The country is already gearing up for the 2008 presidential election. So – is it time for you to become a leader, too? Now, running for Commander in Chief might not be on your agenda, but maybe you’d like to score a big promotion at work, or run for president of the PTA? Well, you can use the same strategic moves that politicians use to get what YOU want. Here’s how, courtesy of the Bottom Line Personal.

  • Don’t try to do what everybody else does. Political strategist Dick Morris managed Bill Clinton’s successful bid for re-election in 1996. And he says do what NOBODY else does, and persuade your boss or organization that it’s important. If you try to be the top salesperson in your company, you’ll face a lot of competition. Your path is filled with wannabes who’ll fight you for every promotion. But if you’re the only person who can do something that nobody else is doing – say, creating an electronic newsletter about your organization – the path ahead will be pretty clear. Bottom line: Be the sole supplier of a service - then sell it.        
  • Find an issue. Morris says issues are the oars you use to row your boat ahead, in any water. So find one that differentiates you from your rivals, and appeals to the majority of the group. For example, along with that newsletter you’re developing, position yourself as the person who knows how to make the Internet work for your company, or your local PTA.
  • Realize that the way up is diagonal. You often can’t move up the ladder step-by-step. There are usually too many people on the rungs above you in your company, student group, church or so on, and you might face a backlash for trying to jump ahead, out of turn. Morris says he grew up in New York City politics, but politicians there kept seeing him as the kid who ran around campaigning, not a strategist. He needed to go to Arkansas and work for Clinton to win the credentials he could take back to New York to get politicians there to take him seriously. So, don’t be afraid to move diagonally, from one ladder to the next. Every time you join a new company, department or organization, people see you at a new level. and you get another chance to reinvent yourself.