Lessons Learned From the Republican Primary Race

It’s open season and the hunt is on; the contest for the Republican presidential contender continues and it’s driving me nuts. Don’t worry I am not going to take sides or talk politics. But I am reminded of something one of our earlier presidents said. In the words of Abe Lincoln- "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." It confounds my intelligence how anyone, politician, business owner, you name it, can expect to satisfy everyone. Maybe what Lincoln meant to say is ‘there is only one way to answer the question- some will like it, some won’t but none will be fooled.’

In order to achieve some things it is necessary to gain the endorsement of a variety of people. There is no better example of this than the political arena. On a local scale people have varying needs and wants; on a scale the size of this country the diversity is overwhelming. In short- it’s not possible to please everyone, much as we might try or more importantly, much as we might promise.

In business we too have the desire to please multiple parties. Employees, share-holders, clients, customers and the public each have unique expectations and it benefits us to please them all. But taking a lesson from the political theater, we know that’s not always possible. While there is no fool-proof method to get around it, there are a few things that will help us move closer to our goal.

Foster Realistic Expectations


We know what we are capable of and there is no advantage to promising that which we cannot deliver. Our capabilities (and limits) form the basis for what others expect of us. If we understand our capabilities and limits we can cultivate expectations that we can consistently fulfill. Better to be able to provide than to make excuses for failing to do so. Remember, we have the ability to set the expectations, we have the responsibility to keep them realistic and we must make sure they are adopted.

Integrity Matters

When asked, the majority of people assign great value to their personal and business "Integrity"
integrity. At the same time, a number many of these same people do not practice what they preach.  A prime example is "inflated size" messaging; the "we" to they refer to is really just "me" but we sounds so much better. It’s better and easier to be who you are; and best of luck if you are not prepared to take on tasks that are suited for a larger team.

Finally, carve out your audience. Since you cannot please all the people all of the time, figure out just who it is you want to please. More is not always better. We'd all like to have more business but that more comes at a cost that we don't always want to (or can afford to) pay. Doing what you do best for those that need or want it most will keep them coming back for more and will keep you as busy as you want to be.  

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