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Saturday, June 13, 2015


A cranky opinion for


The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with little knowledge on the subject opined.  Opposing opinions are welcome, but will be ignored.  As always, please, no name calling and that means you, you big stupid-head!

What is the best way to get things done? 

Mandate it.

Back in the day when I worked in Wall Street Operations, various Wall Street Institutions such as the National Securities Clearing Corporation, and the New York Stock Exchange often looked to bring change to securities processing.

They would offer suggestions such as trading in decimals instead of fractions, and then wait for any objections the member firms may have to these changes.  Invariably most firms would carefully explain why a particular change was impossible.

“It will tie up too many resources.”

“Our system will not allow for that, it will take years and terrific expense to make the required changes.”

“Our customers will not accept those changes.”

“There is no way that can be coordinated between all the firms.”

“This would be catastrophic.”

“You people just don’t understand!”

Firm after firm would throw what my dad used to refer to as a “Wet Blanket” on suggested system improvements.

Ultimately the street organizations in their desire to modernize Wall Street operations would simply “Mandate” the change.  They would say in effect,

“The new system will go into effect xx months from now.  You need to be on board or you will be out of business.”

It was amazing how every single firm with their multitude of objections would always meet the deadline and be ready for the changes.  (Once in a while there would be extensions.)

While I was employed in Wall Street Operations, trading hours were extended, days to settle a trade were shortened, trades were executed in decimals instead of fractions, trades were matched electronically, securities were transferred electronically instead of physical certificates transported from firm to firm by eighty year old men who walked like their shoelaces were tied together, and ...well let’s just say lots of impossible improvements were implemented by the concept of “Mandating it.”

When the economy was poor, my firm’s chief executives would ask all the department managers if they could cut expenses.  Without fail, every department needed absolutely all of their current resources and could not possibly function with any reductions.

The executives would listen carefully to all the reasons that expenses could not be reduced, and then faced with the realization that the firm might go out of business if they did not save money, they simply mandated a ten percent expense reduction across all departments.

Somehow expenses were reduced and operations continued without any loss of service.  This happened every two or three years.

I used to joke,

“How do you do the impossible?”

“You Mandate It.”

Perhaps we could use this axiom in government. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if our economy ran at full employment?  Could we eliminate prejudice?  Let’s get rid of poverty.  Healthcare should be free and easily available.  There are so many problems in the country that are simply impossible to resolve for so many reasons.  What to do, what to do?


As voters we should just mandate solutions.  What are the solutions?  I don’t know, but you have four years to fix this stuff or you will be voted out of business. 

Just get it done.

We Mandate it!

The preceding opinion was that of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.


  1. A people's mandate--I don't think the governments will go for it. They prefer to be the ones doing the mandating.

  2. Yes very true - the stock exchange and reserve bank here have always used a similar process and it's very rare they have changed course on industry objections, though they have made small changes to their plans on occasion. You're right, without mandates no change would happen ever.

  3. You see how well that worked with guns.

  4. congress doesn't agree on anything enough to 'mandate' anything.

  5. I can see this working with mandating. I do agree if someone can't get the job done or make progress in it they should be gone after 4 years. Have to say when they mandate overtime at work, I do it. When it is offered to do overtime, 99% of the time I pass on it. So mandate is a good word to use to get the jobs done.


  6. Yet when President Obama mandated something by executive order, the hue and cry from Republicans (and even some Democrats) was cacaphonous.

  7. Electing good ol' Bernie would be a good start, though one might need several magic wands for that....Joeh, you need to be careful; poverty, prejudice, full employment, health care...;.the dread L word is going to start being used.

  8. If only it were that simple. Businesses can mandate because they have the power to fire those who refuse to comply. Citizens can't be fired, and as we've seen there are so many factors at play pandering and manipulating the public.

  9. If you mandate something...isn't that also called dictatorship?

    But I agree, sometimes you just need a fist hitting a desk.

  10. That's the stupidist idea I've ever heard because....well, you know, just because!I

    Now hereby mandate more stupid ideas.

  11. Sadly, the only group that can mandate that the government do anything is ... wait for it, the government. In other words, we the people are screwed.

  12. I worked for government for 19 years--change was not common, needless to say! For the last 13 years I worked there, they were trying to upgrade a piece of software that was still one of those "green type on black screen" applications that they used back in the 90s. Last I heard, they'd "timeboxed" it. Timeboxing is when you choose a date and say, "We're going live this day whether we're ready or not." And you do it. I have a feeling that doesn't work in government because they just watch that deadline whoosh by!