By James W. Breedlove
Now that the euphoria and reality of President Obama’s extraordinary re-election victory is becoming an historical memory it is time to reflect on the universal success lessons embedded in the president’s campaign to recapture the white house.
Even some of his most strident opponents are marveling at his accomplishment and are vigorously analyzing every aspect of the campaign in an attempt to understand what he did and how he did it. These opponents find it extremely difficult to fathom the president’s margin of victory (126 electoral votes and 3.5 million popular votes) in spite of the huge amount of money they spent vilifying him on the lack of jobs, the national debt, high unemployment and the healthcare demon. Plus their ace card was the unabashed support of an obstructionist congress.
All Americans and especially Black Americans would do well to make the Obama success lessons an integral part of their daily tool kit.
Thoroughly Understand the Game You Are Playing
When you fully understand the game you can paint a bold vision, promote that vision with truthful messages, maneuver from a rock solid foundation, and lead with reassuring confidence.
On election night CNN displayed in vivid color how the President used laser like precision to identify little pockets of blue voters, completely surrounded by red voters, and got them to the voting booths in numbers that collectively won 11 of the 12 battleground states.
Not once during his presidential tenure has Obama asked for special consideration or rule waivers because of his minority status. No extra votes were added to his tally as a “slavery” or discrimination bonus. He thoroughly understood the rules of the political game but figured out a way to play the game slightly different than the conventional “good ole boy” way.
Knowing every nuance of the game he could successfully play the game his way instead of having the game played on him.
Set Realistic but Ambitious Goals
Realistic goals go beyond the probability of achievability. They require careful thought to ascertain the potential impact at some future time. Well defined goals forces individuals and organizations to focus on the objective. The goals serve as constant discriminators in making decisions on how and when time and resources are allocated and prioritized. Done efficiently results in success; done randomly results in frustration and missed opportunities.
The importance of this factor was most evident in Obama’s healthcare and auto industry initiatives.
Know the Who, What and Where of Your Support
Barack Obama knew what it meant for a family to be in dire financial straits or to do without life’s essentials because he had first-hand experience living it. Because he could fully empathize with middle class fears and frustrations he could speak persuasively to those issues from his heart.
As a result some 53 percent of voters across multiple demographics correctly perceived that President Obama and not Mitt Romney identified with and would address middle-class inequities such as unemployment, home foreclosure, healthcare, education, and retirement uncertainty.
Control the Time and Place of Battle
Probably the one thing about President Obama that has been most confusing to the opposition is their inability to discover a vulnerability button that would shake him up. They tried every trick in the book to emotionally destabilize him but he has remained calm, steady, thoughtful, and civil no matter the challenges thrown in his path.
The Chicago Tribune stated in 2008, “Obama is deeply grounded in the best aspirations of this country, and we need to return to those aspirations…. He has risen with his honor, grace and civility intact. He has the intelligence to understand the grave economic and national security risks that face us, to listen to good advice and make careful decisions.”
Because President Obama is fully in tune with his goals and objectives he is able to pick the time and place for political skirmishes. He does not waste time and energy on meaningless efforts that are not consistent with his goals. How else could he have accomplished so much in his first four years with so many deliberate obstacles put before him? Wasted time is your enemy.
Know What You Are Talking About
Rarely do you hear President Obama stumbling and fumbling when he is speaking or when he is being questioned. He is knowledgeable about the subject matter and addresses it intelligently, fluently and factually. Because he understands his agenda and its objectives he exudes the confidence that a strong leader must have to make visions a reality.
Surround Yourself with Good Talent
Sen. Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008 partly because he selected Sen. Joe Biden as his vice-presidential running mate. Not only did the two men have a good working chemistry but Biden’s decades of senate experience mitigated any concerns with Obama’s level of experience. A vice president must be ready to assume the presidency should the president become incapacitated. Neither Sarah Palin nor Paul Ryan could give the same level of confidence that Joe Biden gives as the defacto President of the United States.
Team Obama is a dedicated organization that Mitt Romney couldn’t match and they outflanked Romney in all phases of the campaign. They had the tactics, the strategy, and the technology for implementing every aspect of their re-election plan. Obama defined Romney as out of touch early in the campaign completely neutralizing his last minute rebuttal ads. Team Obama recognized the changing American demographics and focused on melding women, the youth, Hispanics and African-Americans into a voting tsunami that ensured re-election success.
Take heed America, especially black America.
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