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A Life Lesson in Problem Solving

From time to time, a current issue provides a life lesson. The way Herman Cain has dealt with a recent problem offers an example to all of us of how not to do it, an example we can learn from regardless of political affilitation.

First, when facing a problem or a scandal, do not procrastinate. Now, we all do it from time to time. Sometimes a problem will go away by itself. More often, if there really is a problem, doing nothing makes it worse. Delay wastes time that could have been used to prepare a response, and allows the problem to grow worse. If the problem involves people, procrastination may be the worst strategy of all. People may not like a mistake, but they may eventually be retained as a customer or voter if the issue is addressed. A journalist might be retained as a friendly outlet for information. The one thing guaranteed to infuriate is being ignored.
In Cain's case, he was given ten days notice by Politico about the story, Judging from ensuing events, Cain, a self-advertised 'problem solver,' procrastinated.

Second, when a problem arises, face it immediately. Confront it in full. Admit any errors, and use language mirroring the source of the problem or scandal. Again, it's human nature not to do this. After all, maybe the mistake will not be noticed. Maybe part of it will remain hidden and never have to be faced. Unfortunately, this way of dealing with a problem results in the 'rolling disclosure.' Each time another portion of the problem appears, it forces a change of ground. It gives the impression of dishonesty, and encourages the questioner to press the issue; each time the questioner presses, the ground shifts, rewarding the questioner for pressing further , and the problem keeps rolling and gathering speed.

Third, admit mistakes. Scandals happen. No one if perfect, and most people accept that. Don't be afraid. Don't engage in denial. Chances are the mistake has already been noticed. Once again, human nature works against all of us. We want to make excuses, to justify, to explain it away, to blame, or perhaps worst of all, rely on policy. Unfortunately, that just infuriates the customer or the voter or the journalist. Do not blame the media, as Cain attempted. Do not blame the messenger. Do not blame racism or another campaign. Even if they really are to blame, avoid the temptation to cast blame. Above all, do not rely on a policy, such as a nondisclosure agreement, in an attempt to justify. Fair or not, no one likes a weasel.

Finally, when it comes to a solution for the problem or scandal, underpromise and overdeliver. Turn the problem or scandl into an opportunity. Make that person loyal for life by making a direct, satisfying, reasonable offer of redress, and then going far beyond what it originally involved.

Posted by phx8 at November 3, 2011 11:06 AM
Comments
Comment #331430

Golleee, phx8, was your post taken from Bill Clinton’s notebook on how to handle such occurrences? Clinton seemed to do quite well in handling his accusers and won the election. When Cain employs a “Bimbo Squad” I will begin to doubt his veracity.

And, one must remember that Clinton held a law degree which Cain does not. Could it be, perhaps, that over a period of more than ten years the memory does fade a bit? I know mine has for sure. Could it be that Cain is not privy to the contents of the nondisclosure agreements and thus could not comment accurately as to what they contained?

And, why would the handling of what Cain has described as untrue in any way affect his handling the duties of president? If he proves to be a liar, I would like to know as it would affect my views as to his suitability for president. Although, Clinton, impeached for lying, seems to have done quite well despite that moniker.

As I have been informed, obama is a lawyer also. And, as I recall, during his campaign many issues were raised about his past, his mentors, and such, that were not handled in the forthright manner which you have suggested is necessary for an aspiring Republican president.

For me, I will simply wait until all the facts are either known, or it becomes evident that they will not be disclosed. There is plenty of time for this all to shake out before the first primary or caucasus. No need to hurry, just calm down and let’s see what comes of this.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 3, 2011 3:48 PM
Comment #331440

Still not capitalizing the President’s last name, huh? What a small small man you are, Royally Flushed.

Posted by: Ray at November 3, 2011 5:54 PM
Comment #331442

What a small, small president.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 3, 2011 6:27 PM
Comment #331443

j2t2 & Royal

I was going to say what Royal said.

