When public and private sectors are strong and business and government leaders work together, society as a whole benefits. What happens in the business sector directly impacts the economy and individual access to wealth and success. At the same time, government actions influence the private sector’s ability to create jobs, provide benefits and compete in a world market. The private and public sectors are part of the whole economy.
Too many times, however, we act like it’s us vs. them.
Business leaders can learn lessons from public officials and politicians at the local, state and national levels. Quite often, I have an opportunity to share business insights with political leaders who are interested in learning how a particular legislative move might impact the business community. This is big-picture thinking. This is acting as a public servant and working for the people. In that spirit, here are three lessons that the government can learn from business to create a stronger society.
Collaborate with others to make a bigger impact. We do not operate in a vacuum; our lives are not separated into silos for family, business, investments, faith, community and so on. How can we connect the dots? By asking this question before we take action, we will be more effective leaders. How can we help each other create jobs? How can we boost the economy? How can we create more opportunities for vendors, suppliers, clients, friends and neighbors? How can we help others generate more profit and do more good? When businesses thrive, they pay more taxes, which benefits the government, which, in turn, benefits the people. One success leads to another.
Consider the stakeholders
How will the decisions you make impact the people who matter most to you in life? How will they affect your family, your employees, your vendors, your clients or your community? Slow down and consider the potential outcome of your actions. Who are you helping? Who might you unintentionally hurt? Who will benefit? How can we all improve?
Follow consistent leaders
There are lots of talking heads in politics and in business. There are public officials who deliver party lines and sound bites. They have a self-serving agenda.
The same is true in business. There are CEOs who are so engulfed in their successes that they forget how they got where they are, or what their purpose is. They ride the tide of what’s popular rather than having tough conversations. They don’t want to lose their office, the public’s vote, a big client, or whatever. They may be polished, but they are not consistent. They are not in touch with their stakeholders.
Successful leaders know what they are doing and where they are going. Their values and ethics do not change to please a voter or client. When we are honest and consistent, when we know where we’re going and what we’re doing, we get more done. We help others.
Umberto P. Fedeli is president and CEO at The Fedeli Group