Why is there so much politics in business and so little business in politics?

Wouldn’t it be nice if really smart people come together and think about how to completely disrupt and change the current political system?

Obviously, I’ve been thinking about politics lately and it struck me how much business logic and thinking there is in politics that is hardly ever used.

In my previous corporate career I climbed the ladder for ten years and with every new step up, the balance between doing actual work (which I immensely enjoyed) and making office politics (which I really hated and was never good at) was tipping gradually but certainly in the direction of office politics. You know what I mean – building coalitions, strategizing about how to do the work with the least effort and the biggest political and PR dividend possible, constantly socializing and making sure everyone is on your side, trying to get as much power (budget and employees) as possible, etc. And all these very useless activities could take up to 80% of a manager’s time. What a waste.

At the same time, there is so much in the business world that a political party can learn from, adapt and use. Actually, creating a new party
is like creating a new start-up.


You need to have an idea, even better - a direct problem that people need solved (i.e. a properly working justice system) – this is your focus. You need to know your target group – who has this need, why, what drives them, what are their fears and hopes. You need to make sure that your product has the right features by prototyping (empathising with your humans first, and then making meetings and happenings to discuss your ideas).

You then have to start thinking about your market. How big is it? How can you reach your target? Is your target primarily a current customer (i.e. a voter) of the competition, or a completely new customer (i.e. someone who has not voted before). The strategies of attracting one versus the other are different, as well as the communication.

Of course in the meantime you also need to get your team together, with people having different roles in it. You have to choose your leader - in the beginning there can be more than one, but at a later stage, you may need to rethink this decision. You have to get some investment (i.e. political donations) in order for the operation to keep going. Your business plan has to be in place and you constantly have to gain more and more traction (new followers).

Well, one trait that politicians shouldn’t take from the business side, especially since they already have plenty of it, is being unable to get out of their comfort zone -
to learn from people that are very different from them,
or situations that they feel uncomfortable in.


On another note, in politics, usually, when something doesn’t work it takes a very long time to realize it, analyse it and fix it. The corporate world based on this influence works very much in the same way. The start-up world doesn’t.  

So maybe if the next political party dares to disrupt the system a bit and organize itself like a start-up, following these principles and ideas, it could gain a lot of traction and, who knows – maybe even win the elections.