.8B tax increase. Living in Connecticut has become a lot like working for a poorly managed company. Here are a few of the skills I wish that Connecticut government would master:
Long-term vision and proactive decision making: Employees are motivated by understanding the purpose and intention of the company and seeing how goals influence decision making. Vision can maintain stability in tough times and protect against crisis-driven decision making. Nobody likes to pay more taxes. I believe the greater dissatisfaction in Connecticut comes from the lack of understanding for how the State will get out of this mess. The strategy rests on the economy turning around while enacting fiscal policy that will slow the economy. Hmmm……..
Leadership Integrity: The true test of leaders is whether anybody wants to follow them. Engagement requires that leaders do what they say and demonstrate they can bring results. Since 2010, the majority party has run on a platform of “No new taxes.” Yet, over the last five years we have had two of largest tax increases in State history and, even with these taxes, we are projected to have an $800M deficit two years from now. Four more years?
Decision Transparency: Strong companies find a way to bring the thoughts and opinions of all effected parties into the decision making process. People need to feel like they matter. The tax package described has been enacted with no public hearings and minimal floor debate. I grew up outside Chicago during the Mayor Daley years where public policy was crafted in small, smoke-filled rooms and dead people voted. Opposing the machine was literally dangerous. It feels a little that way in Connecticut. The major difference being that Chicago ran like a well-oiled clock.
Innovative thinking: Companies that succeed are driven to provide new and exciting products for their customers. The esteem in an organization rises when they prove they can solve difficult problems by “thinking outside the box.” This legislative session did have some traces of innovation with SB 1 addressing the notion of regional municipalities. However, the divisive choice between more taxes or discontinuing services to people in need permeated the budget discussion. That’s a lot like asking an employee whether they want an unpaid sabbatical or to lose all their benefits. It’s not a choice one can live with.
I find the Governor’s willingness to negotiate with corporations after the budget has passed disturbing. (See Integrity) The fact that the negotiation is occurring signals that trust between the two entities has dissolved and it assures that a greater burden will be thrown on small business. A majority of employees who receive a raise in response to a threat to quit the company are no longer with the organization after one year.