Jan 20, 2012

Romney, Mormons & the Effeciency Mind-Set that Makes Business Successful

As a country, we've grown dependent and weak.  We've lost hope, many of us.  We've been divided against each other.

Such sentiments favor any political system seeking to extort or control a people.

While this blog isn't about religion or politics, and I hope to stay clear of these sensitive topics here, I just have to say something about the ridiculous nature of the attacks against Mitt Romney.

(First for some disclosures: yes, I'm a Mormon.  No, I'm not voting for him...so long as Ron Paul is still in the GOP race.)

The Mormon heritage of our pioneer ancestors has taught us something of industry, frugality, and the importance of character.  Without these core attributes, the Mormon faith along with its early pioneer followers would have gone into extinction in the tough and unforgiving environments of Salt Lake City.

Being driven from state to state prior to settling in the SL Valley taught them something of resilience, tenacity, faith, and being united as a people.

Frankly, I can't think of a better mix of antidotes & note-worthy attributes we as Americans could use injected into our culture at this time in our history.   

To the extent we rely upon a central-figure leader in our government - and I don't believe the founding fathers of our country every intended such a concentrated reliance upon the federal government as we have today - we need all the more men or women who are both wise and good at that all-too-critical head of government.

When I see Romney being attacked in the media for being efficient with the use of capital, I have to laugh.  This argument is right up there with the self-proclaimed 99-percenters (who in all actuality account for less than one percent of the true American sentiment - though that too is hard to measure, because the 99%'ers don't really stand for anything per say, at least not in a unified way.)  Enough on that for now.

Brigham Young, the President of the LDS church following the martyrdom of our founder, Joseph Smith, taught the following:

"If a man is worth millions of bushels of wheat and corn, he is not wealthy enough to ... sweep a single kernel into the fire.  Let it be eaten by something...Remember it, do not waste anything, but take care of everything."

So, my point here is that the Mormon faith and the legacy of its members are rich in the heritage of holding to such noble virtues as:

  • Self-Sufficiency
  • Work-Ethic & Industry
  • Sacrifice
  • Frugality
  • Giving to the Poor
  • Gratitude
  • Honoring Contracts & Commitments

The more the media and his opponents attack Romney for being wise in the allocation and disposition of his resources, or giving to the church of his faith or to any other charity, the more their arguments sound like the desperate cries of petty, spoiled children.    

The better one manages the affairs of his own household and his own financial resources, the better still he'll be in the office as overseeing any organization that depends upon goodness, wisdom, prudence, frugality and self-discipline (couple hints: 1) we need someone like that in the oval office, and 2) every team or organization could benefit by having someone like that leading it.)

I had a conversation with a friend of mine the other day where he said, sarcastically and in reference to an offer I had made to buy out his client's company "what is it with you Mormons anyway?  You're just like Romney, looking to squeeze the best deal out of people - what's up with that?"  We had a good laugh together, and then I agreed with him that I wasn't looking to be a charity in my deal making here.  The CEO of this particular company has used the company to fund a very expensive lifestyle - and the company her grandfather founded has now been run into the ground.  Where it once had 20-30 employees, it's now down to 4.  It needs a turnaround, and fast.  There's risk with taking on that type of a project and making any type of investment of time or money.

My point on this tangent is that we need leaders who know how to sacrifice for, rather than milk and extract from, the organizations they lead.   

Jan 18, 2012

Crazy Stories from Bankruptcy Trustees

Attended a TMA social last night.

A few crazy stories from trustees taking over some very difficult bankruptcy situations.  Some of the funnier stories/highlights --

  • A trustee appointed to take over an alligator farm in Louisiana.  Unable to pay for meat to keep the gators alive, so the judge allows chickens from a separate case to be used as the gator fodder.  (Needless to say, the judge wasn't a judge for very long thereafter).

  • The U.S. government takes over of a brothel (prostitution ring) after attempting to force a drug dealer into submissive compliance and confession - they get him on some measly payroll taxes and force the estate into bankruptcy.  The government, unaware at first of the nature of the businesses they've acquired, continue after finding out for a series of months to run the brothel after realizing just how lucrative the business really is.

  • Trustee shows up by court appointment to take over a divorced man's estate.  On the way from the airport, the trustee and the man stop in at the man's psychiatrist and the doctor tells the trustee "he probably won't kill you, but he might try to take you out on his way out."  Apparently the man is high-risk suicide.  Man's dog bites a chunk of flesh out of Trustee's shoulder, requiring them to then go to the hospital to get stitches.  Trustee calls in and asks the appointing attorney for claims/damages, only to find out that he would be in essence suing himself as he's now the appointed trustee of the estate.  Poor guy only made about $7K on the mess as the trustee.

  • Another trustee takes over a bankrupt, for-profit hospital only to have the board of directors hand him the keys to the building and basically say "good luck, we're' outa here."  He begins asking around and the rumors start to ignite a mass exodus of doctors and nurses from the hospital - some taking equipment and drugs with them on the way out.  He gets police officers over to bar the doors and he changes the locks.  Asks family members to come get the patients and transfer them to a new hospital - after all, there's no doctors left, and he's down to 3 nurses.  Heaven forbid something go wrong with one of the patients on his watch.  Luckily able to get all the patients transferred to another hospital across town after calling 911.