My take on the Scott Brown victory in the Massachusetts Senate race may be little different from what you are going to read from other commentary in the newspapers and watch on TV. I think Senator-elect Brown's victory should be an eye opener to all of us if we take the time to think about what happened.
There is simply no way Senator-elect Brown should have won this race in his home state where voters favor the Democratic Party by overwhelming margin. A few weeks ago, Scott Brown was behind Martha Coakley by some 19 points. The odds were so much in Coakley's favor that the mere thought of her defeat was laughable; but it didn't end up that way. Scott Brown pulled off a ‘Walter Mitty victory’ by keeping his campaign simple and to the point. He stated emphatically that if elected he would cast his vote to defeat the proposed healthcare reform bill favored by President Obama and the Democratic Party, reduce government spending and serve the wishes and interests of the Massachusetts voters. His message was simply, ‘It’s The People’s Seat’. It was a simple, populist message and it gained the favor of the state's voters. Scott Brown won and he won big.
As typical, Monday morning quarterbacks step into the picture and to no one's surprise they exclusively blame Martha Copley for a tepid and screwed up campaign. But I don’t believe that was the real reason for her loss. I believe the people who are shouting the loudest about Martha Coakley being a bad choice to run for the Senate seat are the very ones who should look at themselves for this loss. Attorney General Coakley was a strong candidate for this special election Senate seat, left vacant with the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. She knew the voters of the state and they knew her and in normal times Martha Coakley may very well have been the victor in the special election. However, the old axiom, ‘Don’t ever take anything for granted’ came into play. The Democratic Party took the voters of Massachusetts for granted and they paid a horrible price for it. They lost big and they may very well have tarnished the legacy of President Barack Obama and they have certainly slowed, if not stopped healthcare reform.
How does this Senate race relate to us and the people we serve? Like me and for many of you, if you’re in sales, the one thing you never do is take an account for granted. You stay in touch with your clients to make sure they are serviced properly by your company’s support people. You make sure when you finish a personal call that a competitor doesn't come in the back door and take an account away from you. You stay on top of your accounts, stay in touch with co-workers and stay informed on matters of importance to your clients and your company.
Taking things for granted isn't limited to sales. How about taking family members for granted? It happens all the time and many times can end up in divorce. Or how about taking your health for granted and not doing the things you need to do to stay in good health? Do you take colleagues for granted and not give them a boost when they need your support.
Unfortunately we all seem to forget too easily that taking things for granted is a time bomb. Don't be too busy to kiss your wife or husband when you leave for work in the morning. Don't forget to thank your colleagues for the sacrifices they make to make you look successful. I know one executive who stands at the door of his business every night and thanks his colleagues when they go home for their efforts on behalf of his business.
The Democrats have no one to blame but themselves for the predicament they find themselves in. They took Martha Coakley's election for granted and didn't give her and her campaign the support it needed to succeed.
By the way, another lesson I've learned over the years is to never blame others for your own gaffs. Professionals take the blame on themselves and make sure they never take anything for granted again. That's another lesson we should all learn from the Massachusetts Senate special election.