Former Medronic chair and True North author, Bill George believes companies and non-profits thrive by adopting the “we” approach that enabled Obama to win. (Working on the campaign I know, first-hand, how powerfully efficient and satisfying such “we” experiences can be.) George offers these lessons, with my headlines:
• Place to Participate
Obama created a grassroots movement by building an ever-expanding organization of empowered leaders, who in turn engaged people from their social networks like Facebook.
One Main Thing
• The entire organization was aligned around a single goal—electing Obama as President—and operated with common values (“Offer messages of hope, don’t denigrate our opponents, refuse to make deals”).
Focus on Our Goal, Not “Me”
• Campaign leaders subordinated their egos and personal ambitions to the greater goal. Those who deviated quickly exited.
Work on the Connection Not the Conflict
• Obama set a clear, consistent tone from the top (“No Drama Obama”), and never wavered, even when things weren’t going well.
Show How All Parts Are Connected to the Whole
• Obama’s greater mission transcended internal goals, such as fund-raising, endorsements, and campaign events, but each of these areas had goals tied to the greater mission.
Provide the Most Efficient Ways to Communicate and Collaborate
• The campaign team used the most modern Internet tools to communicate, motivate, and inspire people and to guide their actions. Each day, 5 million people received personal messages from campaign headquarters or even Obama himself. This organization collaborated across a wide range of geographies and campaign functions, all tightly integrated nationally and executed locally.