Excellence by Mark Pack & Edward Maxfield

By at August 26, 2013 | 1:12 pm | Print

Excellence by Mark Pack & Edward Maxfield

Edward Maxfield 2013

We are what we repeatedly do; excellence is not an act but a habit.
Nicomachean Ethics

Excellence is not like electricity. It is not something you can simply turn on when required and expect to start flowing. Rather it is a habit, something you acquire by regular practice until it becomes second nature and instinctive. The training and experience that comes with repetition is what excellence needs.

Repetition makes excellent behaviour a habit, bringing two crucial advantages for the over-worked political campaigner. First, the better your habits and the higher the standards they reach, the better protected you are against the inevitable slippage as exhaustion, pressure and a shortage of time all combine to waylay even the best of campaigners. If you are normally excellent and circumstances occasionally bring you down a notch to good, that is fine; if you are normally mediocre, however, they will reduce you to poor and that is anything but fine.

That is not the only advantage excellence brings. As excellence becomes a habit in one area, you can spend time thinking and practising on the next. Those who settle for mediocre not only slip to poor in the pressures of an election but they also fail to expand their skills if they are always battling just to be mediocre. If you want an outstanding election result you need to run an outstanding campaign.

Moreover, you can never quite be sure what moment of detail will turn out to be crucial. At a computer, a failure to check may not mess up one email but hundreds of thousands of target letters, or a sloppy policy promise may not be a quickly forgotten comment to a supporter but something turned into headline news by the journalist standing just behind. Unless you seek for excellence, sloppiness will not only infect the campaign, it will catch you out both when you think matters are trivial and also when they are vital.

This lesson was taken from our book, 101 Ways To Win An Election which in addition to the 10 in this series has another 91 for you to learn from! Buy the book

Dr Mark Pack is the co-author of 101 Ways To Win an Election and former Head of Innovations for the UK’s Liberal Democrat party, where he ran the party’s 2001 and 2005 online general election campaigns. His internet campaigning firsts include arranging the first British political party leader on Facebook and the first British election candidate website to take online donations.

@markpack on Twitter

Dr Edward Maxfield has worked as a campaigns and communications professional for over a decade. He currently runs the constituency office of Norman Lamb, UK Member of Parliament and Health Minister in the Coalition Government. Ed was a member of the Liberal Democrats’ national campaigns team from 2001 to 2006 and has also worked as a lecturer, a lobbyist and for some of the world’s biggest business consultancy firms.

Management & Strategy

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