I studied Clinton’s responses and it changed my mind about the utility of stonewalling. I have real respect for the Clinton machine.

They denied in order to buy time or sometimes kill stories. They were very good at playing victim and saying attacks were politically motivated.

They cleverly deployed feminists, like leadership of NOW to front for them. This is not something a conservative can do.

They also deployed friendly pundits and journalist to trash women who might complain; often they did this preemptively. They were building the story that Monika was “the stalker” and would have succeeded if she had not saved the blue dress with the evidence.

They leaked strategically, sometimes exaggerating details in order to immunize themselves. For example, they (IMO) leaked about the blue dress and implied that there was some kind of coercion involved. When it turned out it was “ONLY” the dress, they could claim a victory.

In fact, Clinton rewrote the rules of response to such scandals.

I give him credit for cleverness. I also am glad that he was able to set back the feminist witch hunts. They were really getting out of hand.

I think Clinton was a tragedy, in the true sense of the term. He as a man of fantastic ability, intelligence and charm, probably the best natural politician in living memory. But he was only a good and not a great president because of his personality flaw and his lust. IMO, had he lost the election in 1992 and came back later, a little older, wiser and less lusty, he might have been great and changed the political landscape for a generation, as did FDR and Ronald Reagan.

I met Clinton twice and I have a true story of his amazing power. I met him in the company of a couple who had a toddler of 2 years old, called Conner. Clinton made a big deal about talking to the kid. It was endearing. Three years later, we met Clinton again. He came up to the couple, and said “Oh, how much Conner has grown”. Who can do something like that? I cannot remember my own name like that. That man was a genius, but with the big flaw of not being able to tell truth from spin. I think after his troubles and after his heart attack, he has become a better man. It is too bad we didn’t have that man as president.

Posted by: C&J at November 3, 2011 6:34 PM
Comment #331444

Royal Flush,

I don’t know the facts either. Perhaps this is not much of a scandal. However, Cain did make the mistake of recollecting that the accuser had some performance problems justifying her termination while at the same time failing to recollect the nature of the sexual harassment allegations. Such favorable selective recollections are a clear problem for Cain.

Add on the third accuser and the pollster who witnessed uncomfortable conversations of a sexual nature between Cain and a female employee to the extent that others at the table felt it necessary to intervene, you have an issue that the media will run with.

Posted by: Rich at November 3, 2011 6:38 PM
Comment #331445

BTW

Cain cannot pull a Clinton because the feminists will not roll over as they did for Clinton and the liberal media really hates black conservatives. They will continue to go after him.

There is an interesting article about the differences about how the MSM treated Jesse Jackson in similar circumstances.

http://news.yahoo.com/media-awol-sexual-indiscretion-jesse-jackson-front-runner-070000692.html

Posted by: C&J at November 3, 2011 6:40 PM
Comment #331446

Royal Flush,
Clinton’s relationships were consensual. The Cain relationships we’re discussing were not consensual. Big difference. We’re talking sexual harrassment, at least twice, bad enough to require payoffs and nondisclosure agreements. One incident occurred at least in part in public, at the restaurant in Crystal City, and there are a lot of witnesses.

If Cain did not know what was in the nondisclosure disagreements at the time, he certainly should have started checking once Politico gave him the ten day notice.

Vetting is a part of running for the office. The process becomes even more intense when the race comes down to two candidates. Once in office, the pressure continues. Addressing problems is a constant for the president. Cain wants to be the leader of the free world. Is this a good way to handle a problem? Personally, I don’t think it could get much worse.

Posted by: phx8 at November 3, 2011 6:43 PM
Comment #331449

phx8

The feminists told us that it was not possible to have a consensual relationship in the case of one very powerful person (i.e. a president) and a powerless one (i.e. an intern). It was a stupid formulation, but that was before Clinton, when they were after Clarence Thomas. Clinton killed that silliness. Thank you Bill.

