Jim Himes: A Political Perspective on Decision Making
Today’s guest has made many decisions throughout his career that not only affect him, but the entire country
How do I become aware of and check my biases when making decisions?
What can I do to build up my social capital?
How can I exercise more empathy in my decision-making process?
Paul welcomes Congressman Jim Himes. He has been the U.S. representative for Connecticut’s fourth congressional district since 2009, and was recently named Chair of the Subcommittee on national security, international development, and monetary policy of the House Financial Services Committee.
3 MAJOR POINTS DISCUSSED
- Be wary of your “intelligence” and level of education when making big decisions. Thinking that you are smart and that you know all the answers is a weakness in making good decisions. In fact, it’s a liability. As humans, we’re always at the mercy of our biases. Adding an element of pride over your above-average intelligence or educational attainments will “turbocharge” those biases, because heaven forbid you’re actually wrong. Be aware of your biases, and that your experience is just a tiny part of the sum total of human experiences.
- Social capital is just as important as—if not more important than—monetary wealth. Jim’s entire career, from college to working at Goldman Sachs and The Enterprise Community Partners, to serving in Congress—every one of those steps was facilitated by friends, acquaintances, and former coworkers. Maintaining and building your network is a form of wealth that is widely underappreciated.
- Empathy is important in any situation. When making any decision, especially one that impacts more people than just yourself, you need to see how the situation looks in the eyes of others, and what the outcome of your decision will mean for them. In the realm of American politics today, there has been an alarming drought of empathy. Jim advises us to take a deep breath before making our big decisions, because if others are involved and we focus only on the benefits we or our team reap, these will likely become decisions we regret in the long run.
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE
- Jim’s decision-making framework [02:54]
- How Jim’s unique upbringing influences his personal and professional decisions [06:52]
- Why Jim applied for a Rhodes Scholarship [09:29]
- Getting involved in the financial services industry [10:52]
- Making the pivot into politics [12:29]
- The importance of having a support network [14:21]
- Making decisions in the political sphere [16:08]
- Jim’s experience working on the insider trading bill [19:26]
- What decisions the two parties need to make to become more cooperative or bipartisan [22:05]
- Jim’s reaction to the storming of the Capitol [26:24]
- Decisions that Jim would have made differently [31:00]
ABOUT OUR GUEST
Jim Himes represents Connecticut’s 4th District in the United States House of Representatives where he is serving his fourth term. He is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services, serves as the ranking member of the NSA and Cybersecurity Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and is Vice-Chair of the New Democrat Coalition.
Jim grew up as the child of a single working mom in a small town. As a member of Congress, Jim works hard to provide all American children the same opportunities he had to succeed: access to a first-rate public school, affordable and effective health care, a decent and safe home, and a supportive community.
Prior to his service in Congress, Jim ran the New York City branch of The Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing the unique challenges of urban poverty. Jim’s team led the way in financing the construction of thousands of affordable housing units in the greater New York metropolitan region, often using new green technologies to achieve energy efficiency and reduce utility costs.
Jim’s experience at Enterprise spurred his involvement in politics. Putting his expertise in affordable housing to work, Jim served as a Commissioner of the Greenwich Housing Authority, ultimately chairing the board and leading it through a much-needed program of reforms. Jim went on to become an elected member of his town’s finance board, setting tax and budget policy for Greenwich. Jim has also served as Chair of his local Democratic Town Committee, organizing others in the community to become more active in the political process.
Jim began his professional career at Goldman Sachs & Co. where he worked his way up to Vice President over the course of a 12-year career. There he worked extensively in Latin America and headed the bank’s telecommunications technology group.
Jim lives in Greenwich with his wife Mary and two daughters Emma and Linley.
ABOUT OUR HOSTS
Jon Kramer, Managing Director JMK Solutions www.jmk-solutions.com is a marketing services veteran with 35+ years of experience working with leading agencies, and major consumer packaged goods brands.
Most recently, Jon was the Enterprise Sales Marketing lead at WestRock, a $16B packaging and display company, responsible for interfacing with their largest clients. Earlier, he was CMO of the RockTenn Merchandising Division where he created a shopper-marketing team, and go-to-market strategies for the Henkel company. He was also responsible for providing the selling organization with insights into the evolving US retail environment.
Previously, Kramer served for 10 years as CEO of J. Brown, the Shopper Marketing agency of Grey Worldwide. He was responsible for creating the organizational positioning and strategy, and led all new-business efforts. During his tenure, J. Brown became the leading U.S. shopper marketing Agency, virtually defining the discipline.
Paul Kramer’s distinguished marketing career is characterized by a long track record of building high performance communication organizations. His expertise is a unique blend of creativity, technical marketing analysis, and a keen business sense for strategic positioning. Paul’s earlier career included being the CEO of Catapult Marketing, President and COO of Hyper Marketing Inc and President and COO of D.L. Ryan Companies and has sat on Epsilon’s Strategic Management Team.
Paul is skilled in all areas of marketing. He is especially strong in strategic planning, national brand management, marketing communications, and business development. In addition, he has a solid management foundation with accomplishments in P&L management, intellectual property, forming and maintaining strategic alliances and building business.
Today, Paul is the General Partner of Riverside Consulting, a strategic consulting company working with senior leadership to help guide their business’ success.
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