We often hear the argument that a country should be run like a business. We hear that politicians are talentless and that they have no knowledge about the real life. The people who are standing on the side shouting this are usually people who are (or claim to be) successful in business.
The people who think a country should be run like a company are everywhere – and they are loud, but they rarely go into politics themselves. For some strange reason they prefer standing on the side shouting instead of using their phenomenal leadership skills to actively do their country good.
Running a business is easy
Running a business is easy compared to running a country. As a business owner/leader you can control a lot of the parameters yourself. You set the goals yourself. You don’t have to agree with each and every employee which priorities the company should have. In fact you can choose all your employees yourself and if you stop appreciating them you can fire them.
So you can decide, which way to go only surrounded by the people you like. It is not that bad – is it? I really don’t think that the business leaders standing on the side shouting at the politicians appreciate how fortunate they are. And they are certainly far more naive than you would expect, if they believe that they can run a country the same way as they run a company.
The so-called president of USA is trying to run USA as one of his companies with executive orders and we can all see how that is going. And he was not even successful in business.
As a business owner/leader you don’t have any social responsibility unless it fits well into your self-branding. You only have to focus on make your own company as profitable as possible. That is easy compared to having 100 different stakeholders that pulls you in different directions
Running a country is difficult
Running a country is far more difficult and challenging unless it is a dictatorship or oligarchy. In a democracy don’t set your own direction. You have to negotiate and win majority support for your visions and ideas. If you fail to do this you are no longer the leader.
In a democracy you don’t set your own team. You can’t get rid of the unproductive elements. Not only are you stuck with them, but they can also vote against you and remove you from power.
In a democracy every single member has some requirements he or she wants fulfilled and they look for the politicians who are willing to work for their priorities. As a politician you have some core values, but if you are in the government you have to serve everybody in the country not only your own supporters. The so-called president has tried to do this the first couple of weeks, so no need for further explanation.
What can politicians and business leaders learn from each other?
For a start I think business leaders should start respecting politicians more because politicians are leading in an environment where most business leaders wouldn’t have a chance. Most business leaders simply don’t have the negotiation skills good politicians have. I think it is morally unacceptable that people are standing on the side complaining but refuse to take on the responsibility of changing the current situation themselves. I find it hard to accept that attitude.
I fully understand and accept that business leaders don’t want to go into politics, but as a minimum they should respect the people who do – simply because:
- Most businesses are successful because they operate in an environment that creates opportunities and stability for them – an environment largely created by politicians, who had a vision about how the society should look like.
- The cociety provides infrastructure that makes it easier for the businesses to operate.
- The society negotiates trade agreements and remove toll barriers so thet the companies can do trade across borders more easily.
- The society protects the individuals and businesses physically through the legal system. If someone copies your product the laws of the society will help you claim your rights.
- The society educates its population so it becomes more valuable to your business
- The society provides healthcare so that your workforce remains healthy and productive.
- The successful society distribute the wealth in such a way that the poorest people are better off than most other places but people still have an incentive for perform.
The democracy is at stake
If we don’t ascribe a higher status to politicians the democracies are at stake because we will end up with a very low quality of politicians. We will end up with people people who can’t get a job somewhere else. We will end up with post-teenagers with long educations but zero life experience. We will end up with bankrupt business people who see politics their only way forward.
And we really don’t want that – do we?
Because at the end of the the day we want a free, stable, peaceful society where we have intelligent politicians who can successfully lead the complex organisation a country is. So if you are one of those bigots standing on the side shouting how talentless the politicians are put you actions where your mouth is and show the world how great you are in the most difficult environment. If you don’t have the courage to do that then shut up and leave to the people who has.
In either case we get the politicians we deserve.
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