Strategy is a word that we hear thrown around all over the place, nowadays. On Saturday, TCASK’s board went through the process (and it was a long one) of developing our strategic plan for the next three years. But what is this whole strategy thing, anyway?

I gotta tell y’all, the concept of strategy is not an easy one to grasp; I certainly struggle with it. When we’re talking about a political issue campaign, we too often confuse strategy with tactics. When we talk about strategy we want to ask some basic questions:

What do we want? or What is our goal?

Who can give it to us?

With this as a starting point, we assess what resources we have (money, people, information etc.) and then ask what resources we will need in order to achieve our goals or, to put it another way, in order to leverage political power over the person who can give us what we want (aka the target). This may include secondary targets, for example, I need Assemblyperson X to vote for the moratorium bill, but I’m not in his district and he isn’t likely to listen to me, however he is a devout Methodist and will listen to the Methodist District Superintendent from his area. The superintendent is then our secondary target, the person that we want to get to ask the target to give us what we want. Very complicated, and this is just the beginning, but, to prevent everyone from abandoning our newly budding blog here, we won’t get into too many details here.

There’s just one last issue, why haven’t I spoken about rallies, petitions, public speaking? Aren’t those part of our strategy? Yes and no and here is where I often find myself getting confused. The above are all examples of tactics. A tactic is an action you employ to help you gain political power over your target. It is not that these actions are not strategic necessarily, it is simply that they, in and of themselves, do not constitute Sstrategy. They are a part of our strategic vision but our strategy revolves around the question of our goal, target (and secondary targets) and the messages and messengers needed to develop and deliver those messages.

With all that said, TCASK’s current strategic goal is to pass a moratorium and study bill in the next three years. It was wonderful for me to meet all the board (having only started here a few months ago I hadn’t had the opportunity previously). We did develop a plan with goals laid out throughout the next three years as to what we need to accomplish and when to succeed in the end. I have great faith. The people we have at TCASK are committed and dedicated and I do believe that we can accomplish great things.

One of the nicest things about strategic planning is allowing us to think big. What a re we going to do? Pass a moratorium and study bill in three years! How are we going to do it? What do we need? We will begin 15 new chapters over the next three years! I think we can do it, but often in organizing we spend a lot of time on tiny details. How will I get so-and-so to the meeting? What are the details of the speaker’s visit that we’re bringing in? How should the press release be worded? In doing so, we can sometimes miss the forest for the trees. Strategic planning is designed to help us keep our eyes on the prize as it were. Even while working on all the tiny details (and without them we’ll never achieve our goal) we keep in mind where we’re going and why.

Carry on, all!

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