The Uber-Rat-King

Rat-King - Naturkundliches Museum Mauritianum Altenburg. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Rat-King – Naturkundliches Museum Mauritianum Altenburg. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

More rarely than you might think, the real decision-maker on your issue might be a politician.

To help ensure their decision is optimal, you must first understand where your issue is up to in the political system; you’ll need to set aside your prejudices about the political system and politicians – so many projects have crashed and burned because they have proceeded on the basis of beliefs about politics rather than reality.

If you thought the bureaucratic status of your issue could look like a Rat-King, just wait until you test the political status: the uber-Rat-King is possible. In the political arena, many things can crash together in ways that are hard to predict.

For example:

  • Politicians and Ministers are not necessarily selected for their skills at absorbing complexity and making decisions – though some turn out to be superb. There’s very little training for them, in how to do their jobs;
  • Some of the simplest issues can unexpectedly carry broad and complex political implications, and this can involve the interests or views of multiple politicians;
  • When’s the next election? By-election? Ministerial reshuffle? Scandal? Corruption inquiry/allegation?
  • Which Government Members of Parliament are impacted? Which Opposition Members of Parliament?
  • Which stakeholders in the Minister’s office are impacted? Which Party donors? (Not that this should be relevant, but some think it is)
  • Do they trust advice from the Department? Are they asking for outside advice?
  • Is this an election promise?

and so on.

If the interaction is hard to predict, then to make it predictable – and thus manageable – you need to uncover those factors making it complex, and try to devise ways to address any implications pushing the decision against you.

That’s research, high-quality research, and after the research, then thoughtful development of tactics and messages.

About Mike Smith

Partner in Ethical Consulting Services:; Ethical strategies and programs which get you where you need to go ... * Exceptional government & stakeholder relations, * Thriving governance systems, * Specialised project facilitation, * Inbound investment assistance, * Successful marketing, communications and PR campaigns ... and customised training in each of these areas.

Posted on December 4, 2014, in Communication, Government Relations, how to lobby, Lobbying, Planning, Public service and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

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