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Business people seldom make good elected officials February 8, 2010

Posted by fetzthechemist in Uncategorized.

California has a couple of interesting political races going, at least from a demographics and personality dynamics standpoint. Meg Whitman, the founder and former CEO of EBay, is the leading contender for the Republican nomination for governor. Carli Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is running for the Republican nomination for the US Senate seat held by Democrat Barbara Boxer.

I cannot support either, partly because both are running as conservative Republicans, but more so because business leaders are not often able to transfer well into a political position. Why do I say this? Business success is based on several qualities that are bound to failure in the rough-and-tumble of politics. Arnold Schwarzenegger proves these points. Success in other venues is self-centerred and compromise and negotiations are less prevalent than in governmental workings. If you try to tout “the people’s will”, you go nowhere fast (just ask President Obama about that!).

Show-business people also can fall into this pattern, like the Governator. One huge exception was Ronald Reagan, who both through his personality and through his presidency of the Screen Actors Guild union had learned negotiation and consensus-building.

Bosses are used to giving orders and having them followed by everyone. Politics is like herding cats.

Business leaders are used to getting their own way, by force of will or the powers they hold. They often either never get good counsel because or brown-nosing or kowtowing to their authority – the boss hears what he or she wants to hear.



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