Monday, September 04, 2006

Is that "business background" relevant?

The upcoming Massachusetts Governor's election is the latest to host multiple candidates touting successful business careers as omens of success. I'm leery of the blanket "business background" is good mentality. You have to dive to the second-level questions to really understand whether a business background is relevant. Given what is important in Massachusetts, below are some relevant second order questions for the candidates:

  • Did you have P&L level responsibility (with P&L interpreted widely)?
  • Did you spend more than 70% of your time in business on execution as opposed to process (e.g., not HR, legal, finance., etc)
  • Were you in charge of the strategy for your business?
  • If you were on a board of directors, did you ever vote against the CEO and with the minority?

Frankly, if the answer to any of the above questions is no, their business background isn't that relevant to the needs of Massachusetts which needs a Governor that will give this state some vision, sign up for results and execute.

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