I’m just a simple country boy from Colorado. But I learned a thing or two on the farm. And fifteen years of winning political battles.
I learned that hard work is often the difference between winning and losing.
Successful campaigns aren’t made from magic; rather they are built with hard work and discipline. In campaigns (just like real life) there will be times when you will face somebody smarter or slicker than you; someone with more money, experience or a well-connected family. That’s life – there’s not much you can do about those circumstances. But you can control your effort. You can work harder, plan better, be more willing to do the little things – the tasks no one else is willing to do. It makes the difference.
After hard work, you must have attitude and be enthusiastic about your campaign or issue. You will not win if you do not believe you can – and should – win. Among political insiders today, it’s fashionable to be a critic, to focus on failure, to tell you why something can’t be done. Finding a way to get it done takes brains and guts. Too many people in politics don’t have enough of either.
My grandfather once told me, “riding the fence can give a fella a mighty sore crotch” – that was his colorful way of saying “make a decision.” It takes courage to make a quick decision. It takes judgment to make a good one. In politics, you need both.
If you believe you can win, make good decisions and work hard, you still need a plan or focus. You must know where you are, where you’re going and how to get there. Experts and pundits talk about “strategic development and quantifiable objectives,” – that’s just a fancy way of saying: “make a plan and measure progress.” Whenever possible, keep it simple.
Finally, there is loyalty. Cynics and pessimists think loyalty is outdated, that “selling out” or pivoting is the way to get ahead. But I believe that a good team will beat a good individual almost every time. And teams don’t work without trust and loyalty. Real loyalty is a two-way street, that’s why it works.
Hard work. Enthusiasm. Judgment. Focus. Loyalty. A strong hand has five parts (fingers) that must work together to be effective – a strong philosophy does too. And that’s what you get when I shake your hand and commit to your organization, issue or campaign.
Tab Berg is the founder and president of TABcommunications, inc., where he has managed or directed numerous successful and award-winning political and public relations campaigns.
Prior to founding TABcommunications in 2001, Tab served as Political Director for a major political PR firm and Chief-of-Staff for two California Legislators. His responsibilities ranged from consulting to media, fundraising and research – or when needed, rolling up his sleeves to organize GOTV or burning shoe leather walking precincts.
Since opening in 2001, TABcommunications has compiled a record of 153 wins and 15 losses, directing a wide range of efforts from Congressional and legislative races to major municipal elections and Independent Expenditure (IE) campaigns. Since starting in professional politics, Tab has won 91% of races he has managed or directed, and has won numerous national awards for grassroots campaigns, television, direct mail and web design.
Tab has also managed a wide range of successful Public Information and PR efforts, including comprehensive “Flood Ed” public education and programs for non-profit organizations, business groups and cities.
He has served as Chief-of-Staff to two State Legislators – Nao Takasugi and Tricia Hunter, where he was responsible for legislation, media relations, staff management and community outreach – he even helped found the Ventura County Red Team, an “economic strike team” which saved or created 3,500 local jobs and generated local, national and international media coverage. He also managed political activities including fundraising and grassroots.
Tab lectures extensively on political strategy and campaigns including programs for International Republican Association, Campaigns & Elections, The Public Affairs Institute, E-Voter Institute, California Association of Realtors, Northern CA Lincoln Club and dozens of local parties. He has taught campaign communications all over the U.S. and internationally. He has published numerous articles for dailies including The American, San Francisco Chronicle, San Diego Union Tribune, Sacramento Bee, Silicon Valley and Sacramento Business Journals, and the North County Times. He was a feature writer of About Face – a chronicle of the role of the internet in modern campaigning. He is a contributor to the influential political blog FlashReport.org and serves as a co-host of the restaurant magazine atLarrys.com.
Tab has been honored for his professional and civic involvement, including several Pollie awards; Crystal award for Political Communications, Friend of Business from the Business Alliance; and Champion of Children from FamiliesFirst. He has been inducted as one the Outstanding Young Men of America and has been honored by Who’s Who in business, politics and The West. He is a graduate of Leadership-Sacramento and sits on the executive board of the Rancho Dominguez Alumni Association, and is a member of the San Juan School District FTF Advisory Committee.
He earned degrees in Business, Public Administration and Political Science, attending Fort Lewis College, Rockford College, San Diego Mesa, and California State University-Dominguez Hills, receiving numerous honors, including selection as Outstanding Student Legislator.
In addition to political, PR and public policy experience, Tab has extensive business and management skills developed running a restaurant group in Rockford, Illinois and as an Executive Fellow for a major airline. Tab is a licensed Specialty SCUBA diver, mountain climber, professional whitewater River Guide, MMA fighter – and a mediocre golfer.
Tab and his wife Elizabeth have been married for 19 years. They have twin daughters, Melissa and Victoria, and a black lab named Sir Walter.