I used to work in the world of finance. I worked for a large multinational investment management firm for almost 19 years before going out on my own in a very different direction. As many of you know I am now in landscaping, so a very different field from finance. In running my own business I am aware of how long it takes to build a business and how difficult it has been to try and rebuild it after the housing and credit mess.
Bain Capital of course is the financial company that Mitt Romney was a part of starting. Looking at their website they share their philosophy of working with companies that are struggling and helping them turn around. Under their heading Key Elements of Bain Capital's Approach you see one of three pillars is Focus on Building Great Companies. When you click on that you see their philosophy: " At the core of our investment approach is the belief that the best way to consistently produce great investment returns is to work together with management teams on a holistic multi-year path to build the best possible company. "
This is in line with everything a really good investor in a troubled industry will do when stepping in to assist a company in recovery. They understand that this is not going to happen overnight. They understand that you have to work together and this is going to be a multi-year process.
This all leads me to wonder, what if Bain Capital had been elected and took over in 2008 to manage the country -- would they have said they could have done it in four years? This of course would have been far worse than any ailing business they could possibly have tried to turn around. In addition they would not have had the ability to hire and fire the congress to get things moving in the direction they saw was needed to turn things around.
Although I had hoped that Barack Obama would have been able to make greater strides in turning things around then he has, I see the challenges he faced. He was not able to get Republicans to work with him on issues. I do understand that Republicans felt that health care was jammed through the House and Senate without regard to their input. I can see their point to an extent. However, I have to ask, does this then give them the right to not work with Democrats on other issues that are equally if not more important? If I had an employee that decided they would not work with another employee because they did something they did not like and it hurt the organization I would have no choice but to let that employee go. I think Bain Capital would feel the same. The organization is whom they are working for and that must take priority not egos. In fact on the Bain Capital website, they say: "Our integrated deal and portfolio teams work seamlessly over the life of an investment to support our management teams in achieving their plans." So clearly an atmosphere of teamwork is encouraged. Support is clearly key in their view to achieving success.
Would have Bain Capital been able to succeed in the last four years? Doesn't seem so. Or as they say again on their website: "Our success is built on a collaborative approach that harnesses the power of great teams to generate the best ideas and strategies."
Building a great team requires collaboration and great teams get great things done. The challenge is building a great team and giving them the time to implement those ideas and strategies.