As the 2018 election cycle enters the peak campaign phase, our ongoing political campaign work reminds us of the most important resource campaigns have and how its allocated.
Many believe that this vital resource is money, the mother’s milk of politics. But the reality is capable candidates waging competitive campaigns will always be able to raise more money.
Others argue volunteer support — a grassroots army of doorknockers, phone callers, and meeting organizers — is the critical lever of success. But, similarly, any competent campaign will systematically identify and activate an ever-expanding base of volunteers.
Rather, it’s time: the most valuable, non-fungible resource a campaign has. And, unlike football, where timeouts can be strategically used with two minutes left in the fourth quarter, there’s no stopping the clock for a campaign.
So how does this intense sense of time slipping away impact campaigns? In our experience, this pressure exposes whether a team has gelled in the necessary ways to handle the high-stakes, fast-moving final quarter of a campaign.
It shows whether the campaign built the necessary infrastructure along the way or if they’re desperately trying to patch holes in their organization, both affectionately and derisively referred to as “building it as you fly it.”
It reveals which campaigns are executing on a thoughtful plan versus flying by the seat of their pants.
And it often becomes apparent which campaigns are high-performing organizations when the attacks start flying and decisions need to be made and executed quickly.
So what can corporate initiatives on a mission to change public perception learn?
- Speed kills, and on the battlefield of ideas, we live in an <<Instant Perception>> world.
- It’s said a plan doesn’t survive first contact with the enemy, but in our experience the exercise of planning sharpens the team for conflict.
- Trust and team are foundational to success in any high-stakes environment: trust in those around you to do their job, and a team that understands roles and responsibilities.