Changing of the Guard

An interesting development coming out of the 2012 Republican National Convention.  The “big stars” of the past (Bush, Cheney, Palin, etc.) are not planning to speak, nor are they planning to attend.  The minds behind the Romney campaign have decided to move forward rather than look back.  Via Yahoo! News

The idea is to portray a competent, forward-looking party—and that has translated into leaving out a recent president and vice president, some tea party stars, and most of the Republicans who only months ago were fighting Romney for the nomination. The absent former rivals include Rep. Michele Bachmann, who won the Iowa straw poll in 2011; former pizza magnate Herman Cain, who once led national polls during the primary race; Texas Gov. Rick Perry, viewed as a juggernaut before he ran; and retiring Rep. Ron Paul, who is getting a video tribute but no live address.


From a change management perspective, it makes total sense.  Focus on the future.  Look ahead rather than at the failures (real or perceived) of the past.  Accentuate the positives.  Eliminate the negatives.  Don’t mess with Mr. In-Between.

There is no denying that the GOP had a great run at the start of the century, though history has recoiled on them a bit.  Rather than try to hang onto the past, they sweep it away and hope for better out of the next cycle.  Ironically, it’s right out of the Karl Rove playbook, the man who bult much of that success.  It’s an interesting example of revisionist history by those who wrote it the first time.

It’s also brilliant.

The beauty of US politics, I think, it the ability of each side to constantly proclaim themselves as an agent of change, regardless of their track record.  Romney will claim that the Obama administration has failed, and we need a change in the POTUS chair to fix things.  Obama’s team will claim that they are still the party of change, and they are finally making some headway.  Parallell posturing of the exact same message.  Amazing, isn’t it?

The problem would be if the GOP marched the old guard up onto the stage to proclaim themselves “change agents.”  Can’t be done.  So instead, you set them aside, limit them to fundraising (which I understand they do very well), and let the leaders of the new message take to the spotlight. It’s a tough pill to swallow sometimes, but a great way to signal a shift.

Too often in the workplace, the leaders don’t change, even if the message does.  It is hard to believe in a real changing of direction if the person selling it to you want telling you something radically different last month.  It leads to stagnation, inertia and a loss of credibility.  Yet rarely in our development discussions do we talk about being the champion or leader of change.  It’s an important role, and one that can not only develop people, but support success in important projects.

Don’t be afraid to pull your big hitters out of the batter’s box. Sometimes, letting someone else take a few cuts can make all the difference.



  1. Then again, there is a mystery speaker scheduled for the last night…all this could be for naught if the GOP bring out Bush, Palin or Ronnie Reagan’s hologram (ala Tupac)

  2. Hologram Tupac might get him some votes. Heck, it might get my vote.

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