Category Archives: Lobbying
Time and again we’ve seen business and community groups, frustrated with a response from Government, take their issue to the Opposition or crossbench Members of Parliament, and ask them to pursue it. Or they say to us “How long do we have to put up with this? Let’s ‘go political’!”
If those non-Government Members of Parliament take up your issue, the nearly inevitable outcome is you lose any capacity for your business/group to deal with the Government.
Why? Because their business too easily becomes proving the Government wrong, not delivering support for your issue. Your business becomes the battlefield.
Once an issue becomes the subject of partisan advocacy it almost always* becomes the subject of partisan claims, demands, and arguments – it is then a political issue; the Government of the day and their opponents thereafter prosecute the case for and against in exactly the same way as they do with any other political hot potato. This means the merits of your issue are forever after in dispute; compromise becomes impossible because it would be characterised as political weakness, or political victory/defeat for one side or the other.
This outcome is just about inevitable, and it is very hard to retrieve the situation – by going to non-Government MPs you are almost always locking yourself into support from one side of politics only, and you are pinning your prospects of success entirely to a change of Government.
This your project is delayed: possibly for years, possibly forever.
We always recommend going to Government with a business case which makes sense to the Government of the day, and sometimes we recommend going to all Parliamentary Parties at once, with arguments constructed to make sense to each Party.
And, a final point about “going political“: it’s nearly always done out of anger and frustration. Your stakeholders deserve a more measured and professional approach.
* There’s an exception to this rule which we’ll cover in a future article: on that rare occasion you can persuade the non-Government Member of Parliament to champion your cause without doing it in a partisan or divisive way.
- Full anti-gang law package released www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/queensland-government-reveals-full-antigang-law-changes-20160830-gr4xk4.html – and see below under “The Opposition and Crossbench”
- Farmers commence legal action against the State for allowing underground coal gasification www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-01/qld-govt-may-be-liable-150m-class-action-linc-energy-ucg-trial/7803978
- Retail trading hours being reviewed www.smartcompany.com.au/industries/retail/74807-minister-calls-for-modernisation-of-queenslands-trading-hours-in-bid-to-end-easter-sunday-holiday-confusion/
- … but the Chamber of Commerce is concerned www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/queensland-government-planning-to-make-easter-sunday-a-holiday/news-story/1251509357ac9538f7fec652fdf9c0f4
- Fine defaulter debt massive and growing www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/500m-in-limbo-as-traffic-offenders-refuse-to-pay-up/news-story/8203b132ba805abf1428bc8927897151
- Prep year now compulsory across Queensland http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2016/9/1/prep-year-now-compulsory-in-queensland
- Bill tabled for significant changes to Queensland’s Industrial Relations laws http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2016/9/1/new-legislation-to-restore-fairness-in-queensland-workplaces
- State rejects Brisbane City Council access to Metro site www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-03/queensland-government-stop-brisbane-council-over-subway-plans/7811670
- Reports of internal divisions in State Government www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/palaszczuk-government-rift-as-factions-skirmish-over-policy/news-story/bffd92cb3d4f4577867170ac781364ff
- Divided opinion and conflicting processes in environmental agencies www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-01/minister-chastises-his-department-over-cape-york-mine-decision/7804322
The Opposition and Crossbench
- Crossbenchers are the key to bikie law changes www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/crossbenchers-the-key-to-palaszczuks-bikie-law-changes/news-story/278b45cabcb0534f853c19b21da05d11
- … and Katter’s Australian Party are concerned about them http://au.news.yahoo.com/qld/a/32494211/qld-bikie-laws-create-deep-kap-concerns/#page1
