Wednesday, 14 December 2016 05:41

Do Business Leaders Make Good Government Leaders?

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 With the rash of recent appointments by President-elect, Donald Trump, this seems like a good time to ask this question. While there are leadership books abound to attest to the skills needed for successful transitions, change management and leadership development, making the transition from business to government has its challenges.

We can point to a number of successful transitions. Who would have thought an actor from California, Ronald Reagan, would be a successful president? But, we don’t have to go that far back to find successes.

Here are some recent examples of businessmen who have become heads of government in the U.S.:

  • Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.
  • Jon Corzine was governor of New Jersey from 2006 to 2010.
  • Michael Bloomberg was mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013.
  • What kind of conclusions can we make about the effectiveness of business leaders who become political leaders?

    Let’s take a look at a recent appointee.

    President-elect Donald Trump's choice of fast-food leader Andy Puzder as the next U.S. Secretary of Labor is receiving accolades from legal experts. Known to not support the $15 minimum wage initiative, Puzder believes we should focus on driving a $50,000 sustainable wage path.

    "Andy's an excellent choice," says Michael Lotito from Littler Mendelson and co-chair of Workplace Policy Institute. "He is an individual who saved jobs when Hardee's was about to go bankrupt. Andy has also created jobs, but even more importantly, he has created opportunities for people." Lotito notes that most workers rising through the CKE ranks started as crew members, including the current COO.

    It's clear the transition from business leader to government leader may have more to do with point of view and knowledge of the field than just business or government policy making.  What are your thoughts? We recommend reading “Reinventing Leadership” by Barbara Kellerman, which can be found at:  https://www.amazon.com/Reinventing-Leadership-Connection-Politics-Business/dp/0791440729

    --By Catherine Upton

     

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