Flynn’s Sacking Explained Simply

Having read people’s reactions on social media to Trump’s press conference yesterday, it is amazing how few understand what Trump said regarding Mike Flynn:

No, I fired him because of what he said to Mike Pence. Very simple. Mike was doing his job. He was calling countries and his counterparts. So, it certainly would have been OK with me if he did it. I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn’t doing it.

Ben Shapiro’s response was not untypical:

I suspect so many commentators are struggling with this because so few of them have worked in a business environment before. Shapiro is a lawyer/writer/public speaker. The relationship he has enjoyed with his superiors in these professions, insofar as he has any, will be a lot different from the manager-employee relationship most ordinary people experience in the corporate world, especially towards the top when things get a lot more cut-throat.

For me, it is completely plausible that somebody could be doing his job as instructed but, for reasons unknown only to himself, decides to mislead his manager regarding some aspect of it which results in the manager making an arse of himself. In fact, I can’t believe there is anyone who has worked for more than a few years in a modern corporation that hasn’t seen this scenario crop up at least once.

An example. An Engineering Manager asks his Piping Designer if he has finished those drawings. The Designer says “Yes, they are done.” The Engineering Manager calls the Construction Manager and says “Yup, they’re done. We’ll send them to you first thing in the morning.” The next morning the Engineering Manager asks the Designer for the drawings. Turns out they are not completed after all, they’re only at 90% and they need another day’s work. For whatever reason, the Designer lied. The Engineering Manager now has to call the Construction Manager, who has a welder on standby ready to start fabricating, and tell him they drawings are not ready after all. The Engineering Manager looks like a dick who can’t run a department properly, and the Designer is going to get bawled at as an absolute minimum. He might even get fired. But that doesn’t mean that the Designer was doing something he wasn’t supposed to, far from it: he was doing his job just fine, even if the drawings weren’t ready it would have been no big deal. But he lied to his manager and put him in a very bad position. In any organisation, this is unacceptable.

The fact that most of our media commentators, even smart ones like Ben Shapiro, don’t understand this speaks volumes about how little real-world experience that sector has between them.

20 thoughts on “Flynn’s Sacking Explained Simply

  1. Sitting here in the corporate world (hint: not media, not government, not academia), I cannot help but be amazed at the elaborate efforts you seem to be making to extend the benefit of the doubt to the person occupying the one position on this planet most in need of exacting scrutiny. Especially given the many, many serious questions that remain unanswered in this case. That, combined with your other comments berating the BBC for excessive curiosity, as if developments in Washington should be of no interest to anyone outside of the US, suggests to me this whole blog might be turning into some sort of SJW false flag operation. Either that, or the Koolaid round here is really strong…

  2. I cannot help but be amazed at the elaborate efforts you seem to be making to extend the benefit of the doubt to the person occupying the one position on this planet most in need of exacting scrutiny.

    I agree with you on the need for exacting scrutiny. Instead we’re getting hysteria.

  3. @polkamatic

    “Especially given the many, many serious questions that remain unanswered in this case.”

    And despite all the coverage, those questions remain unanswered.

    I wonder if, that’s because those questions are either bloody silly, or not really questions at all? More baseless accusations than questions.

    After all, we don’t know when Trump stopped beating his wife. He’s never answered that, has he?

  4. Tim’s scenario is indeed something I’ve seen, and indeed been the guy in Pence’s position. Tim isn’t going to elaborate lengths to justify anything in this case.

    The worst time that it happened to me, I made the idiot at fault go and do the apologies in the hope he might learn something – despite him being >20 years older than me. One of those guys that kept screwing up due to sloppiness but kept getting away with it, until one day I’d had enough.

  5. That has given me a chuckle. Having been in all those roles, and seen that conversation train many times, it’s rarely a case of lying.

    What ‘I’m done’ usually means is a whole spectrum from ‘I’ve done as much as I can’ to ‘I’ve done this very specific thing, but everything else hasn’t started and changes are coming that will fuck the one thing I’ve actually completed’.

