Archives for April 2013

Rules of the Trade: How to Advocate for Business Today

By Joel Anderson | 04/16/2013 | 6:19 AM

Rule No. 1: Try to stay out of the press. The worst thing that can happen to a business-advocacy
issue is to have it become a referendum about feelings, emotions and fear. Here’s a perfect example: truck size and weight. The physics is proven. The safety is proven. The driver qualification is proven. And the additional strength of the concrete is a known fact.  Yet, the issue cannot be moved because the physics are politicized by the modal battle between trucks and rail. Voters react to the size of the vehicle. Overcoming that long-held fear has been a 40-year battle.

 Rule No. 2: You want the content of meetings with legislators and staff to be about the quality
of your data and an exchange of facts.
The goal when meeting with officials is to build a
relationship of trust and credibility with the staff and consultants. Recognize that it is your job to protect your author and supporters with facts that enable them to talk about job preservation, job growth and wealth creation in their districts.

 Rule No. 3: Drain your comments of all emotion about your position. Issuess issues in the supply chain and 3PL industries are arcane matters to the general public: the law of bailment with respect to the federal oversight of the supply chain; C-TPAT status for 3PLs; demurrage, detention and competitive switching; tax equity between C corps and pass through corporation; nexus; when goods come to rest in interstate commerce; and overlapping jurisdictions between DOT and OSHA and hazardous materials when it moves from the truck to the warehouse.  When discussing these types of issues, the International Warehouse Logistics Association’s goal is to educate lawmakers and staff. This will give them a sense of comfort about your ask. A perfect example is the IWLA approach on food safety and security in the supply chain. Our foremost charge is to demonstrate to the FDA the practices we undertake to keep products free from contamination while in the custody of the 3PL. It is our responsibility to bring facts, documentation and research to the process.

Rule No. 4:  Keep your grassroots in reserve. When an issue you’re watching makes the front page, like the U.S. National Labor Relations Board recess appointments and that group’s regulations,
recognize you are now in a contest of wills. It is time to call out the troops. On these issues, which are in conflict from the get-go, know that letters, telegrams and district pressure are the measuring rod of success. Launch your grassroots network only when needed as some of your peers and constituents may find political action distasteful.

Rule No. 5: Realize your mission of education is never done. Every time you read a political or legislative issue impacting your business, you have an educational opportunity to prove you are the subject expert on your issues. Drop off an IWLA-3PL issues briefing with the elected official’s district office, commenting that you wanted the elected official to be informed on an issue of great importance to your company and your co-workers. And do so without any ask. You are on a mission to build a relationship of trust in your own backyard.

In summary: Good business advocacy is about your respective trade association and you being known to your elected official as a source of knowledge.  Leave the spinning to the people who handle the hot-button issues. You want to be known as someone who pursues and enables good jobs in logistics in your local district. Showcase those goals first and a sound relationship will follow. 


Digital Advocacy on an Elected Official’s Facebook Page– A Smart and Simple Public Affairs Frontier for Business

By Joel Anderson | 04/11/2013 | 5:56 AM

There is more than one way to get the attention of elected officials. And when it comes to helping
those elected officials make decisions that are right for business, getting their attention is all that matters – irrespective of party affiliation.

 Digital advocacy is a necessary part of your contact program with elected officials;

  • More than 99 percent of Congress members are on social media – especially Facebook.
    I just posted a comment on the Facebook page of my elected representative,
    giving my opinion on the sequester.
  • Visiting elected officials’ pages gives you insight. I was able to see (through the
    pictures posted) who is the representative’s real constituency.  For example, I reviewed the number of pictures with employers in the district versus those taken with organized
    labor, other elected officials and social groups.  What I took away was a comprehensive picture
    of who is influencing my elected representative.

Digital advocacy is a smart and very inexpensive way for you to educate and inform your elected
official on the impact legislative actions will have on your company and your workers. Follow these guidelines if you do decide to add digital advocacy to public affairs arsenal:

1)       Stay positive, even when you disagree.  Remember, this is a public post created by your elected representative to present a viewpoint and solicit yours.  When you comment on the page,
draw the elected person’s attention to facts, not your conclusions or how you want them to vote.

2)      Never, ever, ever go personal, say anything personal, or mention anything personal – unless you are thanking the leader for a positive visit, response or action. 

3)      Every now and then enter a comment on legislation the official has co-authored so he/she sees you are watching,reading and aware. 

 Once you begin posting on your elected official’s Facebook page, be aware the elected person
(or staff) will probably contact you, particularly if you have been informed, polite and diplomatic. You have opened a dialogue – and you did so via your computer and your desk. 

 Digital advocacy is a wonderful tool for those business owners who detest politics but want to have
influence. You don’t need to attend the fundraisers, make the office visits or engage in letters to the editor.  The elected official has come to you via his/her own social media site. Use that outreach to your advantage. Share facts, figures and informed impacts on what legislation means to you and your co-workers. It is a great tool for business to wield.

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Joel Anderson

Joel Anderson

Joel D. Anderson is president and CEO of the International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA). Based in Des Plaines, Ill., IWLA is the 120-year-old association of the warehouse-based third-party logistics industry, with 500 members in the U.S. and Canada. Before joining IWLA, Anderson spent 28 years at the California Trucking Association, the last 13 as executive vice president and CEO. An economist by training and profession, Anderson was also a past board member of Cascade Sierra Solutions. He is a frequent speaker before supply chain industry groups.


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