The Leadership Campaign: 10 Political Strategies to Win at Your Career and Propel Your Business to Victory

The Leadership Campaign: 10 Political Strategies to Win at Your Career and Propel Your Business to Victory

by Scott Miller, David Morey

Paperback(First Edition)

View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


The Leadership Campaign is a playbook for winning in the reality of today's competitive global business environment. Each of the 10 steps it offers was learned on the most intensely competitive global battlefields.

Thirty years ago, the authors were top-tier political consultants who could boast of a dozen presidential wins around the world. Candidates hired the authors' company to apply to their political campaigns what the authors knew about business communication and marketing strategy.

Then, in 1984, Steve Jobs asked them to build the "Campaign Model" for Apple, putting Jobs upfront as his company's perennial candidate. This time, Jobs essentially asked the authors to apply what they knew about political campaigning to business.

Continuously improved, the model has kept on working for their clients ever since, from Apple, Coca-Cola, and Citigroup to Verizon, Visa, and the Walt Disney Company.

The Leadership Campaign will help you put these winning strategies to work for your company and your career. You will learn:

  • Success-building communications skills used to train political leaders and CEOs around the world.
  • Proven strategies to take control of the competitive dialogue and never let go.
  • How to go for the win, the whole win, and nothing but the win for you and your company.
  • Product Details

    ISBN-13: 9781632650436
    Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser
    Publication date: 04/25/2016
    Edition description: First Edition
    Pages: 224
    Sales rank: 1,080,987
    Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

    About the Author

    Scott Miller cofounded the pioneering political consulting firm Sawyer/Miller Group in 1979. Along with the campaigns of scores of U.S. Senate and gubernatorial victories, Sawyer/Miller managed the campaigns of global revolutionaries such as Corazon Aquino, Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, Vicente Fox, and Boris Yeltsin. Miller is the author of Building Brandwidth with Sergio Zyman, One More Customer with Fran Tarkenton, and The Underdog Advantage with David Morey.

    In addition to his work as vice chairman of Core Strategy Group, David Morey is chairman and founder of DMG Global. He is one of America's leading strategic consultants—and one of its most sought-after speakers. Morey has worked with some of the world's top business leaders, and advised five Noble Peace Prize winners and 16 winning global presidential campaigns, including Barack Obama's. His corporate clients include GE, Verizon, Pepsi, Mars, McDonald's, Microsoft, Nike, P&G, Disney, Visa, The Coca-Cola Company, TPG, American Express, NBC, and Samsung.

    Read an Excerpt


    Step 1 DECIDE to Run

    Why are you running? What do you believe? Commit!

    Why Are You Running?

    In 1980 with the Iranian hostage crisis, out-of-control interest rates, and a general "malaise" afflicting the electorate, incumbent Jimmy Carter was losing the faith of the people. At the deepest point of the president's swoon, Senator Edward Kennedy came to the podium of historic Faneuil Hall in Boston to announce that he would enter the presidential campaign against Carter. This electrified the press. Most of the mainstream journalists still remembered and longed for the magic of JFK's Camelot. The campaign left that launch pad like a NASA Atlas rocket. But the end came sooner than the first primary. The unraveling of the "Teddy in '80" campaign arrived dramatically in what should have been a softball prime time interview by CBS reporter Roger Mudd. It came down to one question that left Kennedy stumbling and stammering. "Senator," Mudd asked. "Why are you running for president?"

    All companies have bosses, but big companies have them by the boatload. They have CEOs and presidents and general managers, executive VPs, VPs, directors, and on and on. Lots of bosses. But very few companies — especially the big ones — have leaders.

    Does yours? Does it have true leaders, visionary leaders, inspirational leaders?

    We recognize that not everybody wants to be a leader. Some people want to follow. They may doubt their own ability to lead. They may like the warmth of the herd around them. And they may not like the feeling of untrodden grass underfoot. Not everybody wants to be a leader.

    There's also a significant difference between bossing and leading. And it's true that a lot of people get to be the boss by following, not leading. They follow the current boss very, very closely, essentially slip-streaming her through the last several years of her tenure. They follow the boss's footsteps and then follow the path the boss would have trod, if the boss hadn't taken the package and retired to the condo in Hilton Head. Chances are that boss followed just behind the one just ahead of her.

