[December 08, 2013] The relationship between government politics, politicians, and political parties on one hand, and other non-political organizations on the other, is fraught with a number of minefields. Today there are enormous risks, perhaps unnecessary risks, to those organizations that establish a visible relationship with one side of the political spectrum.
All leaders, senior leaders in particular, need to be aware that the association of their organization with government politics comes with risks. Those risks can be beneficial or harmful – harmful being the more probable outcome.
Generally speaking, the better the political climate and economy, the less problem there is to let everyone know your organization supports a given political party. Conversely, in the scenario like we have today with the political rancor and sluggish economy, it would seem wise to not associate your business too closely.
Over the past decade, the public’s views on politics, measured a number of ways, has worsened. Congress’ approval rating1 has declined significantly, creating a poor state of affairs for those wanting to publically support government political parties.
The perception of the lack of truthfulness and honesty of politicians also drives the debate. No one wants to be associated with lies and dishonesty, especially if it could be associated with your business or organization. Consequently, some company policies attempt to separate politics and business.
Politics to most people is both a logical enterprise and emotional experience. An organization that is closely associated with a political party or politician risks losing customers, displeasing vendors, and dividing employees who do not agree with that particular political affiliation.
Conventional wisdom says it is best not to place the organization at this unnecessary risk. Such advice is probably the best for small businesses that operate close to the profit margins.
At this time and for the foreseeable future, politics and political divisiveness in America will continue to create risks for organizations whose leadership have chosen to associate politically. Those leaders must then consider the short and long term impacts of that relationship on their customers, business relationships, employees, and other organizations.
 In a survey by YouGov, Congress’ approval rating was 6 percent.