As we dig deeper into the search for our 2016 presidential candidates a familiar commentary fills our car speakers and television screens. I use the word dig purposefully as we yet again watch the message get lost in the dust as hopefuls dig themselves deeper and deeper into the political pit. I’m not going to bore you with my thoughts about each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses; rather, I’m just sharing my opinion about the process with the people who want my vote: The one’s holding the shovels.
1. Stop talking about strategy.
Running for president is not a job interview. After all, who is really qualified for such a job? Us common folk don’t care about polls, political action committees, or any other BS terminology invented by the ruling class. We don’t care about strategy - we want the right leader for the next four years. We want to know who you are and what you’re about. Be honest and you’ll find that we will understand any mistakes and all the lose-lose situations you will face as president.
2. Stop attacking each other.
This is how you begin to dig yourself into the hole. We don’t care who can land the biggest zinger – only the pundits care because it gives them something to talk about. Focus on the message you have stepped up to tell us about. You earn our respect by demonstrating how well you handle pressure – not by how quickly you succumb to it. We want you to disagree but we want everyone to play nice in the sandbox. Aren’t we all on the same team?
3. Be direct and be nice.
Forget about the ridiculous advice you’re getting from your marketing team. Haircuts, suits, slogans, talking points- they make you look like a used car salesman. It makes you look like the standard we have sadly become accustom to. Tell us who you are, what you think, and you’re priorities. We know that being the president is complicated. We want to know who the person is that will be guiding all that complicated mess. Ultimately – NO ONE is qualified to be president, so stop talking about it. There will be unforeseen situations, (large and small) over the next four years and if we know who you are, we can decide whether we trust you or not.
4. Don’t worry about losing.
Because remember, it’s not a job interview. And a loss doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough. It just means you aren’t the right person right now. We know that you will make lots of money just because you ran and you will be given plenty of opportunities. After all, it’s not about you, it’s about what’s best for this country and that may not be you right now. If you are truly a patriot, then you will not adapt your message to get the position. It is up to the people. We are looking for a leader to guide our culture.
So chin up! Your participation makes the process work better. Thank you for already being part of the solution.
Scott Alexander is a published author, a coach to entrepreneurs and senior executives, an accomplished speaker, and a strategy/leadership consultant.