Leadership Lesson – Democratic Nominee – Part 1

There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America – there’s the United States of America. – Barack Obama

I have been studying the leadership characteristics of the leading candidates for presidency. I find it fascinating to watch the different approaches and styles and see the impact each has on both voters and those who are part of the inner workings of the campaigns.

Hillary Cinton 2This morning as I was reading another analysis of the recently concluded Democratic campaigns, I was struck by two simple differences between the campaign of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The first is design of their teams. Senator Clinton’s team was made up of lfriends and political operatives who have long history with the Clintons. This team was thought to be the best in the Democratic party and is well known for its past successes. It could rightly be said that they almost pulled of a success this time around as well. Yet as the dust settles and the results are now clear , they did not make it across the finish line. This team operated with a hub and spoke approach. All key decisions were made at the center and communicated to the field for execution. I have watch the decline of this style over the past 15 years and some of its challenges showed up on this campaign.

barack obamaFor one thing, who knows better what the needs of Iowans are than Iowans. By sharing information about the campaign’s supporters and contributors with its grass roots organization, the Obama team placed one of a campaign’s most precious assets , its supporter information, in the hands of those it didn’t directly control. This approach is new in national politics and proved effective.

In no case did you hear of this trust being violated by this information being inappropriately shared with others. In the Tao it is written, “Look with trust and you will find it” is one of the most powerful axioms that any leader can instill in their team and it appears that Senator Obama has been a great example for us all in this regard.

Another stark difference is how money was spent. In the Clinton campaign, Hillary’s key spokesman Howard Wolfson’s firm was paid $266,000 for a month’s worth of service, while Senator Obama’s spokesman was paid $144,000 for the past twelve months. There are numerous examples of this new approach to how to fiscally operate a campaign in an excellent article in Time Magazine website, titled, How he did it.

I will write more over the next month on the lesson learned from the Democratic race and what we can learn from it as leaders.

Until later,


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Author: Thomas White

Over the past thirty-five years, Thomas White has created and led private and public organizations that initiated breakthroughs in areas as diverse as computer software, publishing, printing, market research, leadership development and organizational change. The common ingredients in his success are simple. He looked beyond the limitations that others believed and found real solutions to needs that business leaders have. He attracted the best talent to translate these innovative solutions into practical products and services that were of high value to customers. He created cultures where people love what they do, work at their best and produce extraordinary results. In addition to his role as a business leader, Thomas has been a pioneer and inventor of technologies in the computer-networking field. He is a patent holder for innovations in business process and workflow technology. As part of his passion for educating others about the interface of human and computer systems, he was the co-author of “New Tools for New Times, The Workflow Paradigm”. He has also written articles for numerous publications. In 2001, he turned his attention from leading companies to supporting leadership teams in creating organizations of excellence. After many years of being a part of the machine of change, Thomas recognized that business is the most powerful force in the world. It has a major impact on public policy and governments everywhere. It is a key influence on how we use our resources and sets an example of the values that shape communities from local to global. He formed the consulting firm of Profoundly Simple to be a guide for exemplary leaders - leaders who wisely uses the power they are entrusted with to serve their constituencies first and themselves second; leaders who know that it is good business to treat people with respect, honor the environment and act with impeccable integrity – leaders who inspire greatness in those around them and by doing so create great organizations that are notable examples of success. Feeling the itch to get back into the game again, Thomas joined with two long time friends, to start the C-Suite Network. This network of business leaders offers an online network, events, services, and insights to its 500,000 member community. In addition, the C-Suite Network produces and distributes television and radio content to an audience of over 5M per month

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