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October 12, 2008

The Right Man at the Wrong Time

It's not really my place to comment on US politics. I am a big fan but I am not a US citizen so I generally refrain.

But... I really feel drawn to post on poor John McCain. He is the right man at the (very) wrong time. He is obviously honest, staunchly patriotic, valiant and politically adept.

But he is a dry character, and he is running against what might just be the populist politician of our time. Senator Obama is a person who has nurtured a brand of Hope since before he even spoke at the Democratic convention. His combination of youth, his "funny name", his ethnicity and his (apparent) views about change, have turned him into more than a candidate, he has become a moment in history.

McCain's time, if there ever was one, was probably during the 2000 race when he faced off with George Bush in the primaries. But instead of leading the nation in turbulent and historic times, he is now tarred with the same brush as the most unpopular US President in history.

Poor guy..

There is a lesson in this for consultants, and it's something that has annoyed me for a long time.

it is not okay to let the competition in the door, or to let the competition move into an area that we (for some reason) fear quiting on.

There are two outcomes.

They win and succeed, which means that you will never get in the door. (or at least not in the near future)

They win and fail. In which case they will probably poison the water and any engagement you get later will be nothing like what you could have had. (If at all)

It is never a good idea to let the competition in or to let work slip away without even trying for it. Go hard or go home.