Could a CFO Run for President?
With non-career politicians doing well in polls, is a CFO candidacy so far-fetched?
If the current presidential-election polls are any indication, the American people are willing to consider someone beyond a career politician in the White House come 2016. With names like Trump, Carson, and Fiorina topping Republicans polls, and outside-the-box politician Bernie Sanders climbing the Democratic ranks, we could have a drastically different election this time around.
Additionally, business leaders with names like Romney, Perot, and Forbes have leaped into the race in prior years. Mitt Romney’s run, of course, took him to the brink of the presidency.
With those thoughts in mind, consider this: Is it time for a CFO to enter the fray?
Some may scoff at the idea, but the parallels to being a superb president and CFO line up in several key facets. When removing political bias from our analysis, we see that several past presidents exhibited traits that might be similar to those of strong CFOs. When examining what the American people look for in a leader, it becomes clear that the right CFO could, in theory, make waves on either side of the aisle in the right race.
A Moral Compass
The American people have reaffirmed in recent years that they desire a shift back to honest, trustworthy leaders with a track record as such. While it would be hard for anyone to meet the bar set by “Honest Abe” Lincoln and his “almost monomaniac” focus on honesty, as described by his wife Mary Todd, Lincoln’s legacy is a benchmark many leaders will continue to hold in high esteem.
The tribulations Lincoln went through during his presidency obviously dwarf any hardship CFOs face on their most difficult days, but a quality financial officer and leader knows that treating each situation and individual with truth and integrity sets an honest tone for the rest of the interaction.
Lincoln did this even with his staunchest opponents, allowing for resolutions to come about even amid bitter rivalries. Lincoln’s honest pragmatism allowed him to cut past political pleasantries and focus on the pressing tasks at hand. As CFOs, we take this approach as well to tackle difficult issues that often have emotions running high. If we remain honest and moral, the task will be completed as such. Read more on CFO.