Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Checks and Balances of Leadership

Interrupting my usual schedule due to Purim which starts tonight.

Once again, the problems we face today, were faced over 2,000 years ago as well.

It was then that King Achashveros gave one of his executives, Haman, carte blanch to do what he wanted with a certain group of people he had persuaded the King were against him. That in itself is not unusual of course, but the story has more to it than this tidbit.

As it turns out, one of the King's wives turns out to be a member of this group. Not good luck for Haman.

What is interesting is the King shows no attention to the matter until his wife tells him about it. Thus leaving Haman to almost complete his mission of wiping out all the Jews of the time int he kingdom.

In business we see executives sign off on projects and then barely pay attention to them. Rightly so, they have better things on their mind, but shouldn't they at least know what is going on? Culpable ignorance perhaps to be claimed by the executive but still, are there no checks and balances? Achashveros gave Haman his ring to seal decrees which meant only another decree sealed by the king to change it. Sound familiar? It would take an act of God or the CEO to change their mind.

What we end up with is a classic story of greed, management by benign neglect and vanity or pride that almost took what was a reasonable happy kingdom full of parties and royal decadence.

So why do we wear costumes on Purim? Because it reminds us that not everyone is what they appear and sometimes that layered approach to seeing people is what causes the greatest despair and the utmost ecstasy when we finally get to meet the person underneath the mask or costume.