June 9th, 2012 11:13 EST
Who Outthought the Competition in Wisconsin?
The Wisconsin recall election has been publicized as the second most important election of 2012, as a predictor of the November presidential election. The results have been touted as a sign that voters want a government that thinks like a business, ready to make hard, fiscally driven choices. But if we look at the election from a strategic lens, we see most pundits miss the real point. The results are not about how voters might behave in November, but rather all about the competition.
Â· An ancient strategy: smart strategists understand the power of launching a false attack, an attack not intended for victory but instead launched to gather information about the competition. The Chinese call this beat the grass to startle the snake. Microsoft applied this effectively twenty years ago when beat Netscape in the internet browser war. Comcast is doing it now as it plans to take on Netflix. Google does this by launching endless beta products. You attack not to win, but to learn how the competition will react.
Â· Wisconsin tells us nothing about the electorate: if a business strategists were to assess what we can learn from the Wisconsin election, they would quickly conclude we can learn nothing meaningful about voters. For learn something about customers, corporate marketers know their test has to be replicable and significant. The Wisconsin election was neither.
o Republicans will not be able to replicate the 7-time fundraising advantage in November
o Voters were not voting for parties, but on the principle of recalls
o With just 2% of the population, Wisconsin is not represent a statistically significant sample
Â· Wisconsin instead tells us about the competition: smart corporate strategists use such small-scale battles not to win customers, but to learn about the competitor`s strategy. It shows interesting differences between how each party plans to compete in the Presidential election
Â· Why Obama stayed away: There is a story of two old, master swordsman who line up for a duel. When the referee orders them to fight, each stands still. They know any movement will communicate important information to their opponent. Revealing information puts you at a disadvantage. Regardless of your political views, it is clear that by putting less into the fight than Republicans did, Democrats revealed less. Perhaps this is why President Obama kept did little to get involved beyond a tweet on the eve of the election
Kaihan Krippendorff (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the author of Outthink the Competition and three other books. A former business consultant with McKinsey & Company, he works with executives from companies including Microsoft, Symantec, L`Oreal, and GE to help them intelligently manage their competition. He writes one of the most popular blogs on Fastcompany.com. Recent appearance on Fox Business: http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/1503044870001/
Kaihan shows that with a compelling idea anyone can change the world. "- Mohammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner
"Kaihan`s groundbreaking work on strategy development changes the game for organizations facing an increasingly competitive environment. As a consultant and facilitator, Kaihan makes developing strategy look easy but don`t be fooled. The easygoing demeanor masks depths of experience, a razor-sharp intellect and true creative genius. We have benefited from working with this emerging leader in the field of strategic consulting." - Shannon Wallis, Global Director, Leadership Programs, Microsoft
We invited Kaihan to address a global body of our top talent. He delivers cutting edge business concepts with his own unique tools in a way that inspires leaders to think differently. His professional approach, innovative concepts and deep knowledge of strategy holds up against the most sophisticated and experienced audiences. " - Robert Cancalosi, Chief Learning Officer, GE Healthcare
Judyth Piazza interviews Kaihan Krippendorff, Author of OUTthink the Competition