The Business of Profit
Let’s propose a scenario. You are the CEO of a large company. Your company has a competitor of approximate equal size and equal capabilities. You and your competitor control, about 50/50 each, 90% of the current market. You are again competing in response to a request for proposal for the largest contract you’ve seen in four years.
Your top executives come to meet with you. They inform you that there are three options. Option A has 36% chance of being accepted. Option B has 42% chance of being accepted. Option C has 47% chance, but the executives believe that if Option C is submitted, it will be the winning contract because the company requesting the proposal actually likes Option C’s account manager, a lot.
You carefully look at the information. You ask questions. What would you do? Most CEOs would not even hesitate or lose sleep over the decision. They would choose Option C. Option C is about making sure you win the contract so you can make money. Option C is the Business of Profit.
The Business of Politics
Here is the scenario proposed as a result of a Bloomberg Political Poll released today. It shows if the United States Presidential Election were held now, the three republicans against the current democrat contender would come out as follows:
Clinton 54% v Trump 36%;
Clinton 51% v Cruz 42%; and
Clinton 42% v Kasich 47%.
The poll data shows that currently Kasich is the only republican that has a chance of winning the election. Also interesting is that Kasich is the ONLY candidate of either party with a positive favorability rating (hence the account manager in the previous scenario that is liked a lot) and Trump has the largest negative favorability rating.
This leads me to an interesting conclusion. The Business of Politics is not about winning the contract. Instead, it appears to be about personal aggrandizement. Take for example Mr. Trump. Let’s call him the executive that backs Option A. The best decision Mr. Trump could make if he wanted to company to win the contract would be for him to withdraw his option and support Option C. Same for Mr. Cruz. However, in the Business of Politics, it is not about winning the contract. Instead, it is about people’s own interests.
Business of Politics and Business of Profit
The fist scenario is written based on a focus of what is best for the company. The second on what is best for the individual. Life is not quite that simple. The Business of Profit and the Business of Politics tend to find themselves intertwined in every scenario. Ultimate success of business and political leaders often ends up being the result of how well the leader deals with the art of dealing with self-interest in order to accomplish the objectives of the organization. It’s More Than Just Numbers!