“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
Have we tortured ourselves and each other enough over the past election? If there is anything to be learned from the 24 hour news cycle and the endless punditry parade, it is there is no shortage of opinion on what constitutes truth, justice and the American way. It’s not over yet. During the next few months, many crucial decisions have yet to be made by our leadership, directly affecting the travel industry.
I have watched over the past months as a good many travel professionals used social media forums as a platform to proclaim their political beliefs. In many instances the comments were real reasoned, heart-felt conviction. In others the diatribe represented the political equivalent of those who take doomsday interpretations of the Mayan Calendar seriously, repeating endlessly the most negative attacks of each party already discredited by the fact-checkers.
I’m just not certain what either has to do with the reason consumers should do business with a given company.
Voting is a right and campaigning for your candidate is honorable. Yet we sometimes manage to devolve our civic responsibility into something less attractive. The coarsening of our public discourse has somehow found its way into our marketing.
In a time when politics and religion is so divisive, I have trouble understanding the merit of using your business as a platform to broadcast political opinion. Now if your intent is to alienate roughly 50% of those who read your postings, if you only want to do business with people of your same political and/or religious ilk, then by all means carry on.
I want to humbly suggest, however, that our best vehicle for promulgating our belief systems in our business life comes not from argument or diatribe but from action. Our personality infuses our business ethic. Especially in a business so personal as travel consulting, the integrity with which we act, the way we treat our clients and suppliers is far more telling than any list of convictions.
The way in which we conduct our life says more about the correctness of our philosophies than our political and religious arguments.
I am not suggesting anyone should hide their beliefs from view. To the contrary, I am suggesting in the context of our business we place them on display in the best light possible – in the way we conduct ourselves. Be honest, demonstrate integrity, show compassion and reason. That is the business person we all want to know and with whom we want to work. But when we participate in the angry discourse of the pundits we risk the civility of our nation at large and our business and personal integrity in our own spheres of influence.
Every well-considered thought spoken from compassion contributes to solutions. Every angry word contributes to social pathology. As business leaders in our communities we daily decide to which we will contribute. You are part of an amazing industry with great power to unify people. The choice to me seems easy.
Before your next political post on your Facebook business page, consider the merits carefully. How will it advance your business prospects?
And please chalk up this column as my business endorsement for civility.