I don’t often write political commentary or opinion on this blog but this campaign season has compelled me to at least ask one simple question. If you were hiring one of the two candidates to be an executive for your own company (or other organization), who would you hire? As a former senior executive within the Department of the Navy who made many of those type of decisions in over 30 years of government service – I think it is appropriate to put our (the voters) decision in that context.
Would you hire the candidate who comes with an extensive knowledge of all aspects of your business and has been successful at all levels (despite difficult challenges and environments) or would you hire an “outsider” with no applicable experience or track record and a questionable (at best) and undocumented record in their own business?
Would you hire the candidate who has done extensive research on the issues currently facing your company and who can describe their strategy and approach to those issues or, would you hire the candidate who overly simplifies the issues leading to impractical or ineffective strategies, brags about successes not related to the issues, and who cannot even understand your detailed questions about your specific issues?
Would you hire the candidate who has worked with your company’s leadership to solve difficult problems and who understands the different issues of your entire customer base, or would you hire the candidate who is critical and disparaging towards your company without understanding your work environment or the vast diversity of your customer base both domestically and across the globe?
Would you hire the candidate who shows respect for all people or the candidate who sees diversity as an impediment?
Would you hire the candidate who may not be the most likeable but can perform the duties of the position, or would you hire the candidate who brags about successes (without proof of those successes) who is likely to alienate both your workers and your customers?
Would you hire the candidate whose extensive open record contains many accomplishments but also a few highly public mistakes or would you hire the candidate who has taken all possible steps to keep his or her record a complete secret (even from those he intends to serve -the voters)?
Would you hire the candidate who is likely to continue the success of your company with steady if not spectacular results or would you hire the candidate who brags of instantaneous and miraculous results with no substantiation of approach and who may present a dangerous threat to your company due to conflicts with your long established company values and morality?
In the face of adversity, would you hire the candidate who could express understanding, compassion, and a measured way forward or would you hire the candidate who is likely to be angered, threatened, and/or take such a situation as a personal affront?
Would you hire the candidate that is likely to hire key personnel (eg. Supreme Court Justices) who have a proven history of dedication to the values of your company, customers, and other constituents or, would you hire the candidate who would blindly listen to supporters of a minority of your interested parties independent of likely issues/impacts to be addressed?
Would you hire the candidate whose experiences demonstrate support for your workers wellbeing or would you hire the candidate with a history of sacrificing his commitments to his workers in favour of his own personal balance sheet/reputation?
Would you hire the candidate who has significant experience in making life or death decisions when necessary or would you hire the candidate who puts everything, including human life and decency in profit and loss terms?
Would you hire the candidate who is cautious in describing sensitive issues which might affect your company and/or its competitors or would you hire the candidate who praises your competitors while berating your own company and its leadership?
Would you hire a candidate who could be a source of inspiration to others or would you hire the candidate who is just as likely to be a curiosity or embarrassment to your company and customers?
Would you hire the candidate who sifts through differing opinions and complex position papers in order to make an informed decision or one whose opinion is primarily influenced by a Twitter feed?
Would you hire the candidate who has actually achieved results for the disadvantaged in your company or customer base or will you choose the candidate who has had little life experience with the concept of disadvantage and looks upon those in that condition as either undeserving or flawed?
While these considerations might sound slanted (they are), they are the kinds of things that every executive weighs when making important personnel decisions. We collectively are about to make such a decision. I hope that you will consider this “checklist” of evaluation factors or, even better, make one of your own before you take the next and most important action – to VOTE!