Volume 14, Issue 6 - November/December 2012

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The World of Politics
by Carl Tompkins

By the time this article reaches you, you should be well engulfed in the arena of politics as we wrap up the 2012 voting for the next president of our country. So how did you vote? From the very start of the campaign, I believed that just about anyone running for president could beat Obama. However, the more that the competing candidates talked, the greater my doubts grew. What a mess we’re in. At times, I have the feeling that the winner of this election is going to be the next loser. Oh, the world of politics!

Blood Suckers?
My attitude toward politics was tickled a dash when I heard a speaker provide this definition: “‘Poli’ in the Latin stands for any or all, while ‘tic’ is a blood sucking creature.” Upon further investigation, the true meaning and essence of politics is the act of living together as a group or community. Whether we like it or not politics, by definition, causes everyone to be involved, and it is our duty to do what we can to make “community” work and work well, whether we are referring to our country, our town, our local church or service club, or our industry. What follows are the leading subjects that cause the term “politics” to have a bad reputation, both in government and business, and what we can do to turn the image around to mean something positive and significant for everyone.

American author, columnist and radio commentator Cal Thomas once stated: “One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician’s objective. Election and power are.” While this represents one particular opinion, it is safe to say that the element of “truth” is critical. I’ve found that where truth fails to lead, trust fails to follow. To avoid this negative connotation of politics in business, make sure that truth prevails. When “trust” is lost, so is the business.

Yahoo ran a voter survey asking what it was that people disliked most about politics. The top answer revolved around the negative press supplied by the media. When the political news revolves around only the negative elements of any given situation, it leaves a lasting negative impression upon the audience.

As a result, people have a bad feeling about politics. The subject arena here easily can fall within the bounds of integrity. In business, all too often there arises idle gossip or formal presentations of half-truths, which can be very unjust and damaging to the victim. A very simple rule to enforce and live by is to never allow a comment to be made that you would not be willing to make while in the presence of the person being discussed.

The National Post in January of this year offered an insightful report on the “greed” that has corrupted politics as well as corporate America. It has led to an all-time high in distrust felt by Americans nationwide. Greed is a nasty subject in all cases because it benefits the few while devastating the many.

Doing the Right Thing
In business, the simple yet powerful Golden Rule applies. When followed, it allows for the most effective thinking toward goals and problem-solving. A great proof comes through the late Chuck Colson, as he shared a great story during his daily commentary, “Break Point.”

The story goes that while attending a business conference in Minneapolis that centered on “doing the right thing,” following the 2008 economic collapse, Steve Tourek of Marvin Windows shared how his company faced the need to take drastic financial measures to protect their profitability, having been so negatively affected by the decline in housing starts. The overriding consideration, though, was the impact that layoffs would have on the community—homes, schools, restaurants, etc. Everyone would be hurt due to the size of Marvin Windows’ employment. The decision was to reduce dividends and for top management to take less income, while asking all ranks of employees to share in some of this same burden.

When truth, integrity and the Golden Rule prevails in politics, politics becomes a good thing from which we all will benefit.

Carl Tompkins is the global marketing resources manager for SIKA Corp. in Madison Heights, Mich., and the author of “Winning at Business.”

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