My wife and I voted early this past week ahead of next Tuesday’s vote that has local and national implications. Our ballot included voting on local issues such as new school bonds, state legislature Senator and Representative and national votes for US Senator and Congressman.
Without researching for validity, my opinion is that we vote for leaders that we think will benefit us personally and/or make the country stronger economically and perhaps more influential on the world stage. Each election cycle brings its own themes and issues. This go-round, top of mind are: jobs, women’s rights, education and terrorism.
I wonder if we ever think about the parallel between voting for government leaders and “voting” for business leaders. To me, I believe the quality and character of government leaders on civilizations resembles the impact of executives on the culture of organizations. So what are the common attributes are great leadership … or the common fallacies of weak?
Makes me reflect here: “well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news, which would you like to hear first?”. The question itself has significance beyond a coin flip, so most of us want to get the bad news over first, then conclude the story by enjoying the promise of better days ahead.
On the fallacy front, leadership fails when we focus on the short-term … you know, next quarter’s P, or, in the case a government, the latest Gallup poll. Business leadership fails, for example, when headcount reduction is used to fulfill short-term profit projections. Elected leaders fail when elections majority rule ) and laws are overturned by the courts or executive actions. These abuses by both enterprises … business and government … are not tallied immediately in the hearts and minds of the populace or workforce. Short-term we can compromise our individual values … and tolerate by surmising “I guess that’s as good as it gets”. For the long haul the result is societal apathy or corporate disengagement. Disengagement is a “vote” isn’t it?
On the flipside, in my lifetime, good leaders from government would be John Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan; from business: Steve Jobs, Herb Kelleher and Jack Welch. Their common thread was that each had a TRUE North … a compelling cause … mantra … core ideology. It’s interesting, isn’t it, they each had less than perfect character or moral compasses. Despite that I really believe they all had the interest in a greater good as their legacy. Remember Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis? … similarly, Reagan’s actions toward the same USSR threat?
Now, I wonder again. We voted for them, right? So maybe where there is a compelling vision on the part of government or business we’ll “vote” for that. And where there’s not: will “vote” for our own self interests?
I’ll take the TRUE North version of either!!