Keeping Politics Out of Business

Mount Rushmore

As I write this, the 2018 mid-term elections have just concluded.  And as most elections, there are mixed results for both political parties.  Regardless if you are a Republican, Democrat, or Independent it is important to keep those beliefs at home.

Why Limit Your Client Base?

As a small business or startup company, you frankly need all of the clients you can get to keep the lights on.  If you make the decision to let you clients know of your political beliefs, you will have some financial consequences.  And what is the gain?

Recently one of my sales reps was on a call with a vendor and a client discussing a new product they were looking at.  The vendor, who was supposed to convince the customer that their product would meet their needs, made a political joke during the demo.  The response was at least 30 seconds of dead silence.  Finally my sales rep broke the uncomfortable moment and moved on.  After the call the vendor called us back and apologized, but it was too late.  Our client did not buy the vendors product and asked us for an alternative.  This joke was unnecessary and even if the client found it funny, it didn’t actually advance their case at all.  So what was the point?

Another story that is slightly related, I was out with a vendor touring a city when over coffee they launched into a rant about how could anyone possibly believe in God.  I thought this was strange because they would have no idea of my beliefs.  I also was not convinced all of them even agreed.  So I navigated them away from that conversation and on to something else.

Having Beliefs

Just because you have beliefs in a particular cause, political party, or religion does not mean that if you don’t bring it up to your clients you are disloyal to your cause.  Business is not the place for any of these topics and you as a leader need to navigate away from those topics as well as set a standard for your staff.

I have a large enough company now that I hear statements all over the political board.  I do not get involved when my employees debate these topics, it may actually be healthy that they do and lead to good conversations and competitions.  But I sincerely hope these beliefs are not making it to our clients.  I try and let all of our external facing employees know that they need to keep it to themselves.  We need to take care of all of our clients regardless of political or religious beliefs.  We wouldn’t want to discriminate on any level against someone that needs help or wants to work with us.  And for a sales rep, who has a quota, to do this is just moronic!

Keep it to yourself at work and you and your clients will be much happier.  Politics is better left for friends and large family dinners where I am sure everyone loves a political fight during Thanksgiving dinner!