For The People

Seth Godin on How to get re-elected.

The meeting was called for 8. At about 8:10, when the trustees were seated and ready (and the room was packed) the mayor decided to take the trustees and leave the room for a private session on a matter unrelated to the issue at hand. We all sat quietly for more than fifteen minutes. During the entire time, each person was saying to himself, "I will never ever vote for these rude people ever again."

During the hearing itself, eye contact was in short supply and at one point, a trustee even berated an applicant. Emotions were running high, voters were paying attention and the politicians completely dropped the ball.

All it would have taken were a few encouraging words and some appropriate body language.

In other words, if you want to get re-elected, do the exact opposite of what his town trustees did. And Seth is right. A few encouraging words or even just recognizing the people and thanking them for coming down would have been a step in the right direction. It would have shown that the trustees were connected to the people and cared about them, even if just a little.

This is a perfect example of an organization or system placing too much importance upon itself over those it was created to represent. To me it’s no different than a company in which the management thinks it’s more important than the employees who comprise the company. Basically as soon as you stop treating people like people, you’re going down a path that’s going to be hard to come back from.