    Any Engineering Manager who takes the words ‘I’m done’ as completely complete, done and dusted, should be fired.

    Any Construction Manager who hears from an Engineering Manager the drawings are ‘All done’, needs to get his iso pad out or be fired.

    ‘I’m done’ is engineering code for, ‘start asking lots more questions’.

  6. Bastard Square

    “And despite all the coverage, those questions remain unanswered.

    I wonder if, that’s because those questions are either bloody silly, or not really questions at all? More baseless accusations than questions.”

    ‘Asking the question’ is a journalistic device that is a substitute for actual information. It allows them to write the news story they want, not the one that exists.

  7. ” I cannot help but be amazed at the elaborate efforts you seem to be making to extend the benefit of the doubt to the person occupying the one position on this planet most in need of exacting scrutiny”

    You think Mr. Newman is trying to extend the benefit of the doubt to Flynn?

    I don’t.

    Mr. Newman made it clear that Flynn was fired due to his putting Pence in an untenable position – a clear firing offense.

    His main point was that the effort to ascribe Flynn’s firing to improper contact with the Russians is mis-aimed – Trump was comfortable with the level and depth of that contact, but that the way Flynn communicated that contact to Pence was unacceptable.

    Flynn’s communication to Pence was at odds with the need for “exacting scrutiny.” His communication with the Russians was not.

  8. Dont worry guys the construction contractor will build it without any drawings and if it needs to change when the drawings turn up, we will rebuild it for an additional fee plus damages.

    Trump like any top US executive would have definitely had some exposure to the Jack Welsh management theory particularly on hiring and firing. Even in a stable organization you must be firing the bottom end of the performance bell curve and bringing in new staff in order to continually move the bell curve towards the right.

    Similarly any board member of any Fortune 500 company worth their salt would also be well versed in The Art Of War.

  9. “the person occupying the one position on this planet most in need of exacting scrutiny”: how come it didn’t need it for the previous eight years?

  10. “suggests to me this whole blog might be turning into some sort of SJW false flag operation. Either that, or the Koolaid round here is really strong…”

    A comment that should be taken seriously by mein host.

  11. Well the engineering manager, if he was competent and cared for his employers money, would at least get the workers working on the 90% of the design that was complete (and unlikely to change). Rather than having the workers billable for no work.

    And then go and bawl at the piping designer.

  12. Sadly the wisdom of a grey haired and bearded engineering manager or access to them seems to be a thing of the past. We were always happy to proceed at risk after a chat with blokes like that.

  13. We live in a World ruled and influenced by people who have never worked in a productive job producing wealth, where their reward/continued employment depends on performance of the enterprise and how good it is at adding value to tempt consumers to part with their cash.

    Those these days with an opinion on or say over everything, are wealth consumers paid out of taxes, donations, or subscriptions. They have no experience of the wider World.

  14. This question from Evan Davis (BBC) to White House aide to President Trump: ‘Is it the case you plan no action against the Press?’

    That is actually an accusation couched in a question. Upon what ‘fact’ as opposed to fakery is the question based? There is a clear implication that such a plan was being considered.

    So you can imagine the headline is ‘President’s aide denies there is a plan to take action against the Press’.

    Then people think maybe there is and the aide is not telling the truth.

    Easily done to smear somebody. ‘Are planning to go home and beat your wife tonight?’

  15. Any Engineering Manager who takes the words ‘I’m done’ as completely complete, done and dusted, should be fired.

    True. I was simplifying in order to illustrate the point. Last time I was an engineering manager I found sometimes the construction was complete around the time I got to hear about the job.

  16. A comment that should be taken seriously by mein host.

    I have taken it seriously, but I’m at a loss as to what I’m supposed to do next.

  17. Easily done to smear somebody.

    Which is precisely the intent, of course. Thanks for giving us that particular example.

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