Rules for Effective Lobbying

 

 

 

Life Lessons for Lobbyists

In today’s Rules for Effective Lobbying podcast we will be discussing some life rules as they apply to lobbying. Some of my previously mentioned rules have been specifically generated in the lobbying context. There are others that are really life rules of more general applicability.

 

There are three of these in particular:

1: Don’t take setbacks personally;

2: When you get frustrated, stop breathe, and think; and

3: RALF your mistakes.

 

Now RALF in this context is an acronym that stands for Recognize, Admit, Learn From, and Forget About.

 

Lobbying often produces stress stemming from the frustration of things not going how you have hoped or planned for. Sometimes the roadblocks can seem irrational and unfair. Whatever obstacle you may confront is almost certainly not driven by anyone’s personal animosity towards you. Beyond not serving any useful purpose, personalizing it is likely misplaced.

 

It’s important not to overreact in a way that leads to taking an action that not only doesn’t address the new circumstance in a useful way, but may actually make your situation worse. So each of these three rules provides important guidance of how to respond to unexpectedly difficult situations.

 

You always need to be solution oriented. Overreacting impairs your ability to focus on finding the right response to a problem. I’m reminded of an ancient Chinese proverb that provides wonderful guidance. “It’s better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.”

 

We all know people whose response to mistakes is to self-flagellate. That serves no useful purpose. We all make mistakes. It’s part of the human condition. Instead of beating yourself up, use the occasion of a mistake as a positive by following our RALF rule. Again, RALF stands for Recognize, Admit, Learn From, and Forget About. Not only will this help prevent you from repeating it, but along with the other life rules we’ve cited, it will help keep you from unwisely misplacing your focus.

 

 

 

Rules for Effective Lobbying – Never speak on behalf of another entity without expressed, specific, authorization

In today’s podcast we will be discussing another one of my rules for effective lobbying – never speak on behalf of another entity or purport to represent its position without specific, clear, definitive, precise authorization. I cannot stress enough how important this rule is. Violating this rule potentially can get you into more trouble than violating any other rule that I’ve discussed before. Obviously, intentionally misrepresenting someone else’s position is unspeakably bad, and in most instances it is likely to be a career ender.

 

Inadvertent misrepresentation is almost as bad, and its potential is what gives rise to this rule. Imagine that you are testifying at a committee hearing and are asked what position on the bill in question has been taken by hypothetical Entity X, which you do not represent and which is not present at the hearing. Suppose further that based on your good faith belief, you state that Entity X supports the bill and as a result, the bill passes the committee. In fact, Entity X opposed the bill. To put it another way, suppose you inaccurately state that Entity X opposes the bill which results in the committee defeating the bill when in fact, Entity X supported the legislation. I can’t help thinking of the Southwest Airlines ad tagline, “Wanna get away?”

 

Not convinced? Think about it this way. How would you react if you represented Entity X in the preceding hypothetical.

 

 

 

Rules for Effective Lobbying – Part 8 – Don’t Ignore the Minority Party

In today’s podcast, I talk about my eighth rule for being an effective lobbyist: don’t ignore the minority party.  There are a number of reasons supporting this rule, among them: common courtesy, you may need their votes and not realize it, you will need them on some future issue, they may raise issues that you may not have thought out, and no one likes to be ignored.

Another point I focus on in this podcast is the role of committee consultants. Every committee in the Legislature has a staff of consultants who serve the full committee. Their role is primarily to work with the chair of the committee and the majority party members of the committee as well as to analyze every bill that is referred to the committee. The minority party also has committee consultants. I’ve said previously that committee staff is your best friend in Sacramento. Well, right behind them is the minority party staff.

In the rest of the podcast, I explore the many difference between the work and role of the committee staff and the minority party consultant.  Listen to the podcast to learn the details about the many differences that can be critical to your success as an advocate. Among those differences are the bill load of the consultants, whether their bill analyses are objective and non-partisan or subjective and partisan, and if their bill analyses are public record or not.

