Guns Blazing?

Since I’ve declared my intention to run for the board, I’ve received a lot of positive support and feedback through comments or e-mails received via this blog, through posts and PMs on dropzone.com, and via in-person conversations as I’ve talked about my candidacy at various dropzones.

An interesting theme has arisen in advice and feedback – I’m hearing things like “pace yourself” and “pick your battles” and “you’re likely to be frustrated.”  All of these sentiments indicate that perhaps some people believe that my plan, if elected, is to walk onto the Board of Directors with guns blazing (for lack of a better term).

If there’s anything I’ve learned in 15+ years of working in corporate America, it’s that guns blazing is not a sustainable strategy for success.  It might get you some attention in the short run, but it seldom allows you to actually get anything done.  I’m not hoping to join the Board of Directors just for show, I’m hoping to be part of a group that gets stuff done.  To turn the catch phrase on its head: If I’m part of the problem, I can’t very well be part of the solution, too, can I?

In observing and interacting with current Board members, the ones I find myself admiring are the ones who are going about the business of getting things done, while managing to (mostly) avoid getting bogged down in political b.s., procedural hand-wringing, gamesmanship, and personality conflicts.   They are the ones who pick their battles carefully and let the little stuff go in the name of getting some bigger stuff accomplished.

Come to think of it, those are the people I admire most in life.  They’re the people I like working with, and for.  The boss who can help me navigate a complex political landscape without becoming mired in it himself is a rare gem (it’s only been a month, but I think I’m fortunate enough to be working for one of those rare gems now).

I guess it’s the nature of a campaign – everyone asks you “so what are you going to do?” – and while I’ve tried my best to be very specific about my role in this whole process (one person out of 22, having to work within a committee structure, be a team player, yada yada yada), the very nature of laying out a platform can lead folks to believe that my plan is to run roughshod to erect that platform at all costs.  Not my style and not one that I think will benefit the USPA membership in any way regardless of how great, wonderful, brilliant, and earth-shattering my ideas may be.

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