Change and Opportunity

The 2014 Mid Term Elections are done.

Change is literally everywhere in the form of new senators, new governors, new congressmen and congresswomen, new statewide officials, and new policy-makers at the state and local level. It is, without a doubt, a historic shift. And, whatever issues and policy battles your organizations faces, this election, like every election, has created serious challenges and real opportunities that you must meet head on.

The results show that there will be a whole lot of new faces, and a few who got promotions, and who will now be shaping policy.

The US Senate, you are aware, is now controlled by the GOP with new senators taking office across the country. There will be over 60 new Members of Congress, with more than half of those having previously served either in state legislatures or in an appointed office. There are new governors in Massachusetts, Illinois, Arkansas, Maryland, Texas, Nebraska and control of state chambers has either switched in a number of states or the addition of new members of the party in control has increased.

The point is this: Here is your opportunity.

Many of these newly elected do not yet understand your issues. They will have staff, but many of them will be new too. Both principals and staffs are going to be absolutely overwhelmed with information from literally hundreds of those seeking their attention who are bombarding them with letters and emails, and from lobbyist after paid lobbyist who wants their agenda items put first.

If you want to make sure you and your issues don’t get lost in the clutter, you need to take a different approach. It’s a simple truth that is common sense but not common practice.

You have a tremendous opportunity with these newbies by utilizing one of your own stakeholders – someone who already has a valued relationship with them who can help you educate, inform and assist them on the issues that matter most to you. Authentic messengers carrying authentic messages, carries so much more weight. These are people the elected has known or interacted with for years at the baseball field, as a neighbor, or at church. They might even be related to them or have just volunteered on their campaign. So, why not get off on a good start by utilizing these incredibly valuable assets you already have in your organization?

Now, before you suggest that it’s too hard to uncover this information, that you’ve tried to ask your people who they know with little success, that the process was clumsy or even, be so bold as to suggest you’ve got that covered and that surely, you already know who knows whom, let me simply ask this – Would you bet your job on it? Would you risk your organization’s success on it?

Relationships move people. People move issues.

Today’s technology makes it easy, efficient and effective to get the right person, to deliver the right message, the right way. Tuesday’s election results do present some challenges, but they also offer amazing, valuable opportunities. Seize it.

- Chip Felkel, RAP Index Creator and Chief Advocacy Innovator -

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