As we experience this unusual election season, here is something to watch for over the next few months. There will be lessons to learn outside the Presidential race, including strategies you can use at work or in your business.
What happens when an idea, a person, maybe someone being considered for a promotion or, yes, a Presidential candidate, goes from fringe to front-and-center? How does that happen? What strategies are used by the individual and what happens in the minds of those around them? There is a lot to be learned there and we’ll likely see it played out on a very big stage over the next few months.
The fan base: From the Bernie Sanders campaign to a new product or idea, you can’t get anywhere without a fan base. It has to start somewhere and that place is where you will find the true believers. They will persevere in the face of any opposition, be there through thick and thin and do it all with a smile. The biggest long-shots in the world need a core group. It doesn’t need to be a large group necessarily, even in a political campaign, because true believers will out-work anybody collecting a pay check most any day of the week. In the workplace that might translate to a single person. It’s great when it’s a boss, but not necessary. If someone really believes in you, they’ll sing your praises to the right people.
The front runner: For Donald Trump it was Jeb Bush. For Sanders, it was Hillary Clinton. The fringe candidate, idea or person often shines brightest when someone or something is out front. Many people don’t want to follow the crowd, so they look for what else is out there. Combine that with something different – something that catches people’s imagination – and you have a possible come-from-behind story.
Can you broaden your message? Until now, all you have is something interesting – but it is still on the fringe. The question is, can you broaden the message? Watch Trump, Sanders and anyone else who catches fire. Do they show the ability to keep the core and then expand to the broader audience? It’s a delicate balance of not “selling out” but also bringing in others to the group. You’ll hear things like, “I know you may not agree with me on everything, but….” It’s a way of saying you understand everyone is not on the team, but would they at least consider joining? In the work world, the same message works. Can you get others to at least listen? It’s the only way an idea or person can catch fire.
A little bit of luck: Finally, every long shot needs a little bit of luck. For the out-of-left-field job candidate to the Presidential hopeful, a bit of luck should be recognized as such. A long-shot can shoot themselves in the foot by acting like they somehow deserved that lucky break. If you get lucky, acknowledge it, say thanks and keep moving toward your goal!
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Cary Pfeffer is the founder of ClearComm Consulting, www.clear-comm.net, a Scottsdale, AZ communications consulting firm that helps people tell their story. He works with clients to make the most of their media and live audience communication. Email him at: [email protected].