Wednesday, February 27, 2013
You are a popular governor with aspirations for higher office. You are Republican. Your supporters expect you to be against Obamacare and an expansion of Medicaid. But, the Federal enticement to expand Medicaid is too good. What do you do? Follow the herd of Republican governors who have already signed up. That's exactly what the Governor of New Jersey did. From a PR perspective, it was smart. He allowed seven other Republican governors to go first. He can't be accused by his supporters of going it alone. On the other hand, by signing up for expansion of health care benefits, he looks caring to tens of thousands of voters. The story would have been different had he inked the agreement on his own in the face of united opposition. Politicians play with perceptions like this constantly, and it is instructive for the corporate world. There is a time to lead and a time to follow. Smart CEOs know which course to take. Like a politician, they learn to count support carefully, especially now when shareholders are restless and have more power. In many ways, CEOs have become politicians whether they accept the fact or not. They can learn by watching the better practitioners in the political realm.