    If you want to be a boss, there's always a well-beaten path to follow. At most companies, the name of that path is "We Do It This Way, Because That's the Way We've Always Done It." The path is aptly named, particularly in the case of market leaders, long-term market incumbents, and those companies that try to emulate the market incumbents by playing what is essentially an adult version of follow-the-leader.

    Incumbents are very superstitious about their success. We say they are heritage-driven, because they expect the strategies, approaches, and rituals of the past to carry them to success in the future. In today's markets, that's like driving in the Monaco Grand Prix while looking only in your rearview mirror.

    Every day, the business pages deliver the obituaries of the former market incumbents, one after the other. Most have sputtered to a stop rather than crashed in flames. But an end is an end just the same, and in the case of incumbents, it is the inevitable result of heritage-driven strategy. When the bosses tell themselves they tried everything to avert failure, what they really mean is that they tried everything to avert failure they had always tried before. What finally killed their enterprise is the new environment, which calls for new ideas, new approaches, and new leadership.

    Do you want to be a boss or do you want to be a leader? That's the central question of this book. We're talking to people who want to be leaders. While bosses at incumbent companies are generally heritage driven, real leaders — by which we necessarily mean insurgent leaders — are vision driven. They lead toward a new idea and into new territory that they envision, but where footprints to follow are few to none.

    If there's one thing that distinguishes these new leaders from old bosses, it is their attitude toward change. Incumbents hate change. Hell, if you're number one, why would you want anything to change? They hate disruption, right to the core of their corporate being. But insurgents love change. Change means molecules in motion. Change means opportunity.

    Throughout this book, we'll also show you how to wring every last ounce of opportunity out of any project or objective in your company. The strategies and tactics that create successful projects are based on the same principles that drive leadership. They're all about driving for the win and never, ever doing anything just because "that's the way we've always done it."

    In the leadership model we developed for Steven Jobs and Mike Murray at Apple, we contrasted two kinds of leadership: bigness leadership vs. change leadership.

    * Bigness leadership is the leadership of the incumbent and is the norm of leadership culture at the great majority of companies, most of which follow the leading incumbent in strategy and style. Bigness leaders love size, share, and gross profit — whatever is about bigness.

    * Change leadership values speed and mobility over size. It's all about change and disruption. Change leaders want to create marketplace value. They figure share will follow. They focus on net, because that's a better metric for evaluating true marketplace value. You can't cut your way to sustainable net profit.

    * Bigness leaders like formality in business processes and bureaucracy driving the organization. Formality and bureaucracy are like the orthodox rituals of many religions. They are intended to promise that what was will be.

    * Change leaders are informal in demeanor, organization, and development of strategy. We aren't talking about "casual Friday" every day or sushi in the cafeteria. We are talking about a bias toward loose organization and flexible strategies. Change leaders organize organically around the challenge inherent in their business vision. What works is what works — until it doesn't work.

    * To the incumbent leader, disruption is disturbing. It's what happens to them, not what they cause to happen.

    * To the insurgent leader, disruption is the central business process.

    We want to teach you to be an insurgent, a change leader, because that's the style of leadership that succeeds in today's business, political, military, and information age. In an environment in which change is in control of the dialogue, insurgents hold the winning cards against incumbents everywhere.

    Learn to Love Change

    If you want to become a leader today, whether you are leading a short-term project, a startup, or a global corporation, we already know the theme of your campaign for leadership. The theme will be change.

    All markets are transforming today. Most companies are either transforming or need to start transforming in a hurry. That makes the rule of this age quite simple: lead change or be changed. Getting behind change means losing. Leading change means winning. If you're not transforming the markets you're in, then someone else is doing it, and soon you will be playing by their rules. In most markets, it's a rising insurgent brand that's doing the disrupting. ("The Rise of the Insurgent Brand" is another interesting story and an upcoming book from the two of us.)

    If the current management, board of directors, or shareholders don't need or want to change from the company's status quo, then they don't need or want a leader like you. And if you value the longevity of your business career, you don't need or want a company like theirs.

