NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Conventional wisdom suggests that it takes an experienced politician to be President of the United States. With several folks who aren't known best as politicians -- like former Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) CEO Carly Fiorina and Dr. Ben Carson, a surgeon -- entering the 2016 election, let's reexamine that wisdom.
Without endorsing Fiorina or her candidacy specifically, a CEO President could be just what our country needs.
There are many characteristics that make a good CEO that would translate well to the Oval Office:
-- Successful CEOs build their businesses by empowering employees and making people feel valued. When people are confident and empowered, they can accomplish great things. When people are dependent and see no future, the company is doomed. A CEO-President would be best served by empowering and energizing the team around them -- as well as the American people.
-- Successful CEOs are inclusive. It has been long recognized that exclusion, in all of its forms, is bad for business. Good leaders manage diversity in all of its forms. Businesses prosper most effectively when we are inclusive of multiple stakeholders who have different points of view. A CEO-President would consider all points of view before making decisions.
-- Successful CEOs don't lose site of the big picture: return on investment. Shareholders and boards of directors bring a variety of viewpoints to the leader of a company. Yet, they are unified in demanding a return on investment. A CEO-President wouldn't lose sight of what's really important in the position.
-- Successful CEOs look at spending as investments. Capital investments are necessary to move business forward. But not all investments are good ones. A CEO-President wouldn't denounce all taxes as bad, which would be like a business no longer investing in itself, but would figure out which investments are good and which are wasteful. The CEO-President will couch the debate in terms of responsible investment in our collective future and the long term return on that investment.
-- Successful CEOs foster an entrepreneurial spirit. A CEO-President would reinvigorate an entrepreneurial culture of accountability that embraces risk-taking and reduces an environment of entitlement.
-- Successful CEOs understand the useful role that regulations play in society. A CEO-President should come in to office respectful of government's role in society and not as someone waging war on Washington. At the same time, a CEO-President should have good insight into which businesses need more regulation and which need less.
-- Successful CEOs know that ideas are abundant but that clear, effective execution is scarce. In business, if we try to accomplish too many things at once, we often fail. A CEO-President must pick a handful of vital and important tasks to accomplish. When that happens, focused execution is more likely. A CEO-President should be a master at disciplined execution -- someone who knows how to get things done.
-- Successful CEOs take calculated risks. Some pay off while don't. A CEO-President will have to make many decisions that involve risk while in office -- and, unlike in business, these decisions could have life-or-death consequences.
-- Successful CEOs are in touch with their front-line employees. In the case of the President, this means both the team of operatives that work for the White House and in government, but also the backbone of the country: the middle class. A CEO-President should always remember to think about the hard-working middle class when making decisions.
Only time will tell if Fiorina or others who don't have overtly political backgrounds can win the Presidency, but one thing is certain: The country could benefit from a candidate with strong business and leadership skills. Let's be open to the possibility that the right CEO-President could succeed.
Note: This article is not an endorsement of Carly Fiorina for President of the United States. This article is meant to address whether a CEO could succeed as President.