Turnout Matters - Leadership SHIFT Tip

Back in my corporate sales and marketing days, I had to travel to Washington, DC for a meeting with our government affairs office. When my new general counsel heard I was driving down, he asked to hitch a ride. Since he was just starting out, I welcomed the chance to get to know him better. But to be honest, I wondered if we would have enough material to fill our four-hour drive.

In hindsight, my worry was silly — our conversation bounced from topic to topic, and somewhere along the way I shared my frustration with our company’s marketing approval committee process. He listened to my slightly dictatorial desires and then shared, “The process, like democracy, is messy. It’s meant to be that way.” His statement was an undeniable truth.

Another truth, with work and politics, is that turnout matters, and, like engagement and enrollment, it is driven by status. The simple approach is to motivate through the fear of losing status. A better way is to inspire a turnout by connecting an aspirational future with inclusion and empathy.

Sparking an optimistic turnout is as challenging as democracy is messy, but it’s important to put forth the emotional labor to make it happen. It’s the only way your peloton will have a chance of reaching the next level and avoid falling back to the days when only a few people had the status to stand under the tent.

Have fun storming the castle!

To those celebrating the Festival of Lights, Happy Hanukkah. And to my former general counsel, who is now a dear friend, an early mazel tov on your upcoming nuptials this Saturday. It’s a celebration that is worthy of a turnout.

And finally, War Eagle and Roll Tide. Thank you for turning out.

“Where there is no vision,
there is no hope.”
- George Washington Carver

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And discover how you can develop more resilience, grit, and 20 ways to become your best in my memoir, Shift: Creating Better Tomorrows. All net proceeds go to World Bicycle Relief.

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