A simple look at how a bill is passed will describe how a strategy works and how complicated or simple it can be. In the 1970’s education series Schoolhouse Rock, How a Bill can become a Law, there was a deep discussion on how a bill becomes a law and the steps it has to take. Schoolhouse rock has been off the air for many years and many people, unless of a certain age bracket, may not remember United States Civics lessons, thus here is a description of how it works.
The Government Structure
There are three branches of the government. The United States Government has the Executive Branch, otherwise known as the President’s office. The Executive Branch controls all executive options like the Cabinet and the different departments that help run the government except for the judicial governments. The Executive branch also has powers to appoint different officials which must be approved by the United States Senate, part of the legislative branch, and they also set the vision of the country. The President has the power to fix any loopholes in the law with an executive order. The executive order does not give them the power to make new laws, but to correct or tighten up an existing law or to honor something.
The President, is similar to a Chief Executive Officer, who directs strategy and vision but truly has no real authority. The board has the ultimate control authority on budgetary decisions and long term strategy. The Chief Executive Officer leads and directs this approval while acting independently to carry out the boards ideas.
This is similar to the relationship between the legislative branch and the executive branch. The Legislative branch consists of two branches, the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. The Senate consists of two senators from each state. The House of Representatives is the house for the people. There are different congressional districts that comprise the house. These districts are created based on population of the different states and some states have larger numbers of representatives than others making it the largest body of the branch with over 400 members which can change every ten years as censuses are done looking at different populations. Think of the legislative branch as the board of directors of a company. While this is a loose connection the board of directors is tasked with taking the vision of the executive and making sure it fits into the budget and into the overall plan. They also pass and put all the laws into place just like the Legislative Branch. The United States House sets the budget and the Senate approves appointments of people to run the different cabinets.
The last branch is the judicial branch. They keep the checks and balances between all the different branches and they oversee the all the federal judicial courts and keeps the law of the land in place. If there is an argument between the two branches, i.e. one oversteps their authority, the judicial branch makes the call on whether or not this is legal and should go forward. This is the loosest connection to business but essentially this might be lawyers who sue a corporation because they feel that their strategy has wronged someone.
The Process of a Bill
Now that there is an understanding of how the branches work, a discussion on how a bill becomes law can be had. This is where strategy really comes in to the process. First there is an idea that is created. This idea can come from the Executive, form someone in the legislative branch or from someone outside. The idea is then strengthened and written down and then sponsored by one or more legislator. The bill goes through a committee who then tears it a part and holds hearings from all sides. If the committee passes it then the bill goes to the floor of the respective chamber that sponsored it. Then there is more debated and the bills goes up for a vote to see if the chamber wants to vote on it. If they decide to vote on it then a simple majority needs to pass it. If it passes then it goes to the other chamber for a vote. The leaders of each chamber call the Majority leader in the Senate and the Speaker of the House made up of usually the most senior leader voted on by their colleagues from the more dominant party, can decide whether or not to bring these bills to the floor for vote, slow even if it passes one chamber it may not come up for vote in the other chamber. If it does pass both chambers then it goes to the President’s office for signature. The President can sign the bill into law or they can veto. If it is vetoed, the bill can go back to the legislative branch where they can override the veto with 2/3’s majority vote if it is something they want to do and can get past part politics.
Connection to Strategy
How does this transfer to strategy in a business? Think of it as an idea one might have as an owner or chief executive officer. The idea then has to go approvals and get buy in from different parts of the organization. If there is not enough support then it doesn’t happen. There has to be sound strategies behind the idea and sound opportunities behind how these ideas will help grow and benefit the organization. In addition, it might take a strategy to get these ideas through the process by identifying who the key players are and what this idea will mean to them and address it with them so that they can support it.
Understand who the power players are, what steps need to happen and have a plan for the strategy. If this is done then there is a higher chance for success and accomplishment of the strategy. How do strategies affect daily life?