What Can Brown Do For You?

Friday, November 25, 2005 at 12:57 PM

Quick quiz:  who recently made the following statement:

"Look, Hurricane Katrina showed how bad disasters can be, and there's an incredible need for individuals and businesses to understand how important preparedness is.  So if I can help people focus on preparedness, how to be better prepared in their homes and better prepared in their businesses _ because that goes straight to the bottom line _ then I hope I can help the country in some way."

If you said Michael Brown, formerly of FEMA by way of the International Arabian Horse Association, you are both right and probably pretty cynical. story here

In the same interview where he "lashed out at the media," Brown revealed that he had decided to start a business in Colorado, where he lived before attaining FEMA infamy, consulting on disaster preparedness.

You know the man has spent considerable time in the Bush administration.  Where else could he have learned that repeated and abject failure is what qualifies you to advise others?

Why would someone pay for advice from a man who essentially was fired from his last two jobs?  Well, one thing you know from watching television is that every person who royally screws up starts immediately spouting the "lesson I've learned."

And, yes, Brown has learned a lesson from Katrina.  The lesson is that sometimes leaders need to "take inventory" of everything that's going on, "so that you give the absolute correct message to the media, because the media can't be trusted to, one, always get the message correct, and then when you yourself give the incorrect message, that just exacerbates the whole communications problem."

That's pretty much the lesson I would expect someone from the Bush administration to learn--it isn't the performance that stunk to high heaven, it was the perception of the performance.  It matters not that people unnecessarily died, all would have been okay if he had only been clear in his dealings with the media.

So what can Brown do for you?  Brown knows he has something to offer.  As he said, "I think people are curious: 'My gosh, what was it like? The media just really beat you up. You made mistakes. I don't  want to be in that situation. How do I avoid that?' "

On Brown's thought pattern, the surgeon who butchers an operation should be the one in demand around the country, telling others about the butchering experience.  Certainly you wouldn't want to hear from someone who actually performed a successful operation.

It's awfully lonely here in reality.