Category Archives: Energy

Lessons from Obama..

 In a couple of days we get the result of the greatest, most expensive pitch, political or otherwise, of all time. So far $2.4billion and still counting.  When Barack Obama wins, as he surely will, it will be down to many things from  dislike of Bush, to the economy, to it being time for a change ……

It will above all be down to superb pitching!  “He has been an extraordinary candidate, running a brilliantly conceived and flawlessly executed campaign” (Sunday Times).  The lessons include:

1. Energy management. Anyone who has pitched knows the importance of keeping the momentum going, managing energy every day, and not just in a panic as pitch date looms.  Obama maintained the energy level, including his battle against Clinton, for some 20 months!  McCain and his team by comparison “lacks the same energy and sense of purpose”.

2. Consistent emotional ‘brand’ communication.  Throughout the campaign it has been his attitude, his style, his story, rather than the specifics, that have engaged so many. “Some presidents become icons after they get elected, like Kennedy.  Barack Obama has managed to become a cultural icon in the course of the campaign…”

3. A perfect pitch process. Successful pitches don’t just happen.  Detail, ruthless efficiency, leaving nothing to chance, ticking every box, all matter.  Obama scores here as well. ” The most seasoned political observers have been struck by the meticulous professionalism of his campaign”.

Who knows, perhaps Obama took time out to read the Best Practice Guides on this site..

Mandelson. An experiment in hybrid vigour?

Yesterday at around 7.30, coming out of my local newsagent,  I  had to  pause to avoid an early morning jogger.  In his now trademark black shorts and vest, it was David Cameron, looking fit and moving at a good pace.

This was not, it seemed to me, someone running for the photo opportunity.  There was no entourage. This was someone, like many in high pressure jobs, running to stay fit.  The fitter you are the more energy you have and right now Cameron, and his team, exude more of it than Gordon Brown’s team.  One of the reasons they are more attractive to more people.

In one of the best practice guides on this site, Managing Energy, I look at ways at ‘amplifying’ energy.  One of them reads: “Consider introducing ‘hybrid vigour’, the concept of cross-fertilisation for enhanced performance in breeding.  In teams, changing the mix of people can re-invigorate.”

Could the introduction of Peter Mandelson be an experiment in hybrid vigour?  However much he polarises opinon,  he will undoubtedly bring new energy to the Cabinet, something sorely needed.

“Energy is Eternal Delight”. William Blake,1793.

In any new business pitch energy can be the magic ingredient.  If you don’t have it you will fail.  If you do have it, and know how to use it, you will succeed more often.

The marvellous Paul Arden in his world’s best selling book, IT’S NOT HOW GOOD YOU ARE, IT’S HOW GOOD YOU WANT TO BE, states “energy is 75% of the job, if you haven’t got, it be nice”. This holds true for individuals, companies and, even more, for teams pitching for business.

The latest Best Practice Guide is titled Managing Energy.

It contains a number of practical and original concepts on managing energy in others, generating it and , importantly, harnessing it.  In pitch situations the last macho minute, midnight oil burning, syndrome is something to avoid!

The guide was art directed and visualised by Jim Salter with type on this and all the guides by Nick Thompson to whom many thanks. Best viewed full screen, pressing down load.

Lessons from Crewe & Nantwich

As expected the Conservatives won, things are not going too well for the beleaguered Gordon Brown, but the margin of victory was surprising.  Much of this was down to the success of the pitch at the local level.  Some lessons can be drawn.

The importance of leadership, in this case the candidates. Tory, Edward Timpson, bright, positive,optimistic contrasting with the reluctant Tamsin Dunwoody.  Her selection a misguided attempt to gain the sympathy vote, since her mother had been a huge presence in the constituency, Tamsin suffered by comparison.   Her body language signalled that she would really rather be somewhere else.

The value of a positive strategy, in tone and content. The Tory campaign hitting the different target audiences, their loyalists, Labour and LibDems  with different but simple, positive messages.  Contrast this with Labours “inept, negative and poisonous”campaign ( Labour MPs’ own Compass group).

Finally. the energy factor.  In any pitch, business or political, the emotional impact of unbridled energy and exuberance can carry the day. The Tories have this, Labour don’t. 






Clinton. A lesson in energy.

For most of us ,taking part in a pitch is stimulating but we manage the energy needed in fits and starts, building to a crescendo in the last day or so.  Burning midnight oil in a macho way ,we finalise proposals(just), edit the proposal (just), rehearse (just or not) and arrive on time (just) to present.

Carried along by adrenaline we get through the pitch, pat ourselves on the back, and collapse into the nearest bar.

Compare this with what must be one of the most ferociously competitive pitches in years, Clinton vs Obama.

Every single day, week in week out, they are in flat out pitch mode.  Live TV debates, interviews, press conferences, platform speeches, receptions, door-stepping, handling hecklers, kissing babies, responding to focus groups or headlines or opinion polls or ‘misspeaks’. All that on top of the daily tactics, dirty or otherwise, to undermine the opposition and the constant pressure to motivate the home team.  WOW.

Obama may be in the lead, and he has the charisma, but he may not have the same astonishing and sustained energy level of the ‘come-back’ kid. Clinton is exuding energy, a highly infectious quality. I would not bet against her just yet.