For more advocacy tips from the faculty at McGeorge School of Law, please visit CAP·impact’s In Practice Archive. For more advocacy tips from myself, you can refer back to my previous Rules for Effective Lobbying podcasts or attend one of the next sessions of Capitol Seminars, which are hosted at the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

Rules for Effective Lobbying Part 7 – Client Relations

In today’s podcast, I talk about my seventh rule for being an effective lobbyist: set yourself up for successful client relations. This is really a series of rules that will help you establish a solid foundation for a successful relationship with any client that you work with.

One example of these rules is: always under-promise and over-deliver. While it may be frustrating in the short-term to lose potential clients to lobbyists who make promises of success that they know they cannot deliver on, you and your reputation will be best served by adhering to this rule.

For more advocacy tips from me and from the faculty at McGeorge School of Law, please visit CAP·impact’s In Practice Archive or attend one of the next sessions of Capitol Seminars, hosted at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

Knowing When to Stop

In today’s podcast, I talk about my sixth rule for being an effective lobbyist: knowing when to stop. This is closely related to last week’s rule about persistence tempered by patience.

For more advocacy tips from me and from the faculty at McGeorge School of Law, please visit CAP·impact’s In Practice Archive or attend one of the next sessions of Capitol Seminars, hosted at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

 

Perseverance Equals Persistence Plus Patience

In today’s podcast, I talk about my fifth rule for being an effective lobbyist; understanding that perseverance equals persistence plus patience. While perseverance is correctly cited as being key to a lobbyist’s success, it is also critical to an advocate’s success to not engage in the fallacy of thinking that perseverance and persistence are the same thing. Perseverance equals persistence and patience, in roughly equal parts.

For more advocacy tips from me and from the faculty at McGeorge School of Law, please visit CAP·impact’s In Practice Archive or attend one of the next sessions of Capitol Seminars, hosted at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

The Difference Between Motion and Action

In this podcast, I talk about my fourth rule for being an effective lobbyist, which is knowing the difference between motion and action. Every advocate can probably relate a painful experience of how they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by giving in to their – or their client’s – natural tendency favoring activity for its own sake.

For more advocacy tips from me and from the faculty at McGeorge School of Law, please visit CAP·impact’s In Practice Archive or attend one of the next sessions of Capitol Seminars, hosted at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

Not Letting the Perfect Become the Enemy of the Good

In this podcast, I talk about my third rule for being an effective lobbyist, which is not letting the perfect become the enemy of the good. While you or your client may love your bill, it is important to remember that most of the time, it is not achievable to get 100% of what is initially in your bill. You need to know where to draw the line when it comes to what you’re willing to compromise.

For more advocacy tips from me and from the faculty at McGeorge School of Law, please visit CAP·impact’s In Practice Archive or attend one of the next sessions of Capitol Seminars, hosted at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

 

 

 

The Importance of Honesty

In this In Practice podcast, I talk about my second rule for being an effective lobbyist, which is to always be honest. There are many reasons why it is important to always be honest, but perhaps the best reason is that it is easier to remember the truth than it is to remember what lies you’ve told in the past, and to whom.

For more advocacy tips from me and from the faculty at McGeorge School of Law, please visit CAP·impact’s In Practice Archive or attend one of the next sessions of Capitol Seminars, hosted at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

 

 

 

Be a Sponge

In this In Practice podcast, I talk about my first rule for being an effective lobbyist, which is to be a sponge. It might sound fairly common sense, but this rule has served me well throughout my career as an advocate. These are not just helpful for aspiring legislative advocates only, but serve as useful guidelines for careers in legal advocacy – save for one rule, which I will go over in a later podcast.

For more advocacy tips from myself and from the faculty at McGeorge School of Law, please visit CAP·impact’s In Practice Archive or attend one of the next sessions of Capitol Seminars, hosted at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.