We often learn more from our failures than from our success, if we’re willing to reflect on our actions.
Over the summer of 2015 I participated in an Initiative Ballot election intended to bring local governance to the residents of our fair community. It was an abysmal failure. By the advice of the maxim above we had fertile grounds for learning! As I’m a bit of an organizational management wonk, I learned all the ways we failed due to our poor organizational efforts. Below is a list of organizational blunders to ensure you loose a referendum vote, or, perhaps any other serious endeavor requiring a skilled, focused and talented groups of professionals.
Top eleven ways to lose an referendum election
- Lack clean and clear lines of responsibility / Form a collaborative committee of equals
- Fail to identify all operational domains, and stubbornly refuse to engage fully with the most influential ones.
- Disseminate inaccurate information. Don’t’ understand your facts or the ’cause and effect’ before engaging in the effort.
- Do not synchronize, practice, or rehearse your public speaking events. Focus the wrong message with the wrong audience.
- Mix pleasure and work at group meetings, so they wander and fail to accomplish the intended, essential requirements.
- Change leadership mid-way through the effort.
- Fail to establish an active OODO response loop to address emergent issues; lose the initiative.
- Fail to establish appropriate metrics to calibrate the campaign’s effectiveness.
- Fail to organized with key personnel attending to the most vital elements of success. Have everybody work on everything and nothing.
- Fail to secure sufficient funding to resource the operation.
- Sprint through an endurance race.
Further words of advice that could have been useful before the election: Machiavelli suggested that creators of new systems will earn the enmity of those who profit from the old system.
If you’re interested in reading the entire article discussing the experience, navigate your way to the ‘Ideas’ menu above, or click here for a .pdf version of the article. The Death of a city that Never Was ver 2