Marketing used to be what we watched between our favorite TV shows. Now marketing has become the object of the show itself, as evidenced by the wildly popular series “Mad Men.” (Disclaimer: I only know this because my younger and much “hipper” sister told me so.)
Politics is no exception when it comes to marketing's growing influence. Politics is also no exception to the general rule that no amount of good marketing can make up for a bad product. And just as consumers want to see past the marketing hype of any product, getting beyond the slogans of political promises is critical to know what an elected official really stands for.
Like other elected officials, Governor Herbert uses traditional marketing to communicate his vision that, “Utah will lead the nation as the best performing economy and be recognized as a premier global business destination.” He has packaged his specific priorities under the label, “The Four Cornerstones of Utah’s Strength - Education, Energy, Jobs and Self-Determination.” And the Governor has established aspirational goals for each cornerstone (details to follow in part two of this article).
While having a vision statement with measureable goals is essential to stay focused on the desired outcomes, the ability to achieve those outcomes depends on how well a leader can articulate specific actions, drive those actions throughout the organization, and implement the plan through disciplined execution. Governor Herbert made this point in his recent State of the State address when he said, “I have spoken tonight of some of my goals and plans for the State. Having these goals and plans is important, but frankly, writing things down on paper is the easy part. Making it work – the implementation and the execution – is what counts. Hard work demands dedication, determination, and discipline.”
So how does Governor Herbert get beyond the slogans and ensure that his administration accomplishes his goals and achieves his vision? The answer is that the Governor has put into place a robust process for identifying, refining, and, most importantly, EXECUTING.
A collaborative leader, Governor Herbert has established groups of subject matter experts for each his priorities, including the Governor’s Education Excellence Commission, the Governor’s Energy Task Force, the Governor’s Economic Council, and the Balanced Resource Council. The Governor’s charge to these groups is straightforward: Tackle the hard challenges facing our state and develop real-world solutions.
Unlike other ubiquitous “blue ribbon commissions,” the work-product is not a report that collects dust. Rather, these advisory groups (led by the Governor and/or Lt. Governor personally) have identified specific Action Items that form the Governor’s workplan for the coming year. Listed next to each Action Item is the name of the Action Officer – the individual responsible for “getting the job done.” The feedback loop consists of each Action Officer meeting monthly with the Governor’s Chief of Staff to discuss the status of the Action Item and how the Governor can help move things forward.
Additionally, the Governor holds weekly policy meetings and monthly Cabinet meetings to ensure the entire Herbert Administration is focused on accomplishing the Governor’s objectives. Having this framework helps us to get beyond the slogans, focus on execution, and as Governor Herbert likes to say, “Keep our eye on the ball” in doing what’s right for the people of Utah.