No matter your party, the office you're seeking, or the size of your war chest, campaigns are short on two things — time and resources. The campaign that uses those resources most effectively usually has the upper hand. At some point after every campaign cycle, there’s always a debate of where campaign funds could be better spent.
Sure, there’s almost always a better way to spend a buck. But I find that the most wasted asset throughout a campaign is time. All too often, I find a campaign's internal processes can be inefficient, time consuming, and duplicative. Time is one of the most precious resources a campaign can have, and complex internal processes can cost campaigns irreparably.
To streamline your campaign's internal processes and keep the ball moving forward — at a faster pace than your opponent — consider these steps:
Take a step back
How does the work get done? Often in campaigns, we get so into the weeds that we can’t see what an outsider might. Are we completing our tasks or achieving our goals as efficiently as possible? Are there traffic jams in the process? Consider having a trusted outsider look at your internal procedures and see if you might be missing something. Or ask yourself, "If I were a CEO, how could I improve our bottom line?"
Remove unnecessary hurdles
Once you take a step back and see where the traffic jams occur, address them. Does it take too long to get a mail piece out the door? Is the process to get final approval on a press release or even a tweet too cumbersome? Anything that doesn’t directly create value for the client should be cut.
Hire the right people
One of the worst things any organization can do is hire a person just because they’re available. I would rather work longer hours or share the burden with other staffers than hire someone who isn’t qualified or who will cause work traffic jams. Hiring competent individuals will reduce the need for oversight and a long sign off procedure. A capable staffer will also be able to recommend ways to streamline processes through their own work.
Just because internal processes are efficient today doesn’t mean the same will be true tomorrow. New hires come on board, staff fluctuates, and the strategy of the campaign evolves. Commit to routinely evaluating your internal procedures to ensure processes still running as efficiently as possible.
Spencer Sullivan is a founder and CEO of Lean Campaign Strategies, a consulting firm that works with down-ballot races across the U.S.