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How to Run a War Room

Hint: You need to know your Boyd.

British political consultant James Frayne at Campaign War Room explains:

Creating an effective war room

….War rooms are therefore places which can pull in relevant information, which can process it effectively by working out what is most important at a given moment, and which can make timely decisions as a result of processing this information. They must become expert in Boyd’s OODA loop – Observe, Orient, Decide, Act (although I appreciate some prefer to think of this the other way round – you inevitably act first, and observe after).

War rooms should have the following characteristics:

  • They must have clear objectives. In electoral politics, the objective is clear: win the election. In permanent campaigns or in business, objectives are usually less clear. Is the war room there to act as a rapid rebuttal machine, for example, to defend a business’ reputation (Wal-Mart set one of these up back in 2005)? Or is it to help re-organise a business? War room staff must know exactly why they are there.
  • They should have a small staff and clear lines of authority. War rooms are often created because prior decision-making structures failed, perhaps because there were too many people involved in discussions, or because no one knew where authority lay. These were reasons why the most famous political war room of all – Clinton’s in 1992 – was created. They need be tight so that people don’t get bogged down by endless people given their opinions, and they need to have clear lines of authority so that everyone knows who can make what decision.
  • They must have executive authority. It sounds like an obvious point and in many ways it is, but I remember one campaign where we worked in the campaign office but ultimate authority for decisions lay off-site. It was a debacle as you can imagine. War rooms must contain those people who can actually make decisions.

Read the rest here.

One Response to “How to Run a War Room”

  1. J.N. Kish Says:

    A sad reality:  Clinton’s war room won the election of 1992 – they beat America. Watch this video and you will understand what I mean. http://kishtube.blogspot.com/2010/10/giant-sucking-sound-ross-perot-1992.html Every working class american should have a bumper sticker on their car that says: “He was right – Perot 1992″.

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