Edit ModuleShow Tags

The fine line between compromise and "Shove it"


I don’t believe this is the best forum for debating politics—though stirring things up is always a bit of fun…

It’s difficult to understand whether our current national politicians have a primary goal of leading and pressing a reasoned course of action or getting and staying elected.

Is the Republican Party’s current debate about potential changes to immigration policy because of values and better alignment with the Constitution’s governing principles, or is it merely to attract more Hispanic voters? Do Republicans who signed Grover Norquist’s Tax Payer Protection Pledge really believe the top income tax rate cannot be changed, or are they afraid the G-man will assault them?

Does Harry Reid really believe taxing the wealthiest among us will help our fiscal problems in a meaningful way, or is he just pandering to the masses of well- meaning but perhaps misguided 99 percenters? Did President Obama’s assaults on the banking industry before the election represent deep-seated beliefs or an understanding of how the issue played in the swing states?

I’m cynical about the answers to all of these questions.

It’s not just elected officials who contract the political disease. When staying in office becomes more important than the reasons for being there, weirdness reigns and trouble ensues—whether political office or the CEO’s suite.

To be the most effective leader possible, I believe you must be willing to get fired or quit. Somewhere between compromise and “shove it,” there’s a line to consider before acting. It’s a different line for everyone, and it moves and situations change, but it’s worth considering before you encounter it. Unfortunately, the amount of the paycheck ends up being one of the most considered factors when executives are presented with otherwise untenable situations.

I recently had lunch with a CEO whose perspective I appreciate. Discussing an upcoming board meeting, he described an issue on which he was at odds with an influential board member. He’d already figured out where his line was, identified his negotiating strategy and considered his options. More leader than politician, he’d determined that staying employed at his current firm wasn’t as important to him as doing the right thing.

Yes, you must get elected to govern and you need to have political skill to get to the C-suite. But as Colin Powell once said, “Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.”

Edit Module
Todd Ordal

Todd Ordal is president of Applied Strategy®. Todd helps CEOs achieve better financial results, become more effective leaders and sleep easier at night. He is a former CEO and has led teams as large as 7,000. Todd is the author of Never Kick a Cow Chip On A Hot Day: Real Lessons for Real CEOs and Those Who Want To Be (Morgan James Publishing, 2016). Connect with Todd on LinkedIn, Twitter, call 303-527-0417 or email todd@toddordal.com.

Get more of our current issue | Subscribe to the magazine | Get our Free e-newsletter

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

Don't abuse your employees with performance appraisals

Did you know that traditional performance appraisal is based on 100-year-old research by behavioral scientist on dogs, rats and pigeons? Stop and think for a moment: How do managers come up with the ratings for the performance review?

Law firms are getting creative with their real estate

Despite rising rents in many U.S. markets, the legal industry can still find opportunities to improve real estate efficiency, according to JLL’s latest annual Law Firm Perspective.

Buena Vista's South Main has the Wright stuff

Buena Vista’s South Main won the 2016 Wright Award for its collaborative spirit, strong vision and a commitment to craft. The winner was one of a dozen peer-nominated contestants from 10 Colorado towns.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Thanks for contributing to our community-- please keep your comments in good taste and appropriate for our business professional readers.

Add your comment: