Posted by: Matthew Molinari | March 28, 2011

US Committee on Intelligence (Blog #10)

Group-think. Broken corporate structure. Poor management. Sounds a lot like a failing corporation but in this case it is actually in reference to the Senate’s findings on U.S. intelligence. Even the outcome of poor intelligence had the same effect on the U.S. as poor management would have on a business. The findings of the Senate report hurt the US in the global perspective just as if word had gotten out that management of a corporation was unable to produce accurate financials.

The ability to read information correctly and apply the results to a business plan are what make a company successful – whether it is the business of running a country or a corporation. It begins with where the information is coming from. Are you getting it from the right sources and is the information current? It appears that the U.S. wasn’t. It relied on exiles and reports generated before 1998 for most of its intelligence.

That’s a lot like relaying on disgruntled employees and outdated marketing reports to build a business plan. That plan may make sense when compared to the information but looking at the bigger picture, that plan may no longer look so good. In fact, it may be a plan that puts your company out of business.

The report also showed that many of the agencies compiling the data suffered from collective group think. It was also widely believed that the government had already decided to go to war before hearing any of the intelligence. While the administration was cleared of pressuring analysts to provide information that fit its policy, it makes you wonder. If a company told their accountants, “We have decided to move our company overseas, can you provide information on whether or not that was a good choice?”, what type of results would be expected? Probably, the accountants, while not openly told to get certain results, would tend to report things that supported the decision that had already been made.

In the end, a successful government needs to be run like a successful business. Throwing money at problems won’t fix them as effectively as correcting the broken systems and making sure that employees  are encouraged to work on the right things in the right ways.

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