The corporations did what with our money?

Many of you are criticizing certain corporations for misuse of public funds. But I'd like to call a time out on all this whining.

We're in a crisis people and the last thing we need is for a bunch of taxpaying Americans to start questioning what a bunch of corporate executives do.

Did we criticize the single mother who puts her son's diabetes medication on VISA and can't make the minimum payments on her 30 percent interest Citicard?

I think not.

Do we sit in judgment of the manufacturing worker who is behind in his mortgage payments because he wasn't responsible enough to put a years worth of expenses in the bank before he lost his job?

I don't think so.

So why would we criticize our nation's finest financial institutions simply because they don't know how to manage money? Who are we to sit in judgment of a huge corporation that pays their people million-dollar bonuses for poor performance?

It's not like these people are professional managers. These are executives who run billion-dollar companies. Do you honestly think that they have time to look over the financials or come up with a comp plan that rewards good performance instead of bad?

Hello? When are they supposed to play golf and decorate their offices?

Now I'm a consultant, and I usually charge for my work. But I'm also an American, and I consider it my patriotic duty to help my country out in its time of need.

So I'm going to take one for the team here and provide these folks with a little bit of free advice. Because unlike some of the rest of you judgmental citizens who are whining about your kids' money being spent on beachside pina coladas for a bunch of executives. I don't think this is an ethics problem, it's a training issue.

And I'm here to help, yes siree, I'm just a regular corporate Florence Nightengale. Here's my just-in-time tourniquet to help these fine folks stop the bleeding.

1. Bonus = good job. It's usually a nice idea to tie your bonus plan to some kind of, uh, what do they call it, oh yeah, performance measurements. Here's a simple formula to follow, you know that number at the bottom of the P&L? Right across from where it says net profit? If that number is in red with brackets around it, the people responsible don't get extra money.

2. Expect people to work. Now this can be tricky because in the financial world the definition of work is somewhat slippery. But here's a good test: If they have a really good tan, and it's winter, and your company is in the middle of a crisis, chances are they're not putting in 12-hour days trying to figure out how to save us money.

3. Retain talent, fire bloat. I know it's tempting to want to keep all your buddies around, and what's a few million to retain someone who is a hoot at company parties? But the standard HR practice is that you pay people extra for staying when they actually improve the performance of the organization. If they run it into the ground, you give them a little thing called a pink slip.

I hope this helps and that the good people running these firms don't have to struggle much longer. Because it would be a crying shame if they stayed in the dark forever.

Snellville resident Lisa Earle McLeod is a nationally recognized speaker and the author of "Forget Perfect." Contact her at www.forgetperfect.com.