Michigan Political Leadership Program

“Understanding Institutional Change”
Richard D. McLellan: Notes for Presentation 2012

Personal Background
          Cuba 1960 (2011) 50 years in state government: Janitor in Capitol Building, Driver for Lt. Governor Republican Politics (1960-2012) Governor William Milliken staff Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Somalia, Namibia, Sierra Leone) Campaign finance; Austin v. Chamber; Citizens United Governor John Engler Cornerstone Foundation and Mackinac Center Libertarian Conservative (vs. Authoritarian Theocrats) Governor Snyder – Education policy (disrupt monolithic system); bridge; City of Detroit

Institutional Change Why Change Is Important to Michigan Now
 Michigan is getting “Older, Smaller, Poorer, Dumber and Fatter” o Michigan has been growing at a slower rate than the average US states for nearly 40 years. o Michigan has been getting relatively poorer, smaller and less competitive. o We are competing in a global economy Goal should be to become “Younger, Bigger, Richer, Smarter and Thinner”

Unpleasant Facts from Governor’s Education Message
• •
Less than 50% of our students are proficient in writing across grades based on fall 2010 MEAP data in grades 4 and 7, and spring 2010 Michigan Merit Examination (MME) data for grade 11. In National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing for grade 4 math we rank 39th; for grade 4 reading we rank 34th; for grade 8 math we rank 37th; and, for grade 8 reading we rank 33rd (NCES). Only 16% of all students statewide are college-ready based on the ACT taken in spring 2010 as a part of the MME.

“Understanding Institutional Change” Richard D. McLellan: Notes for Presentation 2012 Page 2 of 6 •
238 Michigan high schools have zero [!] college-ready students in all subjects based on the spring 2010 ACT test.

Factors Affecting Our Political System
 “Mandatory Inexperience Law” – Term Limits  Weak statewide leadership from “elites” of business, labor or others  Government largely has a backward focus to protect failing or outdated institutions: auto companies, monopoly schools, industrial unions  Control, not just excessive influence, by “special interests;” impact of money  Fading away of media resources focused on government (and attempts to create new instituions, e.g., Bridge Magazine)

We Need to Identify Themes for Renewal of Michigan and Build Institutional Change Around Them
     Deliver excellent government services with the resources we have. Create a public school system where everyone graduates ready to go to college without remediation or able to enter the workforce prepared for today’s jobs. Use government resources to create livable communities we love. Develop a tax system that is fair, competitive with other states and encourages job creation and economic revival. Restore and maintain an ethical culture in Michigan government – end pay to play

• Michigan Constitution: All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal benefit, security and protection.

Drivers of Change – Events
     Sputnik Kennedy Assassination 1990 Collapse of the Soviet Union (Berlin, Todor Zhivkov/Bulgaria) 9/11 Economic Collapse of 2008

Drivers of Change - Elections Michigan elections:
  1963 Con Con 1966 Romney landslide in Michigan

“Understanding Institutional Change” Richard D. McLellan: Notes for Presentation 2012 Page 3 of 6      1974 post-Watergate debacle Not Blanchard in 1982 1990 Engler Not 2002 Granholm 2010 Snyder and GOP sweep

National Elections:
      1964 Johnson landslide; Great Society 1980 Reagan victory 1994 Congressional elections 2008 Obama Victory and Democratic Sweep Not 2010 Republican election victory 2012 Obama Reelection

Foreign Elections:
   1990 Bulgaria 1996 Bulgaria Not Nigeria 1999

Mandatory elements for positive (or negative) institutional change:
     Political power (win elections) Ideas and objectives Individuals with leadership instinct and capacity Skill and willingness to use tools of power; competence in governing Communication ability

Apply these tests to: Occupy Wall Street, Tea Party, Congressional Republicans, Michigan Unions, President Obama, Mitt Romney and Rick Snyder

Skills that contribute to positive change in political institutions.
        Winning elections Strong, loyal team; inside and out (Engler v Granholm; Snyder off to strong start) Understand what is required to make changes: know the law, know where the money is, know who you can deal with Decide when it is “your turn” and make that decision a powerful tool Lead rather than follow: Engler vs. Granholm Communicate effectively; find “Words that Work” (tort reform vs. lawsuit abuse; structural deficit vs. overspending) Knowing when to switch from theatrics to negotiation of the deal Understand the role of a “WIFM Matrix”

“Understanding Institutional Change” Richard D. McLellan: Notes for Presentation 2012 Page 4 of 6

How realistic is it to plan and implement change that matters
 Planning is critical if you are serious: e.g., Engler rejecting all Blanchard nominees the day after the election  Every meeting is an event: have an agenda and understand the theatrics  Know your powers, e.g., reorganization powers in 1991 (1972 study)  Use lawyers wisely  Budget early in term

Characteristics of persons in leadership roles that you have observed to be the most compelling
      Know the law, facts and numbers Do not be afraid to act; John Engler, Dec. 31, 1990 Know when to win, lose and compromise Never give up; Speaker Bill Ryan Be ready to deal; Cobo Hall financing; Airport Authority, Proposal A Understand the theater of politics; Z. Zhelev, Bulgaria, 1990

Unique way of being a change agent among political institutions that do not parallel other institutions.
   Fast track to the top; power and responsibility for young people Political institutions are temporary institutions Diffuse power

Personal advice for people interested in politics and government (or any profession):
     “Go deep,” truly get a command of some area, issue, function, etc. Constantly improve your writing, speaking and communicating throughout your career Apply the WIFM Matrix to most issues “Press On Regardless” Respect the law, the system and the people even when you disagree

Democracy and Freedom: Bulgaria, 1990, 1996, and 2010
Bulgarian-American relations, first formally established in 1903, have moved from missionary activity and American support for Bulgarian independence in the late 19th century to the growth of trade and commerce in the early 20th century, to reluctant hostility during World War I and open war and bombardment in World

“Understanding Institutional Change” Richard D. McLellan: Notes for Presentation 2012 Page 5 of 6 War II, to ideological confrontation during the Cold War, to partnership with the United States in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and growing political, military and economic ties in the beginning of the 21st century.

“Understanding Institutional Change” Richard D. McLellan: Notes for Presentation 2012 Page 6 of 6

“WIFM” Matrix

Win Priority Order Lose with Dignity Credit as a leader Compromise deal Live to fight again


Little Guy



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