Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

How to Campaign for Your Own Corporate Victory

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

How to Campaign for Your Own Corporate Victory

Article excerpt

"Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president, but they don't want them to become politicians in the process." - John F. Kennedy

The other day, as I sat listening to some corporate friends blame their career problems on office politics, I came up with this plan:

I would talk to political consultants and see what I could learn that would apply to you and me.

Guess what? It worked.

I spoke with political advisers Michael Goldman and Rick DeGraw, who have tutored candidates in several states and at every level, from city council to U.S. Senate, and I have some strikingly good advice to pass along.

1. Taking a stand: A British politician was once accused of "going around the country stirring up apathy."

Sounds like the typical American candidate, doesn't it? Most seem to work at being mediocre, at refusing to take a stand, at avoiding controversy.

They are so middle-of-the-road they have a double yellow stripe up their backs. (Writing that last sentence I got a charming mental picture of politicians being used as highway medians.)

But my three political advisers tell me that the "no controversy" strategy is for an incumbent (who usually has only to avoid blunders in order to get re-elected).

The opposite is true for someone running against an incumbent, particularly in a large field of candidates. (That would be most of us corporate candidates, right?)

Here, as Goldman put it, "You must be as sharply defined as you can be. You have to take a strong position to be remembered. And even if people disagree, they will remember you and respect you. People want leadership so badly that they are willing to `agree to disagree' to get it."

2. Working a room: The consultants insisted that whenever you meet people you must focus your attention on them.

As DeGraw said, "If you're going to look past people trying to spot someone more important, don't even bother going into the room. …

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