Published on: September 22, 2010It won’t surprise you to learn that we have few rules at MNB. But a big one is “don’t breathe your own exhaust.” Whenever we feel too good about what we do, Kevin and I remember that admonishment from a long-time reader a couple of years back. It’s a reminder that we should never get self-satisfied and it’s a lesson that shouldn’t be limited to us.
A great example came Sept. 14th in the mayoral primary in Washington, DC. Despite polls showing widespread support for his achievements, incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty lost handily to a veteran city councilman. Rarely does an incumbent whose policies draw strong approval ratings manage to lose and Fenty’s case provides a special lesson.
Months before the primary, Fenty was called to a secret meeting by his political advisors, reported the Washington Post. The mayor was told that he had a problem: he was widely seen as aloof and arrogant, which put his re-election in doubt. Fenty responded to the news by blowing up and leaving the meeting.
No one wants bad news, but frequently there is nothing more important. In Fenty’s case, he could have used the news to address his perceived weakness and might well have easily rolled to re-election. Instead he blew up at the messenger, ignored the news and lost.
Think about how you accept and receive bad news or whether you too like to breathe your own exhaust. No doubt, Adrian Fenty isn’t alone.
And that’s my Wednesday Eye-Opener.
- Michael Sansolo
- KC's View: