Boldness is a tactic, not a Strategy
Yes there is a difference – and a potentially huge one.
You create strategy based on a number of factors – you your advisory, the environment, the stakes. Being bold at the right moment can be vital – but it is a tool, a tactic, not a strategy.
There is no substitute for planning and preparation.
Too many activists want to “do something now” but refuse to think through the situation, or plan their steps, anticipate possible reactions. They attack the motives of those who want to make sure there are adequate resources to fund the programs, or make the programs happen.
The result of these bold but misguided frontal assaults is burned out and discouraged activists and half baked ideas that hurts efforts from other groups.
This is not to say that boldness and political courage are bad things.
As part of the planning and preparation process you need to make sure that you have a bold person to pull the trigger at the critical moment. It is also discouraging to movements when bill sponsors wimp out and when grassroots leaders don’t hold elected officials accountable at election time.
Don’t mistake boldness for brilliance. Sometimes the courageous are just crazy. Be sure those who urge caution are not cowards. Real leaders plan, prepare and implement boldly.
Speaking of boldness – congratulations to Rand Paul for winning the GOP nomination in Kentucky. The GOP Establishment twisted, distorted and maligned Dr. Paul every step of the way, but he stuck to his guns and prevailed.
A great victory like this does not just happen. Rand has attracted a large number of supporters, many of whom came into the political arena from Ron Paul Presidential campaign. New activists have risen up and made a huge difference.
But don’t think that this race was won just because of “organic” or “spontaneous” grassroots activism. That would just ignore reality. Some very good people took time off their political jobs to help in the campaign. Sen. Jim DeMint helped attract some additional support from other conservative groups.
The race is not over. The “corporate/establishment/business as usual” crowd is terrified at the prospect of someone like Rand in Senate. Independent thinkers scare the heck out of them. People like Sen. Coburn and other lawmakers who are not motivated by desperately holding on to an office threaten to derail the plans of special interests. No doubt the attacks will continue through November.
Sometimes (and too often) marketers work to manipulate people. I define manipulation as working to spread an idea or generate an action that is not in a person’s long-term best interest.
The easiest people to manipulate are those that don’t demand a lot of information are open to messages from authority figures and are willing to make decisions on a hunch, particularly if there’s a promise of short-term gains.
If you want to focus on the short run and sell something, get a vote or gather a mob, the easiest place to start is with populations that leave themselves open to manipulation.
There are habits and activities that leave people open to manipulation. I’m not saying they are wrong or right, just pointing out that these behaviors make you open to being manipulated… Here are a few general categories of behaviors that manipulators seek out:
- Believing something because you heard someone say it on a news show on cable TV.
- Being a child (or acting like one).
- Buying penny stocks.
- Repeating a mantra heard from a figurehead or leader of a tribe without considering whether it’s true.
- Trying to find a short cut to lose weight, make money or achieve some other long-term goal.
- Ignoring the scientific method and embracing unexamined traditional methods instead.
- Focusing on (and believing) easily gamed bestseller lists or crowds.
- Inability to tolerate fear and uncertainty.
- Focus on now at the expense of the long term.
- Allowing the clothes of the messenger (a uniform, a suit and tie, a hat) to influence your perception of the information he delivers (add gender, fame, age and race to this too).
- Reliance on repetition and frequency to decide what’s true.
- Desire to stick with previously made decisions because cognitive dissonance is strong.
- Inability to ignore sunk costs.
- Problem saying ‘no’ in social situations.
Interesting to note that AM radio used to be filled with ads for second mortgages. And now? Gold.
Manipulating people using modern techniques is astonishingly easy (if the marketer have few morals). You only make it easier when you permit people and organizations that want to take advantage of you to do so by allowing them to use your good nature and your natural instincts against you. It happens every day in Washington DC, online, on TV and in your local community institutions.