Never be your own campaign manager. You’ll suck at both jobs.
It’s an old saying in the legal profession that any man who chooses to represent himself in court has a fool for a client. The same is true of a candidate who decides to be his or her own campaign manager.
I’m not just talking about someone who actually makes a conscious decision to manage their campaign. That’s a fairly rare occurrence. The bigger problem is candidates who ACT as their own campaign manager, even though they’ve given that role to someone else.
Campaigns are fast-paced and often brutal. The Military Genius Carl Von Clausewitz said that “politics is war by other means,” and he was completely right. As in war, concentrating decision making and execution authority in one person is a really bad idea. It stifles creativity, paralyzes the team and creates huge informational blind spots. In war, this gets people killed. In campaigns, you lose.
Within your campaign, you should cultivate a culture of decentralized command. Clearly delegate responsibility for decisions and actions within your team. Train them well and trust them to execute. Seek their counsel and don’t waste anxiety on their small mistakes.
By building this type of organization, you’ll be freer to do what a candidate is supposed to do: talk to voters and donors. Virtually everything else should be off your plate. Worrying about the walk lists for Saturday or whether you have enough of the right sizes of t-shirts for the next volunteer shift isn’t your job. Getting wrapped up in your campaign manager or field director’s field of fire will only cloud your mind and push you off your game.
To find out more about what it takes to win a political campaign, go to MyCampaignCoach.com. You can also check out our interviews with Candidates, Elected Officials, Consultants and Campaign Staff on the How to Run for Office Podcast! On Facebook, you can find our campaign mastermind group by searching for the Elite Campaign Mastermind and our page under My Campaign Coach. If you want to help support our efforts, you can do that with financial support via Patreon.com/mycampaigncoach or by giving us a nice rating on iTunes!
Also published on Medium.
I have been asked to be campaign manager for a friend that is running for county treasurer. We live in a small area where campaigns are won and lost by a handful of votes. There is so much information on these pods casts, I don’t know where to start. We have six weeks. Is there someplace that I can get a job description and an idea of a way to get some money to buy signs and slim jims or door knockers? What do I do first?
Julia, I missed this comment and am terribly sorry for not making myself available to help. I would love to find out how things played out and what you learned through the process. Please shoot me an email and we can schedule a time to talk.