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Never be your own campaign manager. You’ll suck at both jobs.

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.

Who’s Winning?

So who’s winning so far: You or 2018? I’ve got to admit for me the battle is a day to day thing. Even with all the tools and resolve I talked about last week, life happens and high goals are hard to reach.

The encouraging thing is that in the moments when control seems to be illusive, we’ve got an emergency checklist.

I had to go back and reread that blog this week. Between new work responsibilities and Campaign Sidekick and the My Campaign Coach responsibilities…not to mention a 3.5 month old son, beautiful bride and two dogs…It’s not hard to see why I needed the reminder!

But the fact is that I’m sure you have a very similar list. Setting tough goals for yourself and trying to get the most out of life results invariably in facing the same kinds of difficulties that I’m talking about.

New to the Podcast:

With our first year of the podcast and over 35,000 downloads in the rear view mirror, I want 2018 to be a YUGE year for our podcast. I say “our” not just to describe the My Campaign Coach team but all of our listeners broadly. It wouldn’t be worth doing if y’all didn’t listen and give me the feedback that you do. It’s both encouragement AND advice.

We kicked off the year with a great conversation about opposition research and followed it up with a return visit from Drew Ryun. I asked Drew to share the lessons he’s learned from raising millions of dollars and managing countless voter canvassing operations.

We’ve even got a NEW Podcast!

We don’t want to change the interview format that y’all have enjoyed so much, but we’ve had requests for a shorter, campaign tips focused program. So, we’re launching the My Campaign Coach Minute. It’s up on iTunes now and you can help us out by subscribing and giving us a 5-star review!

The only episode we’ve got up at the moment is a quick introduction, but the real episodes will start in early February.

Each episode of the My Campaign Coach Minute will be 60-90 seconds long and be focused on a specific, bite-sized piece of campaign wisdom that you can use immediately. I’ll give you the tip, tell you why it’s important, how you can use it and, when appropriate, share a campaign war story.

That’s a lot to pack into 60-90 seconds, right? Brevity takes work but I’m going to focus on delivering maximum value in minimum time…all without resorting to an auctioneer’s speaking tempo.

We’re going to show 2018 who’s boss!

Starting a new year is often a mixture of optimism and insanity…at least it is for me. I’m pumped about my goals, plan and making it a great year. But I’m also immediately confronted with the forces of reality and lesser angels that kept me from doing better last year (I’m looking at you, weight loss goal!).

But even with that struggle, I’m focused on kicking butt in 2018. I hope that’s where you’ll keep your attention as well.

Focus on the opportunity. Work the plan. Don’t freak out over what you can’t control. Kick. Some. Butt.

How can I help?

As you’ve got questions or face specific hurdles, don’t hesitate to reach out. You’ve got my email address and I hope you won’t shy away from pinging me. I’m always looking for content ideas, feedback and guests to have on the show!

From My Campaign Coach:


Don’t Lose Your Election Like Hillary Clinton


Since Donald Trump’s win over Hillary Clinton last November, there’s been more than a few books, blogs, and TV shows dedicated to figuring out how the heck he did it. There are plenty of contributing factors, but it’s clear that one Yuge reason played a heavy role:

Hillary Clinton KNEW she was going to win.

The old adage says: there are two ways to run a race: Scared or Unopposed. — Hillary missed that memo.

Her campaign-long “advantage” in polling, the media, and Trump’s mis-steps all contributed to a sense of security and inevitability among her entire team. In their minds, there was just no way for them to lose!

As a result, they got complacent and played it safe. They played it far too safe.

Here’s the thing: You can make this mistake too! And it can kill your campaign as surely as it did hers.

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