Summertime and the living is easy. Except for cyclists in the grandest sporting event of the summer, Le Tour de France. And perhaps solution focused advocates. It may be the perfect time to maintain momentum – the secret of successful bike racing and lobbying.
The old mindset suggests that since Parliament, the National Assembly, or the Legislature is recessed, government takes the summer off. Yes politicians and public servants take vacations but the wheels of government continue to turn, perhaps slightly slower but not much slower than usual. So why not seize the opportunity and advance your objectives, strengthen your relationships, increase your constituency, prepare your material and pursue any number of initiatives?
Here's a rule of thumb I've adopted: every day I delay, equates to a week's delay by a system. Five days delay on my part equates to five weeks response time on theirs. Systems are containers for large numbers of people. It takes longer to
process, synthesize, and respond amidst a myriad of other priorities. Just the
required checking, feedback and internal consultation characteristic of
all bureaucracies takes time.
After every meeting or contact with a system, after every major event, ask yourself what you can do within twenty-four hours to maintain momentum.
Here are some tips to maintain or increase momentum either during the summer, long weekends or holiday periods.
- Meet with Cabinet Ministers on their home turf. Preferably with members of your organization who live in the same local community
- Map out the chain of command within the
particular bureaucracy or level of government you are dealing with. Pay
particular attention to who is making money decision or has ultimate
approval of decisions with financial implications
- Prepare a supplementary paper with more details, research and statistics and especially more personal stories about the impact of a particular policy on your membership
- Get to know the personal interests and passions of the key decision makers you are dealing with
- Arrange a meeting with key public servants to provide background on your issue and to learn about his/her perspective
- Draft letters of appreciation to all those inside and outside government who have helped your strategy thus far
- Launch a blog or Facebook page on your issue
- Meet with retired politicians, media representatives and movers and shakers for feedback on your strategy and tactics
- Reach out to the media. Plant the seeds for a story. Prepare backgrounders for them. Take someone from the media to lunch. Learn their interests
- Develop a new briefing document anticipating the return from vacation, the resumption of school, the end of recess or prorogation
- Plan an annual calendar on how you can take advantage of momentum in every season.
NOTE:This is the twentieth in a series I'm writing entitled Solution Based Advocacy. You can access the rest by clicking the Tips For Solution Based Advocacy link on the right hand side. They are all numbered.