    The new leadership will be coming of age in global organizations over the next decade. In a few of them, it already has. The new leadership is change leadership.

    Today's unprecedented alienation between governments and citizens is caused by the gulf in attitudes toward change. Citizens of the United States and most other countries, like it or not, have gone through fundamental and often catastrophic change since 2009. Government? It just keeps on keeping on. Nothing changes.

    Citizens adapt to change, for better or for worse. Governments ignore it, always for worse. Citizens are resilient because they must be. Governments are rigid because they can be. Our political research in the United States particularly shows that the citizens — Republican or Democrat, old or young, all ethnicities, all incomes, all levels of education — are ready to rumble. The wild 2016 presidential campaign proves it. In politics, it's called revolution. In business, it's called disruption.

    To lead change today and tomorrow, you are going to have to lead a group, a team, a company, or even a corporation. Gallup does monthly polls measuring "employee engagement." Lately, that engagement number is in the low 30% range. That means about 70% of employees come to work, check Facebook, snooze and doodle through a couple of meetings, play Candy Crush, eat, complain, and go home. Rinse and repeat.

    Former Hewlett-Packard CEO and former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has said the job of leadership is to unlock the potential of your company's people. We agree, but we'd be a little harsher in light of this general engagement funk. We'd say the job of today's leadership is to get those people off their asses and up on the balls of their feet, leaning forward.

    The challenge of leadership is to give people compelling reasons to get up and into action.

    By the way: "Because I'm the boss" is not a compelling reason. Yes, you can call for action. You can even demand action (Dagnabit!). But today's employees, even if they fear for their jobs, will only give you a full effort if the full meaning of that effort energizes them.

    To be a change leader, you have to be a communications leader. You must communicate the meaning of the work and the destination of each project. Studies have shown that communication amounts to more than two-thirds of the leader's job today.

    When Ronald Reagan was president, the press often characterized him as "The Great Communicator." They often meant it derisively, their point being that this was all there was to him. His defense came from an unlikely place, The New Yorker. It went something like this: "Think about the job of president. He must communicate the complicated workings of our government to the American people. He must gain consensus behind his policies and programs. And he must define America in the world."

    As a leader in today's information environment, you have to be a great communicator, period. You can be a genius innovator or a black belt bean counter, but if you can't communicate effectively and compellingly, you're out of luck. If you are going to lead change in your company or your group, you must excite people about the possibilities of change.

    We can tell you they won't be excited about the prospects of continual change unless change leads to something important, something great. Change for change's sake is just chaos.

    Chaos? It's a situation we've all found ourselves in from time to time, and it's a miserable and untenable situation. Mao Zedong's "Cultural Revolution" was change for change's sake. In rural China alone, historians Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals wrote (Mao's Last Revolution), 36 million people were persecuted and between 750,000 and 1.5 million were killed, with about the same number permanently injured. That kind of chaos insulates dictators and oligarchies, at the expense of the good of the people (and, always, always in the name of "the people").

    Change has to be changing things toward the realization of a positive vision, a New Deal, a New Frontier that leads to a better day for all stakeholders. The two questions leaders of productive change ask are starkly simple: "Where are we going?" and "Why are we going there?" It's your job as leader to answer those questions and define the meaning of the work you and your team are doing together. (In Step 6, you will find a way to answer these questions.)

    If you do a 360-scan of the typical corporate cafeteria, it will seem like a mighty tall challenge to get those people moving in any direction other than toward the dessert bar. Can these people be turned into winners? Can they be turned into an insurgent force that will follow you to victory?

    The answer is yes, and history proves it. Others have done it and led their companies to success. Sure, change can make employees in a traditional bureaucracy very uneasy. But it can also make them outperform their potential. Consider that every major corporate turnaround is done with essentially the same people who were failing under an incumbent leader. Under John Akers, IBM was losing relevance, losing market share, and losing faith in itself. In came Lou Gerstner. He not only turned the company and culture around, he did it with the very people who were considered dead weight in the Akers administration. Likewise, in the early 2000s, Mike Roberts led McDonald's out of the deepest rut it had ever been in using the same staff on which his predecessor had blamed his failure. And Bob Iger turned around The Walt Disney Company with the very people in whom Michael Eisner had lost all faith.

