Tag Archives: Energy

You need the energy of a Tarzan.

Tarzan has swung back into action. As the Mail said: “Still bursting with ideas at 79, Michael Heseltine makes many ministers half his age look burnt out by comparison…. If this near-octogenerian has infected them with one ounce of his dynamism, he has done us all a service.”


His Growth report, like the man, is bursting with ideas. Whether you agree with them or not, and whether Cameron can act on any of them or not, is almost secondary to the sheer impact of the energy he brings onto the scene.  Interviewed on Radio 4, it was this sense of energy, rather than any particular remark, that made you feel optimistic that some positive change was in the air.


Right now few politicians are blessed with conspicuous energy. Although more energetic than most, David Cameron’s is being sapped by infighting and incompetence and Obama’s dipped, perhaps disasterously, in the first television debate.

And yet in any pitch, political or business, energy is fundamental to success.

In his remarkable book, It’s Not How Good You Are. It’s How Good You Want To Be, the great Paul Arden wrote: “energy is 75% of the job, if you haven’t got it, be nice”. 

Energy. The deciding factor?

It has been a war of attrition and we still don’t know who will win and when we do, will it have been down to campaign strategies, tv debate performances, personalities or policies? Or will it be down to energy? Who has more of it? Who has managed it better?  Who has made it work for them?


Brown has it. As Tom Bower wrote in the Observer:

“His indomitable energy during the final days of the campaign sabotaged an Old Etonian’s assumption of a graceful drive to the Palace after winning an overall majority”

Cameron also has it but now needs it more than ever. Peter Osborne in the Sunday Times:

“Sleepless, dog-tired and under immense pressure, David Cameron is being forced to compress a series of life-defining decisions into 48 hours. They will determine not only his political future, but the future of the Conservative party and of Britain.”

The reality in numerous competitive pitches is that the winners are those who sustain and manage their energy best. David Cameron supporters will be crossing their fingers that he keeps on flying!


 ‘Managing Energy’ is the subject of a Best Practice Guide. (see listing on right).

“Energy is Eternal Delight”. William Blake,1793.

In any new business pitch energy can be the magic ingredient.  If you don’t have it you will fail.  If you do have it, and know how to use it, you will succeed more often.

The marvellous Paul Arden in his world’s best selling book, IT’S NOT HOW GOOD YOU ARE, IT’S HOW GOOD YOU WANT TO BE, states “energy is 75% of the job, if you haven’t got, it be nice”. This holds true for individuals, companies and, even more, for teams pitching for business.

The latest Best Practice Guide is titled Managing Energy.

It contains a number of practical and original concepts on managing energy in others, generating it and , importantly, harnessing it.  In pitch situations the last macho minute, midnight oil burning, syndrome is something to avoid!

The guide was art directed and visualised by Jim Salter with type on this and all the guides by Nick Thompson to whom many thanks. Best viewed full screen, pressing down load.

Lessons from Crewe & Nantwich

As expected the Conservatives won, things are not going too well for the beleaguered Gordon Brown, but the margin of victory was surprising.  Much of this was down to the success of the pitch at the local level.  Some lessons can be drawn.

The importance of leadership, in this case the candidates. Tory, Edward Timpson, bright, positive,optimistic contrasting with the reluctant Tamsin Dunwoody.  Her selection a misguided attempt to gain the sympathy vote, since her mother had been a huge presence in the constituency, Tamsin suffered by comparison.   Her body language signalled that she would really rather be somewhere else.

The value of a positive strategy, in tone and content. The Tory campaign hitting the different target audiences, their loyalists, Labour and LibDems  with different but simple, positive messages.  Contrast this with Labours “inept, negative and poisonous”campaign ( Labour MPs’ own Compass group).

Finally. the energy factor.  In any pitch, business or political, the emotional impact of unbridled energy and exuberance can carry the day. The Tories have this, Labour don’t. 






Clinton. A lesson in energy.

For most of us ,taking part in a pitch is stimulating but we manage the energy needed in fits and starts, building to a crescendo in the last day or so.  Burning midnight oil in a macho way ,we finalise proposals(just), edit the proposal (just), rehearse (just or not) and arrive on time (just) to present.

Carried along by adrenaline we get through the pitch, pat ourselves on the back, and collapse into the nearest bar.

Compare this with what must be one of the most ferociously competitive pitches in years, Clinton vs Obama.

Every single day, week in week out, they are in flat out pitch mode.  Live TV debates, interviews, press conferences, platform speeches, receptions, door-stepping, handling hecklers, kissing babies, responding to focus groups or headlines or opinion polls or ‘misspeaks’. All that on top of the daily tactics, dirty or otherwise, to undermine the opposition and the constant pressure to motivate the home team.  WOW.

Obama may be in the lead, and he has the charisma, but he may not have the same astonishing and sustained energy level of the ‘come-back’ kid. Clinton is exuding energy, a highly infectious quality. I would not bet against her just yet.