Sunday, October 07, 2007

Election is Around the Corner

First let me stress that as a Political Leadership Coach I must remain a-political when coaching my clients. It's not about my politics; it's about whether they're where they want to be and if not, how to get there. So the following blog would apply to anyone running from any party. It is, however about the person who is the incumbent for my riding.

I should have titled this blog "Things NOT to do when running for office" but thought you'd figure that out for yourself.

It all started over a month ago when I began getting recorded message blasts by phone asking me to support the leader of my incumbent's party on a provincial level. I was getting one or two a week, voice mails when I wasn't home and messages blasting in my ear when I was home and picked up the phone. Those escalated to sometimes two a day. I wrote this politician's office asking them to cease and desist stating that if she wanted my support, then she should have the decency to have a conversation with me. If she wasn't interested in my viewpoint then why, pray tell would I be interested in hers? The questions that had come to mind were 1) Did she not care what I had to say or felt and therefore wanted to be as visible as possible regardless of my opinions? 2) Was she not able to carry on a conversation and needed a script to follow to get her message across? I couldn't think of a third but neither would make me want to vote for her.

I got a response, a canned response akin to what you get by machine when you're put on hold and told "We're sorry for the inconvenience". Please send us your name and address and you'll be removed from our list.

I did.

I wasn't.

Adding insult to injury I later received a phone call from someone who sounded like she was no more than 12 years of age asking (and I quote) "Can we count on your vote in the upcoming election?" Now this phone call, after 9:00 PM came about an hour after a recorded message call. My answer to this teenager was "I haven't made up my mind yet". I wanted to see what she would do with that answer.

Her reply? "OK Fine." and she hung up.

So, if this happened to you...would you entrust your well being in your government to someone like this?

When I start with a political leader, one of my first questions is "Who are you and why would anyone care?" If they can't tell me something that engages me, well they won't captivate or engage the media or anyone else for that matter and will be trying to win favor as long as they're in office, if they get into office. Well, I can tell my incumbent that there is no way in hell I would ever vote for her. To be insulted by someone who expects she will represent me (not earned that right) is not acceptable. This behavior is nothing short of insulting. It's not about the party. It's about trust.

So when you go to the polls, no matter where you live, ask yourself "Do I trust this person with my well-being?" Then vote with where the answer takes you. And when I'm working with political leaders I ask the question "Can the people going to the polls trust you with their well being?" And we go from there...

Best! Donna Karlin

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