    By the same token, all the super-smart, super-achiever people in the world cannot overcome a mediocre leader. Almost every tech failure in the past decade proves that.

    In politics, the infamous Dukakis for President 1988 campaign team seemed to be the gang that couldn't shoot straight. They were the idiots who put Dukakis in the tank. After a humiliating defeat to Roger Ailes and Bush 41, they skulked away. Yet, contrary to what F. Scott Fitzgerald declared, there are second acts in America. That same team, woman for woman/man for man, returned four years later as the "It's the Economy, Stupid!" whiz kids who could do no wrong in running the election of Bill Clinton. The difference between 1988 and 1992? Leadership. Call it "the candidate as CEO." Footnote: Those same people were chosen to run Hillary Clinton's campaign for president. Hmmmm.

    So you can get them off their asses and on their feet, moving forward. (But it won't be easy.) Employees, just like consumers and voters, are sophisticated, savvy, and very cynical these days. You may expect employee loyalty, but chances are you won't get it for the simple reason that they don't expect company loyalty. During the Great Recession, they found that no company was loyal to its employees, not when the BOD, shareholders, and activist investors were screaming for cost cutting.

    Do you still want to be a leader? Why?

    Step 1 is about stepping up. Repeat after us: "I want to be a leader. I want to lead this company or my own company or both. I want to be a change leader."

    Okay, we heard you. The next question is why do you want to be a leader?

    It is important to answer it because that "why" will be the meaning that unites your team behind you. Our friend Fran Tarkenton became a Hall of Fame quarterback not just because of his innate talent and not just because he may be the most competitive person on earth. His HOF career happened because he firmly believed that for him to win, everybody on his team had to win. For him to succeed, everybody had to be successful. He went on to lead an expansion team of misfits to three Super Bowls.

    So let's turn that philosophy into an audible: "I want to win. If I am going to win, you have to win. So I am going to make you a winner." Fran has taken that attitude from NFL football into business and made a mega success of the Tarkenton Companies.

    A good place to start answering the "Why do I want to lead?" question is at the end. Think destination: Where do you want to be when you finish? What will it look like and feel like? How do you want to be seen? How do you want to change the world? What will your obituary say?

    We often conduct destination sessions with leaders and company groups to clarify the goals of any project. What is the win? (More about this in Step 2.) It's okay to be a little crass and selfish in defining your destination. In a capitalist society, you cannot avoid equating business success with financial success. But Amazon's warehouses are filled with books that will tell you convincingly that financial success is not enough. So, define the effect you want to have on the people around you. How will they think, feel, and behave differently as a result of your leadership? How will they define your meaning?

    There was a time, maybe in Don "Mad Men" Draper's day, when people held business leaders in high esteem. Today, people who are not in leadership positions (for instance, employees, partners, suppliers, shareholders, the press, communities) don't take business leadership very seriously. Are you a CEO? Oh, then you're a one-percenter. You're a suit. You're out of touch with the 99% or 47% or whatever. In fact, you're an arrogant, egotistical son of a bitch, with your own freaking jet, an exotic set of wheels, and a beach house in the Hamptons, for the love of God! And if you're a woman who leads — well, you're bitchy, you're self-absorbed, you're trying to act like a man, and you are having (they all hope) a miserable home life.


    Excerpted from "The Leadership Campaign"
    by .
    Copyright © 2016 Scott Miller and David Morey.
    Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
    All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
    Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

    Table of Contents

    Preface 8

    Step 1 Decide to Run 17

    Step 2 Think, Plan, and Act Like an Insurgent 41

    Step 3 Build Your Kitchen Cabinet 57

    Step 4 Prepare Your Campaign Inside-Out 75

    Step 5 Announce Your Candidacy 105

    Step 6 Define Everything 121

    Step 7 Control the Dialogue 141

    Step 8 Gain Momentum 159

    Step 9 Exploit Crisis 177

    Step 10 Leadership, the Campaign 209

    Index 215

    About the Authors 221

    Customer Reviews