- Prime Minister says Queensland is a hotbed of union thuggery www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-union-thuggery-shows-why-australian-building-and-construction-commission-needed-says-pm/news-story/a32a157a6f34dee1c96d4e17ea857dc9
- Courier Mail agrees with Labor Government and endorses Trad’s actions www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/queensland-needs-to-get-on-with-some-big-projects-to-protect-jobs-and-the-economy/news-story/86f20c9f65a47dac6a41a1c9966423dd
- Queensland leads the country in locking up 10 and 11 year olds www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/aug/31/queensland-locking-up-more-10-and-11-year-old-children-than-any-other-state-says-amnesty
- … while photos were revealed of a 17 year old in a spit mask/helmet, restraining belt and handcuffs www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-30/images-show-17yo-in-spit-mask-at-brisbane-prison/7796936
- … and the Government announces they will remove 17-year-olds from adult prisons www.9news.com.au/national/2016/09/03/18/24/qld-govt-promises-prison-changes-for-17yos
- Government Boards in Queensland now 39% women www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/qld-govt-boards-now-39-per-cent-female/news-story/a2b88f14638014d9337d5b4e2a81aeda
- Rural debt bill debated – Katter’s Australian Party may find it inadequate www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-30/government-says-bill-will-ease-rural-debt-pressure/7798898
- Greyhound live baiting charges collapse www.9news.com.au/national/2016/08/29/08/28/qld-judge-rejects-live-baiting-evidence
- Funding boost for non-government child and family support services www.9news.com.au/national/2016/09/04/11/07/funding-for-vulnerable-families-qld-govt
- New workers’ compensation and rehabilitation laws passed http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2016/9/1/lifetime-care-and-support-for-injured-workers
Economy and Infrastructure
- Fitch reaffirms Queensland’s credit ratings www.reuters.com/article/idUSFit971718
- More funds for regional start-ups www.startupsmart.com.au/news-analysis/queensland-government-injects-6-million-to-grow-regional-innovation-hubs/
- Moreton Bay is Queensland’s next Priority Development Area http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2016/9/2/moreton-bay-targeted-as-queenslands-next-priority-development-area
- Stradbroke Island economic transition strategy commences http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2016/9/1/straddie-begins-transition-to-future
- Gold Coast integrated resort and casino progresses with rumours of a process deed and consultation commitment www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/news/gold-coast/a-3-billion-plan-to-build-a-threetower-casino-on-the-spit-has-been-slammed-by-opponents/news-story/38722d92f526bbe3ff2a4e52d9dec7ef and www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/queensland-govt-promises-extensive-consultation-on-gold-coast-casino-plans-20160904-gr8emb.html
- Queensland’s Parliament next sits from Tuesday 13 September to Thursday 15 September
- Both Houses of Federal Parliament next sit from Monday 12 September to Thursday 1 September – see www.aph.gov.au
We’re still having fun helping clients with
- Governance and meeting skills
- Government and stakeholder relations
- Project and inbound investment facilitation
- Branding, marketing, campaigns, and communication
… and training in any of the above!
Posted in Advisors, Change, Communication, Community engagement, Crisis management, Democracy, Ethical, Governance, Government decision-making, Government regulation, Government Relations, Inbound investment, Lobbying, marketing, meeting procedure, Meetings, Politics, Project facilitation, public service decision-making, Queensland, Stakeholder engagement, Strategic Planning, Strategy, Values
Tags: Stephen Roberson
Last week*, Labor’s minority Queensland Government became more of a minority, an early State Election became a stronger possibility, and the Government, labelled do-nothing, released their four-year Infrastructure Plan and five-year Women’s Strategy. Horrific levels of child abuse were documented in remote communities. Mixed signals about the state of the Queensland economy were received, as commentators started to acknowledge the infrastructure and Government spending needed far outstrip what’s available. Chaos at Queensland Nickel means no-one yet knows whether it has a future, let alone what that future might be.
