Carter F Smith February 23, 2008 at 3:37 pm

The bottom line is that all these politicians need is a crash course on relationships. In the marketplace, the reaction to someone who completely and totally offends your offering of a relationship is the removal of that offering, the commitment to take your business elsewhere, and (if they were really offensive) the commitment to report this offense to everyone you know, everyone they know, and as many people as you can by a variety of broadcast mediums. In government and politics, we have to wait a bit longer — usually around four years. Nonetheless, we all remember the ways to get involved in politics from our American Government class, right? If you don’t like the way you are represented, either jump on the bandwagon of someone you agree (more) with, or build your own bandwagon.

Just to make things a little more complex, some scholars are reporting that genetic predisposition can account for up to 50 percent of our political ideology. This revelation comes like a cannon ball in the gut (I’ve never felt it, but I watched enough cartoons as a child to be able to imagine how it feels). Could it be true that it is actually our gut that affects our political persuasion?


Margaret Orem February 22, 2008 at 10:34 am

This reminds me of something that Thomas Power , Chairman of Ecademy suggested that I consider:

In the U.S. the thrust is to conduct business and then develop a relationship, while in the U.K. people develop relationships and then conduct business. Extrapolating that to politics does not seem far afield.

How many missed opportunities have there been and will continue to be when individuals use positional bargaining or when some pick up their toys and go home when others don’t follow their dictates?

It seems to me that controlled, civil, and respectful conversation has always been the mechanism to ease strained relationships and to cultivate new ones, no matter what area of life is involved.

In The Relationship Economy, the thrust is to cultivate relationships, in every media, which will provide value to our lives.

Marc Sirkin February 22, 2008 at 10:20 am

This was and will be the defining moment in these campaigns for me – I believe a similar issue was raised regarding Iran a month or so ago as well – with the same responses from both Obama and Hillary. It’s about trust, humility and conversation.

There is a larger issue here that is affecting not only politics, but marketing and society in general. Having a 2-way conversation (is there any other kind?) with your customers is the right way to build a relationship both in the short and long term.

Obama’s got it right on this account – he clearly understands the term “Relationship Economy.”

Scott Allen February 22, 2008 at 10:09 am

I thought one of the key points Obama made on this topic was regarding the consequences of what Clinton suggests. He said that treating a presidential visit as if it is some kind of privilege which has to be earned reinforces the idea that America is somehow above the rest of the world.

Again, the parallels to the business world are obvious. Many companies act like getting to speak to a supervisor or a manager is a “privilege” — something you have to somehow “earn” by going through the processes with their first line of defense.

I recognize that there are practical issues. You can’t let every single person who calls the company with a problem ask to speak directly to the CEO. But again, that’s not the issue — the point is that diplomacy, including “diplomatic” relationships between companies and customers, as well as between countries, begins with conversation, not with policy.

Thomas Clifford February 22, 2008 at 9:19 am


Interesting post. Two quotes immediately jump into mind…

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

“Seek first to understand and then to be understood.” -Stephen Covey

Seems to me that Obama really does understand the meaning of the word “change.”

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