Posted by: C&J at November 3, 2011 7:03 PM
Comment #331450

phx8 writes; “Clinton’s relationships were consensual.”

Really? How about this…

“Just a week after his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial, Bill Clinton faces a fresh scandal about his past sexual conduct after a former campaign worker alleged that he raped her 21 years ago.
Juanita Broaddrick, who now runs a nursing-home business in Arkansas, told the Wall Street Journal that Mr Clinton raped her in the Camelot Hotel in Little Rock in 1978, when he was the state attorney-general.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/1999/feb/20/clinton.usa

Following is a partial list of more of Clinton’s dismal personal conduct legacy…

- The only president ever impeached on grounds of personal malfeasance
- Most number of convictions and guilty pleas by friends and associates*
- Most number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation
- Most number of witnesses to flee country or refuse to testify
- Most number of witnesses to die suddenly
- First president sued for sexual harassment.
- Second president accused of rape**
- First first lady to come under criminal investigation
- Largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign contribution case
- First president to establish a legal defense fund.
- First president to be held in contempt of court
- Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions
- Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions from abroad
- First president disbarred from the US Supreme Court and a state court


Posted by: Royal Flush at November 3, 2011 7:04 PM
Comment #331452

That’s a silly list, Royal Flush. Lots of inaccuracies. But by all means, support Cain. Vote for him. Defend him. ‘Reserve judgment.’ Keep doing what you’re doing. I think Cain has done an absolutely terrible job of confronting an issue. Terrible. That is regardless of whether one thinks he did it or not. In the meantime, if you’re good with reserving judgment, go for it. In fact, I encourage you.

Oh, and I was sure impressed about Cain’s concern over China obtaining nuclear capability. Nice. Has anyone told Cain China already has nuclear weapons? Just wondering. Gotcha questions are bad enough, but gotcha answers, well, that’s tough to deal with. Cain has gone into hiding for now. Keep reserving judgment, guys. See how it works out.

Posted by: phx8 at November 3, 2011 7:21 PM
Comment #331454

I notice phx8 uses the word “silly” rather than untrue. OH, well…some things just can’t be spun.

As for Cain’s China remark…well, it’s about the same mistake obama made about the US being comprised of 57 states. I can honestly tell you that I believe obama knows how many states comprise the US. I think he has played golf in every single one of them.

Obviously phx8 has never done any public speaking. It’s not quite as easy as he may think. In fact, I have been embarrassed once or twice at what came out of my mouth my mistake.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 3, 2011 8:00 PM
Comment #331455

Actually, I’ve done a lot of public speaking. However, these politicians do a lot of it under pressure, while exhausted, and on camera. Gaffes happen from time to time. Cain’s misstatement about China, taken in the context of his lack of preparation, lack of knowledge about foreign policy, and bad habit of winging it, makes me think it’s not just a gaffe, but genuine ignorance.

No one has mentioned it, but I would give Perry a pass for an entire speech he made last Friday where he seemed… off. He did go through back surgery a few months ago. Perhaps he took some pain medication, possibly in combination with something else? Back pain is tough, and those painkillers can make a person loopy. If he keeps exhibiting bizarre behavior, then that’s another story.

Posted by: phx8 at November 3, 2011 8:10 PM
Comment #331456

phx8, Using your demeaning language regarding Cain and the China remark I could be just as nasty and assume obama does not really know how many states comprise the US. There are many more obama gaffs available. Would you like me to print some for your edification?

What disturbs me phx8, is that you, knowing full well that a man as well informed as Mr. Cain, would write that his gaff was ignorance. I would never write something like that about obama.