- Palaszczuk Government releases four-year Infrastructure Plan www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/premiers-35b-plan-to-get-state-moving/news-story/2259065c83fa9bc0afaab98d7308bf06
- Governing Queensland just got harder: Cairns MP quits Labor, although promising support in key areas www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-07/rob-pyne-quits-queensland-labor-party/7227926
- … and the Premier threatens an early election if Labor’s agenda is frustrated www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/dont-cross-me-or-its-another-poll-warns-premier-annastacia-palaszczuk/news-story/070f71584d76436c1f2667cd401e5a22
- … but when and how might any early election happen? www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/premier-annastacia-palaszczuks-state-election-threat-still-on-as-crossbench-negotiations-begin/news-story/f90b8b9131c7dd60e36d90acdc7d9197
- Four-year-terms referendum result in doubt www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/fouryear-parliamentary-terms-tipped-to-be-rejected-20160309-gnf7cp.html
- Indigenous Leader Noel Pearson opposes Government land-clearing proposals www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-09/indigenous-leader-hits-out-at-qld-land-clearing-laws/7230726
- … as statistics reveal the massive impact of Queensland land-clearing on national carbon emissions www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/10/queenslands-soaring-pollution-rate-threatens-national-emissions-target
- Much-reduced HR software contract finalised, reversing Newman Government policy direction www.itnews.com.au/news/datacom-and-qld-govt-limp-to-hr-solutions-deal-416623
- There’s no challenge to the Premier from her Deputy, and there never was www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/opinion-state-labor-leadership-rumbles-a-rob-pyne-concoction/news-story/f732a7eaaaaf7509e2c6d88a7ee62738
- 5-Year Women’s Strategy released www.cqnews.com.au/news/watch-the-gap-women-fire-up-over-inequality/2958127/ and http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2016/3/9/new-strategy-to-target-key-concerns-for-queensland-women
- Palaszczuk Government releases four-year Infrastructure Plan www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/premiers-35b-plan-to-get-state-moving/news-story/2259065c83fa9bc0afaab98d7308bf06
- Reports Bundamba’s MP Jo-Ann Miller threatened to quit the ALP are not true, says the Premier http://themorningbulletin.com.au/news/jo-ann-miller-threatens-to-quit/2960487/
- No case against Minister Byrne in rat-shooting incidents http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2016/3/11/statement-in-relation-to-investigation
- No change to lobbyist code, says Premier www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/mar/12/queensland-government-rejects-call-to-close-secret-lobbying-loophole
- Liberal/National Party characterises Palaszczuk Government as “do-nothing” http://mysunshinecoast.com.au/news/news-display/mp-quits-labor-do-nothing-government,42192
- Watchdog looking into Opposition MP’s company www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/watchdog-looking-into-gold-coast-mp-rob-molhoeks-company/news-story/8c707dfc812a0c6ba13227cd5e0708d3
- Palaszczuk Government has done little in 15 months, says The Australian editorial www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/editorials/queenslands-political-woes/news-story/8b16d1f52d1bd3c51f63dd197ee9b6dc
- Is former Premier Newman considering standing for a Federal seat? www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/campbell-newman-weighing-up-federal-tilt-biographer-20160310-gnfc49.html
- Courier Mail demands kick-start to Queensland’s economy www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/editorial-theres-no-time-to-waste-to-kickstart-queenslands-economy/news-story/ecf2e33419ccd232246aa8a2afd7ac8a
- Local Government elections a week away – political analysis of likely results www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/council-elections/queensland-council-elections-former-local-government-minister-david-crisafulli-looks-at-each-region/news-story/e9b520575546357fccc0bb4f8ecc386e
- Courier Mail agitating for an early State Election www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/majority-of-queenslanders-want-premier-palaszczuk-to-call-a-snap-poll/news-story/0a8048e6ce73f9fd6d5b740211f98268
- Secret report on child sexual abuse in far north Queensland www.news.com.au/national/queensland/crime/secret-report-unveils-disturbing-claims-of-child-sexual-abuse-in-far-north-queensland/news-story/98472e2bba14fbb28c9e11c9b96b6073
- First World Science Festival outside New York hosted by Queensland Museum www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2016/s4421819.htm
- Senator questions whether Queensland’s mine safety regulator has been captured by industry www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/senator-fears-coal-dust-regulators-captured-by-industry-20160307-gncyq2.html
- Productivity Commission draft report on solar feed-in pricing says “don’t increase it” http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/queensland-push-for-fair-solar-fit-hits-major-roadblock-17612
- Stolen Wages repayments hit $1million total http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2016/3/12/1million-in-stolen-wages-repayments-handed-back-to-indigenous-queenslanders
Economy and Infrastructure
- Business confidence in Queensland strongest in Australia http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2016/3/8/queensland-leads-again-on-business-confidence
- Queensland Nickel saga continues – options for ongoing operation under discussion as Palmer steps back in www.afr.com/news/politics/clive-palmer-sacks-administrators-resumes-control-of-queensland-nickel-20160307-gncn4c
- … and the Queensland Government has to move quickly to licence ongoing operations www.afr.com/news/politics/clive-palmer-vows-to-hire-back-queensland-nickel-workers-20160310-gng983
