What Corporations Should Learn From Political Campaigns: Empower Your People
Simplify the decision making process.
The first time I lived under a dictatorship was when I started working on political campaigns. Seriously. It’s not unclear who makes decisions on a political campaign. It’s the Campaign Manager. End of story. No committee. No “we’ll get back to you.” Just yes, no and sometimes #@*&%!
Now we work with a lot of bigger corporate clients and I enjoy it immensely. But if they could take one page from the campaign playbook, it would be this:
The digital space moves fast. Push moves fast. Bigger companies move, well…more deliberately. And ultimately all of that is a product of the decision-making process. “We’ll let you know after we hear back from [pick one or more] legal/the field/sales/PR/marketing/the board/our bosses/their boss.”
I understand “due diligence.” But we are not trying to invade other countries — just your Facebook feed! There has to be a better way. A faster way.
Because while we are waiting to “hear back,” the marketplace is still moving and so are your competitors. Solid lesson from the campaign trail — your opponent doesn’t stand by waiting as you deliberate. This isn’t chess.
Think about where you work: If you need a PowerPoint presentation to explain the decision-making process, then it’s too damn complicated. Especially for shorter-term projects, lower dollar amounts, thoroughly vetted projects, you simply MUST have people around you who are empowered to make decisions.
Two things to watch out for — one, people who CAN’T make decisions. Every organization has some. The person with ten hands. “On the one hand, but on the other hand…” Have that person responsible for things that aren’t decisions.
And, two — take this from someone who worked in the restaurant industry — the old adage is 100% true: Too many cooks in the kitchen will kill your speed and flexibility, and may even grind you to a halt.
Ultimately of course, your company will have one primary decision maker. Regardless of size, the buck stops somewhere. Like the Campaign Manager for the candidate, this job is bigger picture — where are we going, how are we getting there, what is the plan?
Speed, flexibility, data, goals, decisions — that’s a road map for victory right there.