Friday, May 16, 2008

The Importance of Relevance

Time article, The Five Mistakes Clinton Made by Karen Tumulty lists 5 mistakes Clinton has made in Campaign '08. Tumulty never uses this word, but I think it describes the fundamental overarching mistake of the Clinton campaign. The word? Relevance.

The five mistakes Tumulty cites regarding Clinton are:

1. She misjudged the mood.
2. She didn't master the rules.
3. She underestimated the caucus states.
4. She relied on old money.
5. She never counted on a long haul.

Let me point them all to relevance:

1. Washington is perceived as clannish, myopic, and mired in gridlock. Most of America see Washington insiders as turf-protecting instead of vision-making. Running as an experienced incumbate, Clinton was irrelevant to what people want - change. A leader in any industry must survey the mood of the market and lead to its unarticulated needs and desires.

2. Clinton picked her team based on loyalty not talent. In the game today, regardless of the industry, you need the best creative thinkers and doers. And, you need people that don't think like you so that your own thinking grows and expands. You need people around you that change your current understanding. The loyal ones are often the ones that confirm and validate the status quo. The measuring stick of loyalty over talent is an irrelevant standard in today's competitive, dynamic business environment. Change-makers outpace turf-protectors any more.

3. Caucuses are about connection and conversation. Social media is an exploding phenomenon. Couple a conversational forum with young people entering the process in record numbers and caucuses are more relevant and more important than going to the polls and pulling a lever. The Clinton people didn't see or value this. They didn't accurately see the new, relevant landscape.

4. Here Comes Everybody and The Wisdom of Crowds are a relevant, underestimated market shift. Entering the general election, which would you rather have: an enthusiastic nationwide army of volunteers or some wealthy backers.

5. Micro-management, a left-brain skill, is ineffective alone. Micro makes sense in the context of macro, a right-brain skill. Relevance in today's business environment tips to right brain skills. You need the big picture to make meaning of the whole. In fact, it is best to start with the big picture to solidify the non-negotiable goals and ideals of any project.

The process of the Clinton campaign can be said to have been out of sync or irrelevant to the marketplace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i totally agree. clinton is very right brain. she was even touting her right brain skills. how could they have missed so badly?