Selling Competence v.s. Likability

When my father needed quintuple bypass heart surgery we hired the best, most competent cardiac surgeon around.  He happened to be Henry Kissinger’s surgeon too.  Frankly, I don’t recall his name, it was almost 30 years ago.  But, I do remember that he fixed my father and was also abrasive, abrupt, impolite, and just plain rude!  My family overlooked his bedside manner because we weren’t hiring a friend, we were hiring a cardiac surgeon to save my dad’s life.


Listening to President Obama’s campaign rhetoric and his wife’s attempt to personalize and make him even more likable, I couldn’t help but think about hiring that surgeon.  In the business world, if we hired a president based upon likability rather than competence it would be grounds for termination.  In 2008 we hired a president who had never run anything in his life.  We bought the slogans and rhetoric communicated to us by an extraordinary orator who is very likable, a great salesman, and who ran a remarkable internet advertising campaign.  I fear the nation is going to repeat that mistake.


Today, we need a competent executive.  A leader whose goal is to restore the small size of government and the spirit of personal responsibility and performance that made the United States great in the first place.  As has been said repeatedly this election cycle, the choice is clear.  We can choose between an individualist or a collectivist.  President Obama is a collectivist.  Mitt Romney is an individualist.


The primary way out of the Obama recession is growth.  Corporate growth, small business growth, the growth of free-enterprise, and more people working, paying taxes and spending money.  Unbridled growth, not unregulated growth.  When you have a government that challenges and over-regulates business, what you get from bright businesspeople are creative ways to meet and beat those challenges, such as relocating corporate headquarters to other countries.  That needs to be fixed.


He may not be as “likable” as President Obama, however, Governor Romney is best equipped to lead and manage America out of the Obama recession.  He has a pro-business, pro-growth attitude.  We need a competent and pragmatic leader who recognizes that the economy is the single, most important priority and that incentives work.  If you want companies to relocate their headquarters to the USA incentivize that behavior, if you want to influence job training then incentivize it, and so on.  This election is about selling competence more than likability.


© 2012 Steven M. Stroum

Steve Stroum

Steve Stroum

Steven M. Stroum, founder and president of Venmark International is a seasoned publicist, marketer, and entrepreneur who has been featured in INC Magazine, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, Industrial Marketing, OMNI Magazine, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, The Middlesex News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other media outlets. He has also appeared on numerous radio and television programs, addressed many business and civic groups, and been a guest lecturer at Boston College, Babson College, MIT, and his alma mater Northeastern University.

Next Post

Previous Post

%d bloggers like this: