The world of politics has seen a sea change in recent years around exactly who is becoming involved in the field. The days of career politicians from wealthy families deciding the fate of those they represent is slowly changing. In its place, many business leaders are stepping into the political arena to have their say. Naturally the most well-known example of a businessman turned political figure is President Donald Trump in the USA, but figures like business guru Lord Alan Sugar in the UK also wield some power in political circles.
What this shows is that the era of global businessmen moving into politics is well underway. As this trend continues it is likely that we will see global business leaders take centre stage in even greater numbers. But just why is this happening?
Global businessmen aim to change politics
Politics can be a very traditional sphere with tried and tested ways of doing things or the same old ideas being recycled by the same people. This can make politics seem uninspired to the ordinary person and something of an old boy’s club that needs shaking up.
This is exactly where global business leaders can help – the fresh energy and ideas they bring to the table can help solve many problems on a global and national scale. Ex-Prime Minister of Lebanon Najib Mikati showed this could work during his two tenures in office. His experience of building up a successful company in Investcom helped him greatly in bringing fresh ideas and energy to the Lebanese government when he was in charge.
But what other reasons make global CEO’s turn to politics?
- Desire to change things for the better – the modern global businessman often cares as much about helping people as he does about making money. This regard for ethical behaviour sees them hold a real desire to make the world a better place for everyone to live in. As ordinary citizens themselves, business leaders have direct experience of things that need to change that affect them, their workers or their customers. This can be on a national level within their own country but also on a global scale. Making sure that immigrants are treated well when they seek refuge around the world is a great example of this desire to do the right thing.
- Want to make the world a better place – one great advantage that global businessmen have over standard political figures is that they have a much broader view of world affairs. Their business dealings around the planet will have given them a much greater understanding of what affects other cultures and what they can do to help. By moving into politics, they can find a way to make the changes needed to benefit everyone globally.
- Frustration with current political set-up – many businessmen seek to move into politics because they are disillusioned with the current government or status quo. By being active in politics, they have the platform to raise awareness of any pressing issues they feel are being ignored or bring in ideas that they believe will benefit all. On a global scale, they may also feel that opportunities are being missed to trade with other countries or to build warmer relations, something that they then seek to redress.
- Following where others have led – as we have already noted, there has been a real influx in recent years of high-level business leaders moving into politics. This has set an example that current CEO’s are keen to follow. By looking at other businessmen and taking inspiration from them, current CEO’s are persuaded that they could also make the switch.
Consumer demand is key
The world of business has changed almost as much as politics in recent years. The biggest change has been the demand from consumers for businesses to show more social responsibility. Whether it is on specific issue like immigration or gay rights, the public now want to see that their business leaders are using their influence in the right way. This increasing demand from customers has seen more businessmen move into politics to fulfil what is expected of them. This burgeoning brand of CEO political activism not only helps to boost a company’s bottom line but also its overall brand image.
Global leaders can address global issues
The problem with politics sometimes is that it can be introverted with politicians only looking at issues from their own national perspective. Global businessmen, however, have a much wider view of the same issues and how the approach taken by one country can help solve a broader problem. Their experience of leading staff across the globe and dealing with many different cultures is what makes them the perfect politicians for the 21st Century.