Thank You Melania

An interesting thing happened during Melania Trump’s convention speech a few days ago. She channeled Michele Obama, verbatim from her 2008 speech to the Democratic convention. Well, at least the speech writer selected material germane to the circumstances.

Then a surprise happened. It blew up into a big deal, precisely because of how the campaign chose to handle it, or more appropriately, not to handle it.

Okay, so it was a stupid and egregious oversight that the speech wasn’t vetted thoroughly and redundantly. But the negativity could have been mitigated if the campaign had simply stood up and fessed up. A mistake was made. Simple message. But instead of coming clean, they engaged in a series of indignant denials by various players, each of which sounded more absurd in the face of the nearly perfect word-for-word matching video segments from the respective speeches.

Nearly two days later, the campaign came clean. Blamed it on a staffer. Almost immediately, the story lost much of its steam, again reinforcing the power of disclosure. Which raises a question. How can a presidential campaign, ostensibly staffed by the best and brightest get it so wrong? Look no further than the undisciplined temptation to deny, deny, deny. Easy, but dumb mistake to make.

So I want to thank Melania for providing a learning moment for us all. By all objective standards, she did a very nice job, by the way. To make a live speech in a giant, noisy venue with millions of people watching, is nerve racking for the most polished of presenters. Melania was very poised. But still, she did use some of Michele Obama’s words.

So thank you Melania, for helping us to see that while it is easy to rush to denial, honesty again proves to be the best policy. As I often share in my executive coaching, do not fall prey to the “easy no” when the “hard yes” is the better choice.

Comments are closed.