Winning When Everybody is Mad at You

These seven statements give an indication of my philosophy and strategic approach for winning:

  1. Wage peace every day. Do something else when you will have war for sure. War produces casualties and victims, all of whom work to live long enough to destroy your best efforts. Reduce the production of critics at every opportunity.
  2. Contention is the absence of agreement. Work for agreement, incrementally, every day.
  3. Getting permission depends upon gaining public agreement and consent. Avoid and resist anything, anyone, or any decision, that delays, denies, disables, or damages the permission process.
  4. Control testosterosis. Anger, irritation, frustration, confrontation cloud judgment, damage relationships, cause misunderstandings, and rarely accomplish anything good.
  5. Recognize and leverage from the patterns of democracy, avoid political games and game players, all those people have different agendas from yours.
  6. Work as directly as you can. Like most everything that matters in life, agreement is generally achieved, when the principals relentlessly commit to sit down face-to-face and directly work it out.
  7. Success depends on communication, common sense, direct, prompt action, empathy, transparency and engagement. Explain to everyone as well as remind them of your communication and behavior intentions so they will know how to behave in return.

Winning depends on recognizing five realities:

  1. Accomplishing your goals is going to take longer than ever imagined even to achieve significant milestones;
  2. Success will defy financial management, more money will be spent for things one never imagined would happen, or be requested or required;
  3. The stomach for all the lies, misunderstandings, deceptions, bad behaviors and misrepresentations, angry, frightened and powerless people, with a willing media, will create, and the outrageous motives they will ascribe to you, with all of your explanations, good work and intentions just bouncing off.
  4. The staying power required because democracy is slow, sometimes silly, even stupid, sloppy, expensive, and endless.
  5. Unlike financial transactions, chemical experiments, science, finance and engineering, public processes rarely have endpoints.

Some of this sounds incredibly pessimistic. But it’s really a description of how things are actually going to go. If democracy is one thing, it is a process. Those who propose, if they can stay the course, can expect to achieve less than they hoped, sometimes far less, but wind up with more than they need to achieve their objectives.

I love to be wrong. But I’m rarely surprised, I pretty much know what is going to happen and work preemptively and constructively to shorten the timelines and lower the barriers that are inevitable to succeed.