Updated: Dec 7, 2020
In this series, I share the story of my own leadership journey. And that journey begins with my time as a Campaign Manager... right after graduate school... with no prior experience at all.
Nevertheless, in 2010, I found myself managing a statewide political campaign. Not surprisingly, I was doubted. I was a total unknown in the political world, and nobody had ever heard of me. But they were comfortable judging me. In the eyes of many, I was “too young” or “too inexperienced” for a leadership role.
So, how did I overcome the doubts and the assumptions about me and help take our campaign to victory?
Lesson 1) Know your objective, and Lesson 2) know what it takes to reach that objective.
Leaders have to know where the goal is, and how to get the team there.
In a campaign setting, these were fairly straightforward. Election day deadlines were very clear, as was our desire to win. But we still had to develop a strategy to deliver the win. Our primary strategic objective was creating awareness. We did this by doing speaking events around the state, creating a top-notch sign program, and making traditional political ad purchases.
Once you have the goal, and the strategy to get there, then you have to start doing the work. A critical first step is found in lesson 3.
Lesson 3) Create a good team. Delegate to them.
While managing the campaign, I was fortunate to have an incredible team around me. Especially our sign team. They did an amazing job, so all I had to do was check in and remove obstacles that came up for them.
A quick way to build your team? Create your organizational chart and begin to fill those crucial roles. Then, delegate work to those new team members.
You can’t delegate everything though. For example, the campaign schedule and budget were two areas that required my attention. Luckily, my organizational and time management skills were directly applicable and allowed me to perform these tasks with relative ease.
Lesson 4) Lead by example. People don’t follow titles, they follow leadership. Lead by example. Talk the talk AND walk the walk.
Lesson 5) YOU CAN DO THIS. Everything starts with belief in yourself.
You can start the company or take on the new role and thrive! You have analogous skills that will translate into this role. Identify them, and then work harder than you’ve ever worked before.
There are some universally applicable skills and traits that are needed for ANY role:
Having a strong work ethic
Having good time management skills
Having strong research and critical thinking skills
So, consider the skills you DO have, and how they translate into this new role. How can they help you overcome the challenges facing you?
As a final note, remember this: at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the results. Did you reach the goal, or no?
So, if I can manage a statewide campaign with NO prior experience, imagine what you can do with your years of training, experience, and networking??
Additional Reading for Leadership & Management Development:
About the Author:
Matt Beckmann is the Founder & Managing Director of Ascent Consultants. In addition to experience as a former Chief of Staff to the Missouri Auditor and as a Corporate Vice President and General Counsel, he has advanced training and certifications in law, business, coaching, athletics, and other disciplines. His blog content, inspired by his deep passion for unlocking his reader's best potential, consistently equips business owners and individuals with the knowledge and resources to overcome obstacles that may be hindering growth.
Ascent Consultants provides business and project management consulting services, and executive and leadership development coaching. By converting client growth goals into an actionable "game plan," we lead companies and individuals to extraordinary outcomes.