Lessons Learned from “The Art of War”
Sun Tzu, the legendary Chinese philosopher and military general left a substantial amount of timeless wisdom in his compendium of strategy, The Art of War.
While the majority of the tactics outlined in his work have been applied for centuries by various military commanders, and more recently, those in the business world, there is much of his advice that can be applied to the realm of government relations.
Among the notable pieces of advice Sun Tzu left that were tailor maid for political strategy, and in particular dealing with elected bodies from city councils to state legislatures, is the following:
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
Too often government relations is viewed and used as a reactionary tool. A state legislator proposes a new law that could negatively affect our business.
What is the first reaction? Send in your lobbyist, or if you don’t have one then hire one… quick! Kill the bill.
These efforts often require calling in favors, spending of political capital, and making future enemies as government relations staff is called upon to do everything possible to stop the enactment of a potentially harmful measure. Every piece of “ammunition” used in a political battle is “ammunition” that becomes unavailable for future battle and makes us more vulnerable to attack.
But what if we followed Sun Tzu’s call for winning without fighting? Being proactive takes on many forms, but there are few better than telling our stories and creating narratives with decision makers before bills are even introduced.
On March 29, CGA will host its annual Grocers Day at the Capitol. This one-day lobbying day is your opportunity to meet with state legislators and their staff face-to-face and tell our story. Your participation sends a powerful message to our elected officials and puts a face to one of this state’s most important industries.
By being proactive you will allow CGA to influence political battles before they are ever fought. The counsel given to us by Sun Tzu that remains as relevant to us now as it was nearly 2,500 years ago.
Plan now to join your peers in Sacramento on March 29. It’s your day! Let our leaders hear your voice. Register at www.cagrocers.com.