business news in context, analysis with attitude

A decidedly non-partisan thought from yesterday’s mid-term elections...

On MSNBC, political commentator Patrick J. Buchanan likes to say that at least part of the problem faced by President Barack Obama stemmed from the appearance that “there is a lot of faculty lounge” in how he talks - he seems to be analyzing the US population from afar, as opposed to being part of it, as opposed to really “getting” what people need and want and feel and think.

And Peggy Noonan, of the Wall Street Journal, argued on “Morning Joe” a few hours ago that leaders of both parties need to recalibrate their thinking, to reconnect with the grassroots of their parties.

That may be part of what happened last night (though the election results certainly reflect a more complicated reality).

But Buchanan’s analysis certainly can apply to business, not just politicians.

Retailers need to always be sure not just to be connected to what’s really happening in their stores, and in the neighborhoods and communities served by their companies; in a highly competitive environment, they have to be part of those communities in a fundamental way.

In football terms, as well as political terms, that means having a good ground game. It means not just having a strategy, but supportive tactics and fundamental connections - and making sure that you serve the people every day.

Also on “Morning Joe,” commentator Mike Barnicle used a baseball metaphor - saying that US citizens have adopted a “free agency” approach to voting. They hire senators and representatives, and expect them to perform, and if they don’t, the next time around, they’ll hire someone else.

Same thing goes for how they choose retailers. Especially these days.

And that’s my Wednesday Eye-Opener.

- Kevin Coupe
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