That simple comment tells me that I should have no respect for what you write.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 3, 2011 8:19 PM
Comment #331469

Royal Flush,
In addition to the sexual harrassment cases that were settled with cash and nondisclosure agreements, I don’t respect for Herman Cain because I don’t think he knows what he is talking about. He can’t explain his 9-9-9 plan. In fact, 9-9-9 is the second tier of what is really only a transition to a flat tax, an extremely regressive policy. I’ve seen him in all the televised debates and I was not impressed. I don’t think he even started as a serious candidate. It was almost an accident, because so many of the other candidates turned out to be so awful. Cain is a front man for Americans for Prosperity, just as he was the front man for a lobbying organization, one step up from a grifter, a smiling con. That’s the way it is with cons and grifters. They smile a lot and come across as likeable, but really, they’re not.

You know who is impressive? Romney is impressive. Ron Paul is impressive. They both know what they are talking about. They understand economics and taxation policies and foreign policy. I’m not saying I agree with either of them. Usually, I don’t. But I don’t doubt their competence and intelligence, not for a second, and I don’t doubt their ability to handle difficult issues or even a scandal.

Posted by: phx8 at November 3, 2011 10:32 PM
Comment #331483

phx8, Since I no longer have any respect for what you write there will be no comment to your latest screed.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 4, 2011 3:16 PM
Comment #331533

phx8,
I think Rachel Maddow just nailed what Cain is actually doing:
‘It’s performance art …America is being punk’d’

Posted by: Adrienne at November 5, 2011 9:10 PM
Comment #331542

Adrienna,
I don’t think he knows anything about economics at all, which is strange, because he was with the Federal Reserve in KC. He doesn’t know foreign policy either. I mean, he really, really doesn’t know anything about foreign policy. Again and again, Cain wings it, he makes it up as he goes along, and it’s obvious.

It would be great if Cain could somehow win the nomination. He’d lose 65 -35. But it would terrible for the country, to have a person like that come close to becoming the leader of the free world.

In the meantime, conservatives are actually defending and rallying around a guy who has had at least two sexual harrassment cases settled with cash payouts and nondisclosure agreements. Seriously. What the hell is wrong with conservatives? Who would even consider touching this guy with a ten foot pole? Ugh.

Posted by: phx8 at November 5, 2011 11:27 PM
Comment #331544

phx8

Remember Bill Clinton? Wasn’t moveon.org (as the name implies) actually founded to protect him from the kind of thing that Cain is experiencing?

There was also the case of Jesse Jackson, who was also a leading presidential contender and a real hound dog. Everybody knew it, but it was considered bad form to mention it.

It is only a problem if a Republican is the guy accused.

I think this is the reason people rally around him. They have seen people like Jackson and Clinton not only get away with such things, but able to stand tall against their accusers. They are sick of the double standard.

There is a pervasive bias in MSM. It goes like this. When a Republican does something even questionable, they investigate and report, always making sure to use the name Republican. When they are Democrats, they talk about circumstances and rarely mention affiliation.

For example, Jon Cozine firm recently lost piles of investor money and went broke. They always call him New Jersey governor, but never say Democrat or liberal. They always label a wrongdoer who is a R or C.

You don’t need to take my word for it. Just glace at the media. Republicans and conservatives always get the label. Democrats and liberals, not so much.

It also works for scholars. The work of a conservative scholar is usually labeled, as is a think tank.

For example, in front of “Heritage Foundation” you will almost always find “conservative.” How often do you find “liberal” in front of Brookings? In fact, if you do that, there will be an argument.

Logically, however, if you take the median American opinion and go left and right from there, you find Heritage and Brookings about equal distance from center on opposite sides. You also find Fox and CNN about the same with MSNBC way far left. But the labels only go one way.

BWT - the OWS crowd should also recall that this liberal Democrat was also the head of Goldman-Sacks, which is heavily Democratic and liberal.

Posted by: C&J at November 6, 2011 7:51 AM
Comment #331547

C&J,
You fail to recognize that there is a BIG difference between consensual sex and sexual harrassment. Sexual harrassment in the work place is NOT acceptable.

