Brain Dump

The Business of Politics

by on May.09, 2012, under Ruminations and Ponderings

Politics has become an accepted means of conduct within government and has also infested most of the business arena as well. What is it really, and is this a good thing?

First we need to look at what it was, and then look at what it has become. In its conception, it was by definition  “the practice or study of the art and science of forming, directing, and administrating states and other political units; the art and science of government;” As time has progressed, its definition has not. In fact it has digressed to now mean something entirely different. Now politics is defined as ” any activity concerned with the acquisition of power, gaining one’s own ends” and might I add that this is often at the expense of others, those whom it was intended to protect.

With this in mind, gone are the days of a government for the people, of the people, and by the people. We now live in the days of a people for the government and the tail is waging the dog. We certainly are not a government by the people as the vast majority of politicians are lawyers. We face the high cost of insurance of every kind for one reason. Lawyers push us to sue each other so they can get a commission. It is to their advantage that we fight amongst ourselves. Nothing is our fault, but there must be someone else we can blame and get them to pay us money.

So someone spills coffee on themselves at a major fast food restaurant and a lawyer convinces them that it wasn’t their fault and wins a major settlement for himself and the person that made the mess in the restaurant. They said that the coffee was too hot and that the cup wasn’t labeled as hot. This same person, would have undoubtedly complained if it had not been hot enough. The other question that goes unanswered is what would have happened had the coffee been spilled at home? Who could be blamed in this case and would they sue themselves?

In any event, this is the mindset that is running the country. We promise the opportunistic parasites of our society “free” stuff for which others will have to pay, in exchange for their vote.

As a result, we will no longer get the best candidate for public office, but instead, only those who are willing to run the gauntlet of ridicule, turmoil and mud-slinging. It’s not about what each candid has to offer and how the country can benefit from what they can provide as much as their ability to eliminate the other candidates while determining what the public wants to hear. After the election, they proceed by working towards their own end. Catering only to those who can benefit them. We have political parties at fighting amongst themselves with very little, if any concern for those whom they were elected to serve.

What does this look like in business? The answer, and definition is much the same “any activity concerned with the acquisition of power, gaining one’s own ends“. It’s not about what is best for the company or even the customers they serve, but what is best for the political individual within the company. Unfortunately, many times this is just to feed egos and satisfy their cravings for power and control. As a side note, many times these are the same people that voluntarily relinquish control to a brown bottle or equivalent libation.

In order for this person to advance within the business arena, they have to eliminate the competition. It is no longer based on professional ability, but more of an act of taking from others. If you can obstruct, or by some means, impede anyone that poses a threat to your getting what you want, you can then paint them in a bad light. This compensates for your lack of professional ability and allows you to start the process of “promoting yourself at the expense of others”. In so doing, you have also reduced the effectiveness of a company asset which is by no means in the best interest of the company. Is this not sabotage?

A little leaven, leavens the whole loaf. Once this culture gets started, it requires everyone to expend energy outside of what the business prime directive is, to stay on top of who trying to promote themselves at your expense. A company should be one team working together for a common goal and that could be to stay in front of, or to get in front of a competing company, or just make the best use of their resources. This would mean that everyone within the same company is on the same team, but in fact with the infection of politics, they are competing with each other. In the New Testament book of Matthew, chapter 12, verse 25, Jesus tells us that “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:

We have all heard the old adage of battle “divide and conquer “. This is self-inflicted on many businesses today and while they may survive, they have denied themselves the pleasure and profit of reaching their real potential that can only be achieved through self-appointed teams.  Unfortunately, such teams can not thrive, nor survive within the political environment. The sad fact of the matter is that one person, in the midst of an unsuspecting team, seems to be enough to infect a functioning team and bring it to its knees, rendering it impotent towards greatness.

I used to work for a large company of over 20 thousand employees and the CEO promoted what is referred to as the “Golden Rule” “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. This is a paraphrase of Jesus sermon on the mount and is found in the New Testament book of Matthew, the 7th chapter and the 12th verse which says “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them. . .

This proved to be an extremely valuable business directive which became evident after the CEO retired and the “new guy” took over. This was put aside, along with the practices that fell under this directive, and as a result, it was the beginning of the end. While they are still in business, they will never be what they once were.

The same holds true with the American government. We have tossed aside, or re-interpreted the principles on which this country was founded and as a result, this once great country will never again be what it was. It has become infected with a redefined form of politics.

In essence, politics has been redefined as the advancement of few at the expense of many.

What is the takeaway from this? It’s a changing world around us and that may not be a good thing. We need to be aware of what politics is today. We need to know what it looks like and what it does to our government and businesses. Next we need to make sure that we are not propagating or participating in promoting one at the detriment of others.

We need to treat others as we would have them treat us, even when they aren’t looking, or may never be aware of. We need to look out for the interest of others and not just ourselves. We need to consider how our actions, or the lack thereof affects others. We are all born self-centered but with functional parenting, we are ushered out of our narcissistic state. Unfortunately, too many parents have been more concerned with promoting comfort than character rendering adult children who now promote themselves at the expense of others.

Politics, as it is practiced today, is one of the most destructive forces known to man as it silently cripples governments and businesses.

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