Take the Campaign With a Grain of Salt
"The American presidential campaign is an extremely long exercise in personal branding. It's important to remember that candidate positions are meant to highlight their individual differences. The reality is somewhere much less extreme than what is being postured," according to Linda Popky, president of Redwood Shores, CA-based strategic marketing firm Leverage2Market Associates, and author of the book Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing That Matters.
"Smart marketers know there will be business opportunities no matter who prevails. They are prepared to take action now to secure business and build market share—offering compelling alternatives to those buyers who might otherwise be wary of the ongoing uncertainty," she said.
Executives Need to Stay Steady
"The upcoming presidential election campaign is having a major negative effect on morale and mood in the United States," points out Leslie Austin, Ph.D. and executive coach with over 25 years of experience with C-Suite executives and leaders.
"Candidates are creating a polarized field between fear and optimism. In this turbulent, emotionally charged time, CEOs and leaders need to be clear-headed and even-handed, maintaining a consistent, stable mood in their companies and in coaching their executives to do the same."
Hiring Wisely and Maintaining Leadership Are Key
"The outcome of the US presidential election is unlikely to have a dramatic impact on key decisions of the Fortune 500. Mergers and acquisitions will continue, successful businesses will continue to thrive. And the best companies will keep a laser focus on hiring wisely and developing exceptional leadership and an inspired workforce," states Liz Bywater, PhD, leadership expert and President of Bywater Consulting Group.
Focus Where You Have the Most Leverage
"The next eleven months represents a remarkable opportunity for business leaders to outperform their competition," said Bill Sanders, Managing Director of Roebling Strauss, Inc., San Francisco, CA. "The increasing partisan nature of the political conversation will continue to result in exaggerated claims of the potential damage the "other party" will do if elected.
"Now, while everyone else's attention and energy is focused on fear mongering, it's the time to ignore the noise and concentrate in the area in which you have the most influence: growing your business."
Need for Inclusive Cultures Grows
"No matter how chaotic, controversial or nasty the upcoming election campaign becomes, businesses will still need people who are productive, innovative and can work together across differences," said Simma Lieberman, a thought leader on cultural inclusion strategy located in Berkeley, Ca.
"Organizations will still need to establish inclusive cultures so employees can contribute new ideas, solve problems, and be successful. Due to the vitriol being espoused towards specific groups, creating inclusion will be even more important to combat potential conflicts between groups and the increase in silos based on demographics.
"The key to people doing their best work is to not be swayed by the use of divisive politics which can hurt productivity and profit," said Lieberman.
"While the decision of who to vote for is critical, the next twelve months will be full of temptations to start late, get off track, and fail to execute, as we indulge in digesting the fast-food diet of empty political calories tossed at us," said Karen Eber Davis, of Sarasota, Florida, author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams.
"During the forthcoming barrage, it will be more important than ever to focus on your strategies to grow income," Davis said.
Innovation and Intellectual Property Growth Will Not Slow
"Next year's presidential election will not slow the growth in innovation by companies, as reflected in trademark and patent filings," said Erik Pelton, a trademark attorney and former USPTO examiner in Falls Church, Virginia. "No matter how contentious the election, companies will continue innovating and creating intellectual property in 2016 because the economy, and their competitors, will move forward regardless of the election results."
Maintaining Business Focus is Critical
"The coming 2016 elections will be a distraction for most businesses," notes Roberta Matuson, The Talent Maximizer®, president of Matuson Consulting and author of Talent Magnetism and Suddenly in Charge.
"Companies will be making moves based on their own predictions, when in fact they should be focusing on how to keep their businesses on track regardless of the outcome. Concentrate on attracting and retaining the right people, and you will thrive in 2016 and beyond," she said.
Clarity May Be Sacrificed
"The current political climate provides a perfect example of zero clarity," says Ann Latham, president and founder of the Boston consulting firm Uncommon Clarity, Inc.
"As long as our elected officials insist on staking their identities on alternatives before agreeing on objectives, it won't matter who wins the election. There will be no effective compromise, problem solving, or innovation. Business leaders are left with three choices: wallow in the uncertainty, blame others for their lack of success, or take charge of their future."