Posted by: phx8 at November 6, 2011 9:00 AM
Comment #331548
Since I no longer have any respect for what you write there will be no comment to your latest screed.

Royal, spoken like a true conservative. If I can’t spew my misinformation I’m going home, small really small Royal.

BTW although it is a popular albeit discredited conservative ploy to blame corruption on Clinton when you know it was the Reagan administration that wins the corruption award hands down.


http://jesusnorepublican.org/about/Reagan.html

Posted by: j2t2 at November 6, 2011 9:15 AM
Comment #331562

phx8

The president of the company come on to an intern. Is it really possible, given the unequal power, that it is a fair request.

Re Paula Jones - that was not consensual. He came on to her in a way she didn’t want.

We don’t know what Cain supposedly did, BTW. Think of Clarence Thomas. In the worst case scenario, if we believe Anita Hill and we assume her memory is perfect, Thomas made a joke about a coke can, asked if she had seen a dirty movie and asked her out on dates. Clinton pulling down his pants in front of Paula Jones certainly trumps this.

I have interns working in my office. I just know for a fact that if it would be wrong for me to have any kind of sexual or semi-sexual relationship with them, no matter the circumstances. I have a responsibility NOT to take advantage of them, even if they ask first. This was Clinton’s moral failing - at minimum. Unless Cain actually forced himself on women, he could do no worse.

IMO - it is good form and just smart to stay away from any sexual relationships in the office. But I know that many do not agree with me, at least in practice. So since we allow fraternization, we have to expect that it will sometimes get out of hand. Since neither Cain nor Clinton was brought up on charges, we have to assume that their conduct did not rise to an illegal level. But if we choose to castigate Cain, we have also to hit Clinton.

Posted by: C&J at November 6, 2011 7:12 PM
Comment #331563

Anyway, my original post was not to judge Clinton’s sexual harassment but rather to point out that the idea that we should immediately come clean is not always smart. Clinton proved the contrary. Hang tough, stonewall and trash your opponents is a strong strategy that Clinton successfully deployed.

Posted by: C&J at November 6, 2011 7:16 PM
Comment #331566

Ever wonder why Clinton made it through the election campaign against Bush #41 without any ‘bimbo eruptions’? After all, Clinton’s reputation was known. Why didn’t Bush use his opposition research to destroy Clinton? It worked against Gary Hart. Why not Clinton? The story is simple. The Clinton campaign let the Bush campaign know that, if any bimbo stories mysteriously leaked into the press about Clinton, the Clinton campaign would let everyone know about Bush #41’s mistress.

Paula Jones might have been more believable if she acted at the time of the incident with Clinton. As it was, she documented nothing, and waited three years before filing a lawsuit. She supposedly told friends at the time about the incident, but the only actual witness- a policeman with a likely bias in favor of Clinton- gave a version that contradicted her version.

It’s quite a bit different from the Cain sexual harassment. At least one victim filed a complaint immediately, and there were repeated incidents. I’m not familiar with the details of the second documented case. There is supposedly a third similar one with yet another nondisclosure agreement over sexual harassment, but I have not seen anything definite.

There are at least three other allegations similar to the one made by Paula Jones against Clinton, allegations made after the fact, without documentation. They may well have happened, but without immediate action at that time, it’s not likely they will be given much credence… I wouldn’t… but for those who would give someone like Paula Jones the benefit of the doubt in the first place, and believe undocumented cases that arise years after the original incident, there are six solid cases against Cain.

Posted by: phx8 at November 6, 2011 8:23 PM
Comment #338268

A Rams had been banking in obtaining 1 crew that was prepared to give up to their demands and earn the actual industry on the Rams’ phrases.Say hello to the Redskins, who can often be relied on to perform whatever it takes in order to acquire the particular off-season and have the best news. The fact that these people snapback hats almost never win through the season is a good right after idea around Buenos aires.

Posted by: xaiong dsg at March 16, 2012 4:10 AM
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