- … amid chaos in the company’s operations and questions about their adherence to environmental laws www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/chaos-at-qni-as-clive-palmers-crew-take-over-management-of-refinery/news-story/9a5db81d3bed8c6fe588933dd1400667 and www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-13/queensland-nickel-clive-palmer-says-no-ore-for-two-months/7242740
- Ipswich Road bottle-neck fix is funded www.couriermail.com.au/questnews/southwest/state-government-commits-200m-towards-ipswich-motorway-upgrade/news-story/ed35edbff6dc997bcb2ef1d35c4720f8
- See above under “governing” re the new four-year State Infrastructure Plan
- Coomera to Helensvale rail duplication project commences www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/news/work-kicks-off-on-rail-duplication-project-from-coomera-to-helensvale-stations/news-story/4fee4184a35c9f58b2cf2dad3ca8509c
- First flights from new private Toowoomba airport www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/melbourne-and-cairns-added-to-flights-at-the-wagner-familys-private-wellcamp-airport-in-toowoomba/news-story/0eb948b28b033542b40c19aedac5c8cb
- Queensland’s Parliament next sits this week, from Tuesday 15 March 2016 to Thursday 17 March, then not again until April 19.
- The Parliament’s summary of what’s new, including newly-introduced and passed legislation, is here www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/whats-new.
- The Federal Parliament next sits – both Houses – on Tuesday 15 March 2016 – see www.aph.gov.au.
- Resource sector contractions reduce regional housing demand, so valuations are cut, so regional Councils may face rates insufficiency www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/valuations-plummet-in-paradise/news-story/18077eb15e0d5b65e4e4ba32bf3fe7cf
Posted in Change, Democracy, Election, Government decision-making, Leadership, Lobbying, Local Government, Opposition, Opposition Leader, Parliament, Policy, Politics, Premier, Queensland, Queensland Government, State Government, Voting, Women
Click one of these links to take you to that topic/heading:
Why Lobby? http://wp.me/p4xOhB-r
“Why Lobby?” Encore http://wp.me/p4xOhB-A
Who Does It
Who’s a Lobbyist? http://wp.me/p4xOhB-N
Who’s Your Best Lobbyist? http://wp.me/p4xOhB-23
Lobbying: The Dirty Truth https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/lobbying-the-dirty-truth/
Myths & Legends of Lobbying https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/myths-lobbying/
Regulating Lobbyists: Hardly https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/regulating-lobbyists-hardly/
Australian Lobbying: Credibility Fail https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/australian-lobbying-credibility-fail/
Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There! https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/dont-just-do-something/
Strategy & Delusion https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/strategy-delusion/
DON’T Increase Awareness https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/dont-increase-awareness/
Lobbying: 6 Things to Know https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/6-lobbying-things/
Lobbying is Marketing https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/lobbying-is-marketing/
“Get Me The Premier!” https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/get-me-the-premier/
Who’s the Decision-Maker? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/who-decision-maker/
Policy Processes – What You MUST Know
Mysterious & Mysteriouser: How Did THAT Happen? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/mysterious-mysteriouser/
“So When WILL They Decide???” https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/when-will-they-decide/
How’s Your Rat King? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/rat-king/
What IS A “Policy Instrument,” Anyway? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/what-is-policy-instrument/
Getting Ready To Lobby
Lobbying Labor’s Queensland Government: How? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/lobbying-labors-queensland-government-how/
How to Get That Meeting https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/how-to-get-that-meeting/
What if You Can’t Connect with the Decision-Maker? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/cant-reach-decision-makers/
When you meet the Minister … https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/when-you-meet-the-minister/
What To Ask For
Persuading Government: What You Say https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/persuading-government-what-you-say/
What Makes A Policy Good? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/policy-good/
Make Your “Ask” Feasible https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/make-your-ask-feasible/
Connecting with Decision-Makers https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/connect-decision-makers/
Tell Government a Story! https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/story-to-government/
Motivating & Persuading https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/motivating-persuading/
Persuading Government: How To Say It https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/persuading-government-how-to-say-it/
The Talking Dead: Say This & Your Project Dies https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/the-talking-dead/
When To Ask
Election Time: Early Birds Get Worms! https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/elections-lobbying-early-birds/
Crisis Management 101 https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/crisis-management-101/
And now, over to you:
What other topics would you like to see covered? What have you struggled with in the past, when looking for decisions from Government?
