Any CEO will tell you “It’s lonely at the top”. History is littered with dead heroes who went out on solo quests, accomplished their goals, but perished in the process. Those that survive the change they lead do so because they don’t do it on their own. They bring the team with them. This is what Avon’s new CEO Sherilyn McCoy must do. This is what Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker did.
Surviving The Wisconsin Recall Election
Walker knew he couldn’t withstand the recall on his own. He needed help and support from others – a lot of others. One of the keys to Walker’s success was how broadly he defined the team. He went beyond his current supporters, beyond his state, to reach out to people across the United States. Twice as much money was spent on this recall election as was ever spent before on any election for governor in Wisconsin. Walker outspent his opponents by a large margin with 2/3 of the money he raised from out of state.
Steps to Survive Your Own Recall Election
Every new leader faces recall elections. The key to surviving your recalls is getting the support of the people that vote and the people that influence those that vote.
There’s always a conversation about six months after leaders assumes new positions. Someone asks those leaders’ bosses how they are doing. Don’t kid yourself. Those are recall elections. If things are going well, the leaders survive. If they don’t win the vote, they’re gone. Maybe not right then, but sooner or later. Often the vote is explicit. Other times it’s implicit. But there’s always a vote.
Lead. But don’t lead on your own.
- Get clear on your purpose, your vision, your values.
- Leverage that purpose, vision, and values to inspire and enable others.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for those others’ help when your recall elections come – and they will.