Political, business leaders must epitomize the strength of compromise

Washington has been in full swing this summer, playing the blame game rather than solving our nation's problems.

Washington has been in full swing this summer, playing the blame game rather than solving our nation's problems.

Yet, our research tells us that voters and shareholders are hungry for leadership from both the public and private sectors. The August recess is a good time for business and government leaders to examine the need to work together to move the US forward.

When they return this fall, lawmakers will face a roadblock: a November election and two largely divided political parties that often view compromise as weakness.

The challenges the nation faces are too important to be blocked by such thinking. We continue to fight two wars, an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and an uncertain economic recovery, just to cite a few of the ongoing crises.

These problems will require compromise between Democrats and Republicans, the House and Senate, even the White House and a Democratic-controlled Congress. The association between business and government is consequential to getting the country back on the right track.

That relationship has reached a key juncture. Despite government intervention to avoid a financial and housing collapse, bail out the auto industry, and inject $787 billion into the economy, industry leaders find themselves squarely in the Washington spotlight.

Relations between business and government are strained.

While corporate executives are understandably reluctant to engage, the problems will not be sufficiently resolved without their leadership. Those in the business community who simultaneously serve shareholder needs and advocate for achieving goodwill are going to earn the respect of opin- ion elites and American citizens.

Polls show the public is dissatisfied with elected officials and corporate executives. They also seek leadership. They respect those who do not wait for others to take action, but who are instead leading the charge and making a difference. People like Bill Gates and T. Boone Pickens.

Business and government leaders share common goals. They can join forces to create a platform that demonstrates compromise is a strength that can move the US forward - not a weakness that will stifle momentum.

America needs leaders to challenge old ideas with new ways of thinking and advance agendas that serve public good. Despite the obstacles, when business and government leaders return to Washington this fall, America wants compromise and commitment to lift the country into a new era of growth and prosperity.

Debra Cabral is the GM of FD Public Affairs.

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