The most underrated question: Why did I win?
After a loss there is always a lot of analysis (self and other wise) to figure out what went wrong, but on the winning side all too often there is a lack of self-awareness or analysis of the victory. Assuming that you won because you are the smartest, most popular, most loved person is a recipe for a humiliating loss the next time around.
Two to four weeks after Election Day get a group of trusted individuals together to perform a “Victory Post-Mortem.” Let me tell you these are a lot more fun than the analysis of a loss.
Don’t wait too long because facts will begin to slip into mythology and you want the most honest and accurate appraisal as possible. Don’t be afraid to bring in new people who were not part of the campaign’s inner circle. If possible bring in one or two people who weren’t on your side. In a partisan race maybe bring in someone who supported the opposition in the primary.
If you defeated an incumbent, be sure to also look at what mistakes were made during that term in office, not just in the campaign, that made him/her vulnerable.
Some questions to ask:
Did I win or my opposition lose?
Were there any coat-tails that helped to carry me?
Who had the most money?
Was our polling correct?
What were the three biggest mistakes we made?
What were the three biggest mistakes the opposition made?
What were three things that the opposition did right?
Did our field organization deliver as expected?
What can I do better?
The list can go on and on, but this will get you started.
What do you do with all this information? Make a plan! It is never too early to start planning for you next election! There is nothing wrong with making mistakes; it’s how we learn. Find out what you did wrong and improve on it.
Want another a recipe for a humiliating loss? Run the same campaign, cycle after cycle. Any competent consultant will look at what you did the last time and build their initial strategy around combating the last campaign you ran.