* With more content than the version published in 2015!
** There will be more!
Posted in Australian Government, Change, Communication, Crisis management, Culture, Culture change, Democracy, Election, Federal Government, Government decision-making, Government regulation, Government Relations, how to lobby, Leadership, Lobbying, Lobbyist, Local Government, marketing, Parliament, Planning, Policy, Political tactics, Politics, public service decision-making, Queensland, Queensland Government, State Government, Strategy
With most of Ethical Consulting Services’ current clients Queensland-based, we’ve decided to trial production of a short-form summary of major political and related news from the previous 7 days in Queensland.
We’re not representing that this is a complete coverage of news in Queensland – it certainly isn’t; it’s what we find interesting or important, and sometimes what’s unusual. Some of the mainstream media links will require subscriptions before you can read content.
You can access the first edition here – we hope you find it useful and we hope you will let us know what you think!
In future we’re intending that this will be published each Monday, if there is enough interest.
An estimated 80% of lobbying is unregulated, unreported and secret, right now. The recommendations before the committee would take the rules that currently apply only to lobbyists who are consultants, and impose them on all of the other lobbyists, too – forcing them to abide by a code of conduct and publicly report contact with Ministers, Ministerial staff, and senior public servants, for example.
But be quick, if you want to have a say.
Back in June, the Palaszczuk Government appointed Professor Peter Coaldrake to conduct a Strategic Review of the Functions of the Integrity Commissioner, included a review of lobbyist regulation: his Report was tabled in State Parliament on 16 July 2015
Parliament’s Finance and Administration Committee has resolved to review the report to consider the recommendations made and comment on other findings, and they are calling for submissions – the closing date Monday 21 September 2015. The Committee may consider holding a public hearing on Wednesday 14 October 2015.
You can find out more, and download the Coaldrake Report, here.
Many people looking for a decision from Government see election time as an opportunity. It can be, but only if you approach it in the right way.
It is true that at election time Governments, parties and candidates are all intent on compiling an attractive and differentiating package of policy and program proposals, and some of them welcome input from industry, community groups and individuals.
However, be warned: capable Governments, political parties and candidates start putting their election policies together a long way out from Election Day, and finalise them months out from Election Day. As a general rule, the bigger the policy announcement or the bigger the budget associated with a policy announcement, the earlier will work commence.
Most advocates looking to make use of election timing as an opportunity to press the case for their particular proposal leave it far, far too late.
What constitutes timeliness varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and depends a lot on the tier of Government with which you are dealing; this makes it impossible to advise a general rule, but a year out from an anticipated Election Day is not necessarily too early to begin advocacy of your proposition.
If you leave your intervention too late, then you have created an additional burden for yourself: as well as proving the validity of your idea or proposal, you will also need to prove that it is of sufficient political or community (i.e. campaigning) importance that the candidate or Party should reopen their policy development processes, and consider incorporating your proposal.
As an outsider to the process you might think that this is quick and easy, but depending on campaign resources and Party resources, and in particular the budgetary impact of your proposal, it can be a significant organisational or time burden to a candidate or a Party late in the campaign, to reopen their policy development processes.
The barriers to raising a new idea in the months immediately before Election Day are substantial.
Sometimes you can’t get to a Government decision-maker – Minister or senior public servant, say – and don’t know why*: often it’s their gatekeepers not appreciating the importance or priority of your issue, sometimes it’s unspoken opposition to what you’re asking, frequently it’s just time or workload**.
How do you break through?
