The False Value of Negative

6 05 2012
I was watching a political talking head show recently (don’t ask why I subject myself to this stuff) and I was mildly surprised that both Republican and Democratic strategists agreed on something. What was that crucial point? Both sides agreed that this is going to be the most negative Presidential campaign in modern history. Given the tenor of the current political environment, that’s saying something!
My gut reaction, and I’m guessing yours too, is a mixture of resignation and exasperation. Do these politicians really think we’re interested in the smear tactics and character assassination that accompanies negative campaigning? Can’t they see that with a country deep in debt, continued unemployment and a slew of social problems, we need and deserve better? What happened to an honest sharing of ideas and proposals to strengthen our country and our lives?
Here’s the problem: negative campaigns work. They’re easy and simple. They create digestible soundbites that our overly busy, low attention span lives demand. And it’s far harder to articulate a complex solution than tell everyone why their problems can be blamed on an opponent. Sadly, we don’t limit this line of thinking to politics. When’s the last time an evening news telecast focused solely on the positive? And if one did, how long before their audience left?
Think about this as it applies to your business. Too many businesses are fixated on the negative aspects of performance. That idea can quickly spread throughout the organization because if you’re focused on the negative, those around you will follow suit. Thankfully, this country was built on the back of businesses based on their accomplishment rather than their ability to cast their competition in a negative light. So focus on the positive, not just in the big things like year end profit, but in all the small things that lead you there.

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