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Brandidates

GOP_Candidates_2012After tonight, Iowa becomes relatively irrelevant for another 2-3 years. Forgive me if I seem rather callous about that, as it is a great privilege to kick the tires on the candidates for leader of the free world. With great power comes great responsibility, as the Spiderman movie stated. However, usually by caucus night, most Iowans are ready to bid adieu to all of the attention.

Unlike four years ago, this is a 1-party caucus (oh, sure, the Democrats will hold a caucus, but good luck getting anybody to attend). It's pretty much all about the Republicans, and they've provided enough of a circus this election cycle. I will admit: I sort of geek out on all of the political analyses, the rhetorical analysis of advertisements, the jockeying for position, etc.

What's been interesting this time around is the value statement of each of the candidates: we have the social conservative crowd (Perry, Bachmann, Santorum), the overhaul government crowd (Gingrich, Paul), and the electable crowd (Romney).

Yes, that's a little tongue-in-cheek. Evidently, being a candidate who campaigns on ideals is too scary these days. We've developed a couple of different camps of those who want to "shore up the base" and those who want to win the independent vote. If the candidate is perceived as "too scary" they are discounted.

A candidacy is an accomplishment of sorts with the outcome of winning as the goal (either the nomination or the election). So branding the accomplishment is always key, and one of the important things about branding is the value statement. I'm not going to go so far as to say which branding value statement is the "right" one as value is exceptionally subjective. The candidate I perceive as being the "right one for the job" would make somebody else want to wretch. 

I see this occurring on projects occasionally. Two people are on the same initiative but have two vastly different views of what "winning" looks like. It usually results in an OMG moment when fantasy and reality collide.

As a project manager, it is YOUR responsibility to ensure that all key stakeholders who have a "vote" (actual or implied) are in agreement with the "win." It may require multiple means and multiple meetings, but getting project stakeholders on the same page. (But, as in everything, it is possible to go too far to make your point, as seen with many of the candidates. And to the Perry, Bachmann, Gingrich, Santorum, and Romney camps: Please quit calling my house every 10 minutes!)

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