Friday, July 22, 2016

The Art of Politics

 I heard recently that less than 50% of us want our politicians to make decisions based on logic. 

This data is from 2 years ago and the person recently commenting on the phenomenon says it's gotten worse in terms of compromise. At the writing of this, Senator Ted Cruz was rebuked and applauded for taking a stand at his party's convention and not endorsing a rival who had insulted him and didn't agree with the Senator's positions.

The story below illustrates how politics works and of course, points out that none of this has anything to do with what's best for other people or organizations. It's driven by what's best for the person making the deal. You might say this is win-lose. But people wouldn't say, "Ok" to a deal unless they thought they were getting something in return: credibility, connections, conflict avoidance, clout for the future...In business we have lots of reasons to agree to a deal that isn't good for us: cash requirements, capacity utilization, fear of antagonizing an influential customer...How often are you swayed by opportunities to compromise? How often do you stop being fair in order to treat everyone equal?*

 I told my son, “You will marry the girl I choose.” He said, “NO!” I told him, “She is Bill Gates’ daughter.” He said, “OK.” I called Bill Gates and said, “I want your daughter to marry my son.” Bill Gates said, “NO.” I told Bill Gates, My son is the CEO of World Bank.” Bill Gates said, “OK.” I called the President of World Bank and asked him to make my son the CEO. He said, “NO.” I told him, “My son is Bill Gates’ son-in-law.” He said, “OK.” This is exactly how politics works . . . Thanks Bill Keller for the story!

* If you don't understand the difference between fair and equal, think about this example: if you were going to split a pizza between a linebacker and a ballerina, giving them equal portions is not fair because it's not what they want/need or deserve. If you have two employees who have 3 tardies, one is a single mother who struggled to get a sick kid to alternative child care and works overtime when asked, and the other is a known party animal and never exceeds satisfactory efforts, would you really treat them equally or would you be fair?

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