May 2012

Leadership Lessons From The Campaign Trail

Much of what I know about the physics of winning and success has been gleaned from my time on and around the campaign trail. Some people learn the timeless principles of leadership based on their experiences in the boardroom. Others get them in the newsroom or on the playing field—even from the battlefield. Mine have been born from the campaign trail, which is the reason I get on my "soapbox" every now and again to post my observations against the backdrop of breaking political news events.

The campaign trail, just like in the business world, is highly competitive. Because campaigns are launched from scratch every election cycle, they provide the ultimate entrepreneurial showcase. And unique to the campaign environment, it is under the constant glare of the media spotlight that day-to-day executive leadership is on full display. The electioneering laboratory is, therefore, rich with examples of why winners win and losers lose. It is the perfect observatory for understanding the characteristics that separate the successful from the aspiring.

On the campaign trail, the edge goes to those who can demonstrate a clear command of the principles that drive personal and organizational success. In this pursuit, new lessons emerge that are invaluable to innovators, executives, and entrepreneurs.

Frame Change

Bill Clinton's Powerful Perspective On The Flight 93 Memorial

The people on that plane were not victims. They were warriors.

That was how my thinking about the passengers and crew members of the ill-fated Flight 93 shifted after spending an evening with President Clinton. This evolution occurred during a recent benefit to raise money for the 9/11 memorial at the crash site near Shanksville, PA.

What's In A Word?

Obama Chooses "Forward"

The Obama 2012 campaign was officially launched this weekend under a new banner that simply read:  Forward.

The opposition pounced. Republican strategists were quick to point out that the slogan would be turned against the President and used as a club many times over during this campaign.

The unveiling followed a fair bit of speculation in recent weeks probing the branding that Obama for America might finally settle on for Election 2012. Some took special notice of a sign hanging from Vice President Biden's podium during a speech that proclaimed "A Strong & Secure America." Others celebrated the tone set for the President's most recent State of the Union Address behind verbiage that promoted “An America Built to Last."

As slogans go, I suppose I prefer the latter over the ultimate one-word winner.