Know the Rules
Today is Presidents’ Day here in the United States, and thinking about our Presidents reminded me of a very important lesson in the world of business and life in general: you have to know the rules in order to win the game. How many times have we seen someone do something and end up losing because they weren’t aware of the rules, or they acted as though the rules were different.
A Big Favorite
In 2007, the real question surrounding the Democratic Party Presidential primaries was not who would win the nomination, but when the other candidates would drop out of the race. Regardless of how you feel about the candidates for the 2008 election, I think it is safe to say that just about everyone thought that Hillary Clinton was the runaway favorite to win the nomination easily. She had solid name recognition, a lot of contacts from her husband’s successful campaigns for President, she did very well in most of the debates, and the people who were opposed to her candidacy could not find one candidate to put their energy into.
The two biggest nominating contests are usually the first two: the Iowa caucuses and the new Hampshire primaries. Because of the quirky nature of the caucuses (People come to their precincts and there are parts of the room where supporters of a candidate congregate. Any candidate who receives 15% of the vote in that precinct gets to elect delegates to the county convention. The same process continues a few weeks later when the county delegates nominate to the congressional district, and finally, the state convention where the delegates are finally tallied.), New Hampshire tends to get more attention.
However, in 2004, John Kerry made a huge come-from-behind in Iowa, coming from a distant third in polls a week out to a solid win, and he used this win to give him momentum going into New Hampshire, where he got a big win, and never looked back, winning the nomination and all but three nominating contests (John Edwards won South Carolina, Wesley Clark won Oklahoma, and Howard Dean was the favorite son winning Vermont). So, this time, none of the major candidates dared ignored Iowa for fear of momentum ruining their chances.
Going into the primary season, John Edwards was considered the favorite to win in Iowa. He finished second in 2004 and he’d spent a lot of time in Iowa after the Presidential election, and Hillary Clinton didn’t have a lot of experience in Iowa because Bill Clinton and all of the other candidates largely skipped Iowa because home-state legend Tom Harkin was running for President in 1992, and he had no primary opponent in 1996. Remember how I said the caucus system is quirky? Well, what I explained earlier was only the first round of the Iowa caucuses. After the initial tally, and the threshold is announced, the people in the room have two hours to convince each other to change their votes. For this reason, the supporters of the candidates who receive less than 15% in any given room are very important.
When the final votes were counted, Obama won 38% of the vote to 30% for Edwards, 29% for Clinton, 2% for Bill Richardson (who’d polled as high as 12% earlier that week), 1% for Joe Biden, and less than 1% for Christopher Dodd. Biden and Dodd dropped out after that. Richardson lost all momentum in New Hampshire, only got 5%, and dropped out. Edwards dropped out two weeks later. However, the first two states produced a split. Barack Obama won Iowa, and Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire. For months, the race was largely back and forth, and ultimately, Barack Obama won the nomination on his way to the presidency.
Why Rules Matter
When all was said and done, the difference was in the rules. There were 14 states that used caucuses in the primaries, and Obama won all but one. (He even won Texas, which had a split system, despite Clinton winning the primary the same day.) He had a huge winning streak where he won 11 straight nominating contests, most of them caucuses. The Clinton campaign tried to hold their fire for Ohio and Texas and hoped that momentum would change the day. When Obama still led, they complained about the delegate process. While Obama won a majority of the pledged delegates by only 123 out of nearly 3400, he won 154 more delegates out of the caucuses than Clinton did.
So, this got me thinking. In the world of network marketing, there are several different type of compensation packages (i.e., rules). Some of them work better for people who are already doing a lot; others work better for people who can find a few people to help them; still others work better for those who can build big networks. You can complain about a compensation plan all you want, but the best thing to do if you don’t think it is fair or suitable to your skills is to look for one that is.
What have you found when you looked at life and its rules?
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This entry was posted on Monday, February 21st, 2011 at 8:30 pm and is filed under Business, Personal Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.