November 1, 2010

Keep Politics Out of Your Company

By Paul Bieber

Tea Party. Tax and Spend. Free Speech. Rallies in Washington. The Chamber of Commerce. Freedom of Choice. The Budget. The War. (Is there still a war?) Rush and Glenn. Barak and Nancy. Are you sick of it yet? By the time you read this blog, the election will be over and as a country, we will move on to the new rules of the game.

Following politics is great fun along with serious thoughts. If anyone chooses to ignore the current state of affairs, they are leaving their future to be decided by others. OK, what the heck does this have to do with the glass business?


Yes, you business should have nothing to do with politics. You should keep your personal opinions just that—personal. If you like party A, promoting it at your workplace, and some of your employees like party B, they will realize that their hard work for your profits are going to support party A. This will definitely impact some workers.

Don’t spread your politics at work. Don’t put bumper stickers on your trucks. Just about half of your customers will disagree with your politics. When they go to the yellow pages or to the net looking up a glass company, and if they remember seeing your truck and its bumper sticker, you won’t get a call. This is absolutely true and will impact your business.

If you wear a campaign button on your jacket when you go on an estimate, half of your customers won’t call you back. If you see a lawn sign or a bumper sticker for your candidate, then certainly, discuss your common thoughts. But, be careful, one spouse’s opinion may be different than the other. Tread lightly in this area.

If you make public donations to a candidate or a party, do it in your personal name and not in the name of your company.

Don’t try to influence your employees to vote for A or B. What you can do is encourage them to vote. Give an extra half hour in the morning or evening, or at lunch for people to vote. If you want to educate your employees, give out neutral literature from guaranteed neutral sites, like the League of Women Voters.

You might think there are causes that will help your business…like a bond issue to improve a downtown area. You may want to work for its passage but don’t do it where it will be visible to your staff. If you can take time to work on an issue, why aren’t you out there drumming up business that will bring in more work. Most people will be upset rather than taking the long view that it will help your company in the long run.

Many companies will accept posters to go in their storefront windows. Look carefully before you say OK. Promoting a fund raiser at the local hospital is wonderful, putting an issue or a candidate’s flyer up will raise eyebrows.

What can you do to have your business support the election of your candidate? Take money out in your name, and then donate that money as an individual. Donate your personal services for call-outs or take a day off and hand out flyers. Discuss your candidates/issues with your friends and family, not your employees and customers. Be sure to vote…it is the loudest voice you can have.