How A Visiting Martian Evaluates Candidates For Political Office

A visiting Martian has an advantage over Earthlings. He is objective. He has no history with us. How things came to be the way they are is not relevant to his decision making. He examines what is objective reality, calculates what should change and chooses a method to get there.

In choosing a political candidate he would examine six characteristics.

Character. Warren Buffet has said “that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy.  And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.  You think about it; it’s true.  If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.”

People without integrity are unpredictable.  Anything is possible because they have no limits.  People of character are predictable. They act within their standards.  People of character tell you the truth even when it is unpleasant for them to do so.

Competence as an executive. Many people think executive competence is common. Many also think anyone who can barbeque a hamburger or cook spaghetti can operate a restaurant. People learn executive skill. It is not given and only a few are excellent.

Consensus Builder. If you govern to display your power, you do not care about consensus. If you govern to get the most for the people, you need to involve everyone and to connect with the best ideas. Agreeing with the opposition shows the ability to use the best ideas, wherever they may come from. Disagreeing with good ideas, because they are the opposition, is wrong.

Creed. A candidate with an unshakeable creed is a menace. A politician serves all the people, not just those with whom he or she shares values. Theoretical systems tend to be narrow. Many are untried. A politician must use the best ideas, or in times of restraint the most practical ideas. Jan van de Snepscheut has said, “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.”

Counselors. Leaders need people to show them the practical way to achieve goals and they need to listen to them. They need people with a different viewpoint and a different set of experiences. They need people who disagree with them. They need people who have done similar things not just written or talked about them.

Charisma is important in getting other people to follow you and accept your ideas. If character is not present at the same time, then it is a serious flaw. Charisma without character is a deal breaker.

The future needs a leader who can supply the six C’s. It is time politics took second place behind good governance.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.

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