A guide from Spitfire Strategies to help nonprofits and foundations successfully navigate “a trail of influence” by identifying—and eliminating—blind spots before they sabotage change strategies.
- Starting fast and don’t do their homework
- Making strategic decisions out of order
- Failing to see potential downsides
- Overestimating the simplicity of influence
- Lacking objectivity
- Assuming decisions are made for certain reasons
- Plugging away instead of taking stock
- Any successful change effort must start with a clear sense of what decisions need to get made in order to create the desired change.
- The more complicated a situation, the more clearly a group needs to define necessary decisions.
- Each decision will be made by different people, based on different factors, and will require different influence campaigns.
- Once a group has determined what decisions need to get made, it must clearly identify who will make those decisions.
- People, not institutions, make decisions.
- Once a group determines what decisions must be made, it can identify the likely decision makers.
- An organization needs to understand how the decision is likely to get made.
- It is critical for an organization to have a clear understanding of the decision maker’s values, allegiances, preconceptions and misconceptions.
- With a clear understanding of how the decision will get made, the group needs to honestly assess its strengths, networks, reputation and reach to decide if and how it can influence the decision-making process.
- At this point, organizations need to identify pressure points it can credibly weigh in on.