Do You Really Know Where You Are Going?

For over a decade now, I have worked in the Iowa state capitol. Every year, I am always surprised to see people who show up to advocate for change without any forethought or research into the process and how it works. And, the same people are frustrated and furious when their idea did not make any progress.

What people do not realize is there are a thousand ways that policies stay the same, the status quo is easy.
There are only a few paths to change. That requires a strategy.

Policies are made and changed at many different levels. We have policies or “rules” at home about how much money we spend, what time we eat, and maybe even when we go to bed.

We have policies in the office - to wear a mask or not, get vaccinated or not.

There are policies in your community - whether to open a city swimming pool or instead build a soccer complex.

And, of course at the state and federal level, there are policies and laws of all kinds that govern our land.

This may be a surprise - You can change them! 

The more the policy impacts others, the more strategy is required to get it done.

Thinking back to how I helped move legislation forward for significant structure change to the mental health delivery system in our state, there are a few key pieces that stood out. I have created a course called “Making Healthier Policies” to help others master the keys to great strategy

First key to healthier policies is a healthier you. Many people might push back on this. But, unless you know your why and have found  your voice, you most likely won’t make changes to policies or laws. Why? Because it requires a long range goal and plan. We didn’t get to this point overnight, and it may take some time to fix it. This means you have to be ready to take the time it takes to get the job done. One key piece of policy I needed changed, was addressed 10 years later. Change takes time.

Second, you have to have a team of partners willing to work on your change alongside you. Nothing worth doing gets done alone in a vacuum. The people who crash and burn the hardest are the ones who come in like the lone ranger. They are often convinced they have the best idea and that everyone should agree with them. Usually, they haven’t asked for anyone’s feedback and there are good reasons why what they want is not so. Building partnerships of people also interested in your topic with various perspectives is useful to get the job done right.

Finally, words matter. Besides having an idea of what you want changed, it is important to know what language needs changed and at what level. Sometimes, people want to change the law, when what they want is already law, it just is not enforced. Repeating a law would not be helpful to the end game. Working with those on the front lines who are not implementing it correctly would be better use of time. 

Creating a strategy to nargate your personal health and voice, finding the right people to partner with to advance your message and creating the right message is all foundational to a good strategy.

At Schulte Consulting, we assist people with this process. Whether you have the basic idea of something that needs changed, or you are ready to find sponsors for  your legislation, we can help. If you are interested in more information about the Making Healthier Policies course, email Renee at Renee@ReneeSchulte.org. The next session begins in January 2022.