January 10, 2013

Chris Christie 1, Congress 0

Chris Christie 1, Congress 0

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie understands what leadership is. For him, it’s the willingness to put politics aside to stand up for what’s right.

When President Obama declared New Jersey a disaster state within 24 hours of Hurricane Sandy, thus clearing the way for desperately needed federal aid, Christie had no compunction about crossing the aisle to publicly laud —and even to hug – him. And that was just six days before the presidential election for which Christie had actively campaigned for Mitt Romney.  No matter. The Democrat-in-Chief stepped up for New Jersey, and the Republican governor did not hesitate to reciprocate.

When Speaker of the House John Boehner failed to bring the disaster aid bill to a vote, Christie laced into him. Never mind that the Speaker is the majority leader of the governor’s own party. “The House of Representatives failed the most basic test of public service. It was disappointing and disgusting to watch,” he said, placing the blame squarely at Boehner’s feet.

This is a man who speaks and acts his conscience. And more importantly, he does what he’s paid to do:  put his constituents’ well-being before his own political aspirations. If more people in Washington followed his example, maybe Congress would rate higher than cockroaches and traffic jams on the Public Policy Polling survey.  Although I don’t live in his state, I would welcome the opportunity to cast my ballot for Chris Christie one day for national office.

If Washington can take a lesson from Chris Christie, so can the rest of us. Acting your conscience is a pretty reliable way to make sure that you are deciding in the best interest of those most impacted by those decisions. From the most mission-critical challenges involving growth and profitability, to the myriad routine daily matters of running a company, business managers (myself included) could do worse than to be guided by how those decisions will be received by clients and customers, shareholders, employees and the communities in which we do business.

In 2008, when the economy stalled, Marcum made the decision to pursue future growth through merger and acquisition. I knew that the trajectory of organic growth that had driven the Firm to that point would level off and that the only sure way to stay on target would be through combination with other well-established Firms with strong niche capabilities in key regional markets.

Today, Marcum is among the top 15 largest accounting and advisory firms in the country, with 23 offices, over 150 partners and 1100 professional staff members. Our clients are the greatest beneficiaries of our success, with access to a deep pool of talent that spans industries, service specialties and geographies. But everyone on the Marcum team benefits as well, by being a part of the fabric of a strong and stable enterprise at the front end of our field.

Ensuring that our Firm continues to thrive is a responsibility my partners and I take to heart. And the heart is where the conscience lives.