Forget what the calendar says. Winter is, in fact, coming. A substantial number of us here at M+R moonlight as obsessive Game of Thrones fans, myself included. What can I say? The triumphant victories, the crushing heartbreak, the war of alliances…I think the series just speaks to our real experiences as campaigners and rabble-rousers who manage coalitions and partnerships.
We’ve all seen coalitions succeed fabulously. We’ve also seen ’em fail. The one relief is that, at least in our work, even failure doesn’t (typically) lead to bloodshed.
So, 2016 got you quaking in your boots? August recess activities stressin’ you out in April? Have no fear. The beleaguered cast of Game of Thrones is here to guide you, weary coalition operative, with a few key lessons!
(Editor’s note: We actually came up with these 10 lessons in 2012 in a major whitepaper by M+R vets Michael O’Loughlin & Tom Novick. There weren’t enough GOT GIFs back then to pull off this post. Thankfully the world wide web is a fuller place today.)
1. Participate in a coalition only if it will help you build power and influence for your campaign(s).
2. Choose a unifying principle/mission.
3. Agree to disagree… then focus on issues where you do agree.
4. Recognize that contributions vary, and value that.
5. Establish clear and transparent channels for group communication.
6. Structure decision-making carefully.
7. Track progress and report on a frequent and regular basis.
8. Plan! Make sure you have realistic strategies and clearly defined tactics.
9. Help organizations achieve goals that are in their self-interest.
10. Distribute credit fairly.