What Your Business Can Learn From Politics


From a strategic perspective, political campaigns are no different than any other goal-based initiative. As with any business strategy, it’s a group of people coming together to achieve a common purpose and, ideally, objectively measuring performance. While similarities abound at every step of the planning, management and execution of any business or political strategy, the greatest common denominator is failure.

How It Goes Wrong

Too often the focus of a goal is on the achievement of it, rather than the means to make it happen. Nowhere is this more clear than in a political campaign, where one of the quickest paths to crash-and-burn is to ask the candidate, off-the-cuff, why he or she wants the job.

Take Senator Ted Kennedy’s 1979 CBS interview, for example, where he failed to adequately identify the purpose behind his choice to run for office. When asked why he wanted to be the next president of the United States, Kennedy began his answer:

Well, I’m — were I to make the announcement and to run, the reasons I would run is because I have a great belief in this country. That it is — there’s more natural resources than any nation in the world; the greatest education population in the world; the greatest technology of any country in the world; the greatest capacity for innovation in the world; and the greatest political system in the world.

A rambling, nonsensical response that ultimately caused voters and media to question how Kennedy could effectively serve as President of the United States, if he couldn’t even articulate why he wanted a the job. His failure to answer the question and the resulting fallout has been cited as the beginning of the end for his campaign.

Hindsight is almost always 20/20 in the raucous world of politics. The 2016 election season is well under way, as is the strategic turmoil that always goes hand-in-hand with the campaign trail. Donald Trump’s strategy, for example, has been called into question as he faces questions around the firing of his campaign manager, while Hillary Clinton’s camp has been deluged with the fallout from an FBI investigation over her email. In any political campaign, issues such as these can quickly derail the candidates from their stated goals. For these reasons, it is imperative that a strategy is carefully created and diligently executed to withstand the prevailing winds of public scrutiny and the glaring spotlight of the media.

The Key to Success

Whether running for office or selling a great product, every strategy needs a well-stated purpose. When goals are clearly mapped out, the building blocks necessary to achieve those goals can also be realized and effectively planned. You can raise millions in a political campaign, mobilize large groups of volunteers, and generate mass media coverage, but without an overall strategy to focus these efforts, the campaign will certainly fail.

In politics as in business, organization with purpose is powerful.

Applying Political Strategy to Business

A business without a stated purpose will flounder much the same way political campaigns often do. A solid plan, with a well-understood vision for executing that plan, helps mitigate the risk of being thrown off course by inevitable shake-ups. StrategyBlocks is the crucial link between an organization’s strategic initiatives and the insider knowledge necessary to effectively execute those strategies. We could have helped Ted Kennedy back in 1979 to better articulate and achieve his goal, and we can help your organization today turn your strategic vision into operational success.

If you would like to learn more about how your business strategy can be improved by using StrategyBlocks software, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.