Do governors protect us?
I’m still asked, “Are you an Oregonian?” My best answer is, “Yes, I’m an Oregonian by choice, not by chance.”
After we set a clear intention, wrote it down – “move to Oregon” – as a specific goal, to our amazement, the international training company I was affiliated with at the time asked us to take over the Oregon territory. They wanted me to be in Oregon “the next day.” We sold our Illinois training business and our house, and organized things to move to Oregon 45 days later on Labor Day weekend so that our boys could start school here. We had what my friend, Jim, an executive at U-Haul, calls an “adventure in moving.” We rented the largest U-Haul truck available, hooked our Ford Econoline camper behind it, and headed west. We hung a sign in the back of the Econoline that said “Oregon or Bust.” Very illegally, we had two, and sometimes all three, of our boys riding in the Econoline. This was 1976, 35 years ago, if you can remember that far back, pre Radio Shack, pre cell phone – hard to imagine. How did we communicate with the boys? They couldn’t draw attention with the horn so they stuck a broom handle out the window of the camper if we needed to stop.
Things went fine across Illinois and Iowa, but when we got to the Rocky Mountains, it was painfully clear that we had a problem with our truck. It would not maintain highway speeds while climbing the slightest grade. I remember as we were coming up out of LaGrande over the Wallowa Mountains, I was down to between 25 and 30 miles per hour. As it turned out, the truck had a governor on it which kept it
from having enough horsepower to climb the grades.
I understand why U-Haul put a governor on their truck - they didn’t want anyone driving it over the posted safe speed of 65 miles per hour. The appropriate governor would have regulated RPMs. The governor they put on the engine regulated horsepower. This is often what happens with government; their stated intention is to somehow protect the weak, the innocent, the unsuspecting. The unintended consequence is that they slow down the process that creates prosperity, wealth and jobs. The innocent they are trying to protect are hurt the most. Remember, the root word for “government” is *“governor; to limit.”
*an attachment to a machine (as a gasoline engine) for automatic control or limitation of speed
Be very careful with any attempts to govern the people in your enterprise or department. It can result in the unintended consequences of fear and resignation. This is a powerless place. You will not be successful in achieving the motivation needed to push over the humps. You will lose your creative innovation advantage.
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