Even Good Character Needs Accountability - From the Chairman
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SECTION: From the Chairman

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Even Good Character Needs Accountability

By Dennis Vander Molen

Article Date: 06-01-2010
Copyright(C) 2010 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

What would happen if dealers from every state were checking up on their Congressmen?

Growing up on the farm in Iowa with two brothers and a younger sister, there was never a dull moment. And between working and being mischievous, there was never a shortage of opportunities to display some good core values of family life. In fact, with only a 16-month spread between each of us boys, needless to say, there was plenty of “opportunity” to go around. The grown ups would often say, “They’re a bunch of characters,” and I don’t think that was necessarily used in a positive sense.
In the dictionary, the word ‘character’ is used several ways – sometimes as a noun, adjective, and even a verb. But in business – and all relationships for that matter – we generally imply the ethical or integrity meaning. A book I am currently reading (‘The Speed of Trust” by Steven Covey) has reminded me how important trust is in any relationship or organization, too, and that trust ultimately hinges on people doing the right thing – aka character and integrity. Trust also grows when competence is displayed in decision making and leadership.
Now the words character and trust don’t often appear in the same sentence with words dealing with politicians and government (at least not in a positive sense), but this concept is fresh in my mind following the meeting AED hosted in Washington, D.C., in mid-April.
We have a lot of elected people in Washington who go there with the best of intentions. Many of them are good people. Most seek to represent the best interest of their districts. But how do we view them in their character? Do they exemplify trust in their districts with integrity and competence? Do they speak the truth in a straightforward manner? How transparent are they when they communicate with us? When they are home do they say one thing, and then when they return to D.C. do they represent someone else?
If we do not hold them accountable and let them know how important their vote is for the issues of business and infrastructure, where will their efforts and votes go?
Last month a good representative number of AED members came to Washington to learn what government is doing (and not doing) as it relates to issues that are impacting our businesses and industry. The AED Washington office again did a great job lining up relevant speakers on several topics that are important to each of us. Highway and water infrastructure were high on the list. There were AED members from around the country. But we need more representatives. Wouldn’t it be great if we had at least one member from each state? What kind of difference could we make if we had each state defending our industry to all our members of Congress? These people need to hear more from us. They need to hear more while we are in Washington and see more of us when they are at home.
If you missed this year’s Government Affairs fly-in, we missed you. If you went, our industry thanks you.
Please start making plans to attend next year’s event, May 11-13. In the meantime, give your representative and senator a call, or set up a time to meet them when they’re back home. Character with trust grows with accountability. We have to hold them accountable.

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