Prioritize the Priorities

Last week I had the pleasure of giving a speech to a group of local government officials in Florida. The topic was preparing for the upcoming legislative session, which this year starts in January.

As I was preparing the speech, I started reflecting on my days as a city commissioner and advocate for my city. At the start of each week during session, I was so filled with excitement and determination to make a difference. Unfortunately with so many issues to focus on, I developed “analysis paralysis”. Meaning I would become so overwhelmed that I did nothing.

Well, it didn’t take long to realize that strategy wasn’t working. So I had to readjust my thinking and decide what issues were most important and what legislation would have the most dramatic (positive or negative) impact on my city.

Once I did that how things changed! I became a better advocate and was able to inform  my legislators what issues I was focusing on, they knew when they heard from me what it would be about.

But how do you decide what issues to choose? Sometimes the answer may be quite obvious, but sometimes it’s not. Below is the thought process that helped me decide, and I hope it can help you too!

  1. Less is Better – Just think “analysis paralysis”!
  2. Choose issues that have the greatest, direct impact on your community, organization or business.
  3. If there are no direct impact issues, maybe there is one that has a regional impact…meaning there is an opportunity to work with other like cities, organizations or businesses where you can work in partnership to advocate for the region.
  4. Think about the political and legislative implications. If your priority is in direct conflict with the philosophical beliefs of the majority parties, it can be an up hill battle to move it forward. The same with legislative considerations. If you’ve recently has a “win” with a new law or changes in current law, trying to push for more changes might be difficult.
  5. Consider advocating on a priority that lawmakers can support instead of oppose. How refreshing!
  6. Think proactively. Often advocates choose priorities based upon legislation that’s been or is expected to be filed and are reacting to its anticipated impact. So sometimes advocating on measure designed to improve your industry or community may be a great strategy!

Want to learn more? Be sure to get a copy of my new book, A Journey To Yes. And remember I will continue to be…

Your Partner in Advocacy – Kathy


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