There a few things you need to know about me before you read this blog. This post is for business owners of all kinds. The people that power our economy. That’s right. I care about you.
1) I’m Canadian so I have no political agenda here.
2) I’m a business growth specialist so I see opportunities where other people see problems.
3) I love it when a plan comes together and delivers astounding value.
It’s funny how the facts become visible sometimes after the milk is spilt, the race over, the damage done. Apparently Romney and the Republicans are only now looking at the assumptions they made and built their campaign on. How is it that their strategy didn’t give them the result they had invested $1 billion in?
Before going there, let’s create a context for you as a business owner. Look back over the years you have owned your company. How many times have you invested in a plan, pinned hopes on the results you expected and then months later, have little to show for your efforts?
Here’s why Romney and maybe a few business owners out there end up in this dismal situation.
- Relying on assumptions about what the target market really wants
- Not asking the right questions to frame the problem
- Making the decision without the planning how to get the result
- Looking backward as a ‘safe’ strategy to predict the futur
In contrast, let’s look at what Obama did. Peter Hamby of CNN analyzed what went right in Obama’s organization.
- Stop believing your assumptions. Obama sent his people to go talk one-on-one in person to the people he hoped would vote for him. He found out what they care about by asking great questions and then listening to them. His team listened to the good, the bad and the ugly. Romney used technology to call people to broadcast his message. It was a one-way conversation.
- Build a strategy based on needs. Getting at the heart of what people care about helps you determine what your strategy should be. Obama heard a lot about what people care about and value. His strategy focused on those very things. Obama focused his message on what people wanted and didn’t want. Romney planned his strategy by listening to the ideas of his campaign team. Insiders may have great ideas. But that doesn’t mean they will connect with the people you hope to buy from you. But your great idea feels really good in the moment. And that good feeling can be addictive.
- Organize the team to do what’s needed. Obama has a personal army that knows how to organize people in a way that is highly influential. Since these people feel heard, and they are hearing what is important to them because that’s what the messaging focuses on, they feel engaged and willing to do what’s needed to get out the vote. They love the message so they will share it. That’s the power of influence. That’s the recipe for empowering them to action. Obama’s team knows how to motivate and empower leaders who in turn motivate the people in the field. Empowered people create momentum when pointed in the right direction. Romney didn’t give people a reason to be ‘for’ him. He didn’t train volunteers. He didn’t give them a message to rally around. He told them to use their enthusiasm to persuade people. Influence always beats persuasion.
- Look to your desired end result, not the past to know how to get your future. Obama wanted new voters who weren’t engaged in the last election. He went out to talk to them. Simple idea. It worked. Obama won voters in places where people didn’t pay attention to politicians. This shocked the Republicans. Romney listened to his campaign strategists who poured over data from 2004 and 2008 for formulas that seemed to work then. Apparently they don’t work today.
Painful lessons. Incredible wisdom.
Everything you need to know about how to grow your business lives in the interests, needs, problems and reflections of the people whom you serve in your business. Craft your strategy to deliver that.
Turn your decisions into projects led by people who resonate with the solutions you offer.
Decide how much more you want to serve them this year than last year.
Keep refining how you deliver that.