Election Rhetoric May Hurt Hispanic Businesses
"The 2016 elections have the potential to negatively impact Hispanic market investment among U.S. businesses," said Terry Soto, president and CEO of About Marketing Solutions, Inc., and author of the book Marketing to Hispanics: A Strategic Approach to Assessing and Planning Your Initiative. "In spite of the country's explosive Hispanic market presence, contribution to the economy, and impact on past election outcomes, the upcoming election and the rhetoric around immigration have the potential to slow already hesitant business leaders from investing on improving their companies' relevancy among US Hispanics.
"As is, over half of this country's corporations do nothing to leverage the growing Hispanic market for growth. The Republican party has done as much a disservice to their party by ignoring Hispanic voters' power at the polls as Republican business leaders are likely to do to their businesses by ignoring Hispanic consumers as drivers of business growth."
Immigration, Tax Code Uncertainty Slow Decisions
"Uncertainty regarding who will ultimately be elected President in 2016 will delay strategic planning," said Mark Richman, a Boca Raton, FL-based technology strategist and consultant.
"Regulatory factors such as potential changes to the tax code will have implications for companies considering inversions and offshore investments. Immigration policy will impact decisions to hire US citizens, outsource, or hire H1B visa workers. Committing to a strategy and incurring the expense of execution before a presidential victor is clear is a big gamble, regardless of who wins," Richman added.
Small Business Strengths Often Ignored
"Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) drive over half the economy in the US. Yet, this economic heart is ignored in political strategy due to the short-term focus on winning votes instead of strengthening the strongest economy in the world," said Phil Symchych, president of SYMCO & CO. (www.symcoandco.com), an expert in business growth and coauthor of The Business Wealth Builders. He resides in Regina, Canada.
"It's easy to ignore SMEs because they're small and they're too busy running their businesses. However, you ignore them at your peril," Symchych said.
Political Involvement is Key
"There will be an increasing amount of political ‘noise' praising and damning candidates over the coming year," points out Keith McLeod, president of Business Centre.
"How do you overcome not being the ‘800-pound gorilla' in terms of money and employees to convince candidates to listen to your point of view? You make an impact by establishing a personal relationship with the candidate and their staff now. You might even consider a role in their campaign, since closer to the election, candidates will become more isolated.
"It doesn't have to be the presidential campaign; there are critical state, county, and city races impacting your business as well," he said.
Lasting Change Requires Changing the Culture
Dr. Maynard Brusman, a consulting psychologist, executive coach and emotional intelligence-based leadership development expert, notes, "If the new American president is a Democrat, there is a strong push to increase taxes. If the president is a Republican, exactly the same thing is likely to happen—very little change. A toxic political atmosphere of self-interest is not prescient for supporting a business environment that cultivates growth-based business decisions."
According to Dr. Brusman, "In business, to change an organization you have to significantly change the leadership and culture. Career politicians are going to give us bigger government, higher debts, and decreased individual prosperity. It's too early to tell, but American voters appear to want an outsider who hasn't been corrupted by a polarized system. Donald Trump's appeal to his supporters is that he will negotiate better deals when making business decisions."
Election Also Impacts Non-Profits
Businesses are not the only organizations that will be watching election returns closely. Nonprofit organizations, and the charitable foundations and donors who fund them, will also likely take an interest as they anticipate funding streams from governmental and non-governmental sources, says philanthropy consultant Kris Putnam-Walkerly of Putnam Consulting Group. "While some foundations prefer to play the role of social venture capitalist, others concentrate on expanding existing services. Both of those roles are affected by the amount of government funding invested in nonprofit organizations.
"Foundations are also watching the debates in Congress over whether or not to apply more restrictions to the field of philanthropy. Election outcomes can play a key role in those discussions," she adds.
No Time for Indecision
"Most of my clients are concerned about the upcoming elections and the impact on their business growth and profitability; however, it hasn't yet made a noteworthy impact on their decision-making process," points out Lisa Anderson, The Manufacturing ConnectorSM and president of LMA Consulting Group, Inc., Claremont, CA.
"My clients are tempted to delay decisions until more information is known; however, the most successful ones carry on with the best information available. They continue to innovate, find and source top talent, successfully navigate complex supply chains, and collaborate with customers and suppliers. Success will not wait! Speed rules the day in manufacturing and distribution."
The American Economy Will Continue to Thrive
According to SAC CEO Alan Weiss, PhD, "The American election cycle is the longest in the world, occupying nearly two years of media attention and scrutiny.
"Therefore, by the time of the actual election, every alternative and possibility has already been discounted. The underlying economic engine will supersede election results, and that engine currently appears to be exceedingly strong, which should foster investment and expansion," Dr. Weiss notes.