The SCN Encourager – Friday, February 1, 2013

Election campaigns pointers. (Ouch! That one hurt.)

Two of the topics plopped into your inbox earlier this week were risk-taking and the future. Like Frick and Frack, or Bonnie and Clyde, or Bieber and Twitter Followers, if ever two things went together, it’s risk-taking and the future.

As you know, much of what we do involves looking ahead to our preferred future and deciding upon what kinds of risks we are willing take as we try to achieve it. (And here is where the PAST kind of helps me out, though…as I’m able to look back to countless “what were you thinking?!?” experiences. And then I try to do better – which means, for me, living through another new series of “what were you thinking?!?” experiences!)

For us, there is one busy intersection where many of the elements of risk-taking and “the future” collide, and it’s called school election “campaign” time.

How do I know? Well, over the last 30 years, some of my most disastrous experiences involved my participation in political and school election campaigns. It wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say that the captain of the Titanic and I share similar DNA. 

Fortunately, regrouping from an election flop or two (ok, more than two…) is easier to do than building your career back up after ramming your ship into an iceberg in the middle of nowhere. The learning you acquire from previous election campaigns (good or bad) is something you always carry into the next campaign. I doubt if ship captains get many mulligans.

Leaders and managers who run successful campaigns often have honed their best strategic and tactical skills in campaigns that ended in defeat. Given that elections are public events, there’s no curtain to hide behind. Losing in the spotlight isn’t fun, so there’s ample incentive to improve your game. 

I’m grateful that I’ve been on the winning side of the final precinct tallies more often than not. But I’m also grateful for the value that defeats instill. 

So given that it’s likely that all of us have been, will be, or will be assigned to be active in an upcoming school election or building bond campaign (even if it’s way off), I’m inviting you to attend next week’s “Campaign Tips Boot Camp.”

That’s right. In next week’s Encourager, Monday-Friday,  I will be offering a series of campaign related tips and cautions. No joke. I think because my wife and daughters are fanning my anxiety over possible future wedding plans and costs, my mind has turned to other endeavors where I’ve been on the losing side – election campaigns. 

But this boot camp will be different. You won’t have to grab a shovel and dig a hole. When it comes to election campaigns, I’ve already been shoveling stuff around for quite awhile. And the hole I’ve dug is plenty deep. You won’t have to jump in it with me. Just observe from the top. But there are some good lessons to be mined out of every “low point,” and I hope you’ll grab onto any decent finds as I toss them up your way.

Here’s what Campaign Tips Boot Camp will cover: (Fair warning!)

Monday:  when to begin and who you’d better have on your team

Tuesday: every winning campaign has this, will yours?

Wednesday:  four questions you’ll have to answer from the get-go

Thursday:  oh, you’ll think you’ll win, do ya? prove it.

Friday:  and you thought you only needed one campaign plan?

Enjoy your weekend and the Super Bowl!  I’m looking forward to Monday!

(Legal disclaimer for week of February 4-8. If you try to avoid “Campaign Tips Boot Camp” by hitting delete or unsubscribe, recordings of this material will be robo-called non-stop to your home at ridiculously horrible times thanks to a great off-season discount I’m getting from the Obama and Romney call centers. It’s the campaign way.)

Tom Page, SCN managing editor





Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.