You don’t always have to know exactly what causes the blockage***, in order to get past it – you just need to find someone who can go around the barriers, and persuade the decision-maker – your Champion.
Depending on the issue and circumstances, the kind of Champion you need might be a
- Minister in another portfolio,
- local Member of Parliament in the same jurisdiction (i.e. State or Federal – and it works for Local Government too),
- policy expert in the relevant Department,
- Chief Executive in another Department, or
- policy expert working for an Industry Association or Non-Government Organisation.
It has to be someone with sufficient credibility and sufficient influence to raise the issue competently with the decision-maker.
There’s three things to bear in mind about this “Champions” approach:
- Unless you are difficult to deal with or bad at presenting**** then the goal of your Champion should be to get you a proper meeting with the decision-maker;
- Bearing in mind that first point, sometimes you aren’t the best person to persuade the Champion to get on board, either – if you are aiming for a local MP, for example, then someone in their electorate or who they already know may well be best; and
- You need, both, to persuade your Champion to help you, and get them to the point where they can persuade the decision-maker it’s worth their time.
You’ll therefore need to prepare even more thoroughly for your discussion with your potential Champion, than you will with the decision-maker.
Why not go to their boss instead? Isn’t that quicker and easier?
Unless as a last resort and in extremis, this is normally a really bad idea. Going to the Premier/Prime Minister/Chief Executive over the head of a decision-maker is an investment in long-lasting resentment and poor relations with
- the decision-maker you’ve thwarted,
- every friend that decision-maker has, and
- possibly the decision-maker’s boss who may resent your evading the chain of command.
If you’ve gone around a public servant by going to their Chief Executive or Minister, or a junior Minister by going to the First Minister, you may have killed all prospect of any future co-operation for as long as they are around.
* Sometimes you might understand – but reject as invalid – the reason you can’t get to speak with them.
** Let’s presume you’ve done your research and are chasing the right person.
*** Though, usually, you must find this out at some point.
**** You are never the best judge of this – you should always ask your Champion “Am I the best person to persuade Ms. Such-And-Such? Is there someone better to send?” If there is someone better to present, the goal is to get them to the decision-maker, instead of you.
When you are asking something of Government – a decision, a non-decision, a policy change, that your bid win a tender process, whatever it might be – there’s a right way and a wrong way to ask it. Earlier articles identified the things you need to say, how to say them, and the things you need to avoid saying.
All of those considerations needs to be packaged up into a neat, concise, persuasive Narrative. Once you’ve got your Narrative, every single thing you say and do needs to be directed at persuading Government to accept the truth and necessity of your Narrative. Nothing should stray from or undermine the Narrative.
Many, passionate fanatics in support of their own proposition to Government, find it really hard to understand how to develop a short and focussed Narrative, but when you’re communicating with Government, you have a very small opportunity to get your message across, so you can’t spend time on the things that make your heart burst with pride – unless you already know those things do the same for Government.
In this circumstance, a Narrative:
- is never off the cuff – must be thoroughly prepared;
- must be structured like a story;
- encapsulates and summarises the main facts around the issue;
- encapsulates and summarises your proposal;
- persuades the audience your idea is the best solution to a pressing problem;
- rebuts major alternatives by making clear their inferiority;
- is focussed entirely on the audience’s needs and motivations, not yours;
- resonates with the audience – usually emotionally;
- contains an unambiguous and feasible request; and
- is short – as short as is possible while meeting all of these criteria – you might have only 2 minutes or 250 words, to make your case – our target is usually six or seven two-line sentences*.
Try to write it so you can leave behind a copy of your Narrative when you meet a Government representative – it saves them taking notes, makes you look organised and competent, and reduces the chance of misunderstanding.
You can’t deliver all of that off the cuff; nor can you deliver it if you are clumsy with words, or can’t set aside your passions when drafting or speaking, or if you are mistaken about what motivates your audience. You may need help.
* OK, we’re often enough off-target here, but never by more than 50%
Posted in Change, Communication, Government decision-making, Government Relations, how to lobby, Lobbying, Lobbyist, marketing, Project facilitation, public service decision-making, Stakeholder engagement