How a Small Group without Money or Power Challenged the State and Changed the Status Quo Three years ago, a group of safety education teachers called me with a major problem. They wanted to change the California teenage driver's laws. They were concerned about teenage neophyte drivers who were killing people on California's highways.
|With no money and little power, they were hard-pressed for solutions. But, they
had one thing that drove me to work with them - passion. How they turned their cause into
a new law that went into effect July 1 of this year is an exciting story. They challenged
the California status quo and made a difference. CASEs success story is about
creating power with a focused strategic plan.
The reason I got involved in helping them develop a strategic plan for their cause is that they had a passion. I love to work with people who are passionate about their cause. Armed with passion and directed by their vision, this group followed a series of steps in accomplishing their goal:
Step One: They focused their vision
The first step of CASEs strategic plan was to focus their passion into a cause that would mobilize their members. Their passion was for safety on the highways. But that was too broad. They decided to focus their energy and time on teenage driving laws. To accomplish their goal, they set out to establish a graduated licensing program for all teenage drivers. But their cause called for a change in California driving laws. How were they going to change California laws?
Step Two: SWOT AnalysisAnalyze the power of the organization to pull off this major undertaking.
CASE was able to determine their positioning power as they did the following SWOT analysis. Their conclusion was that they had a great idea and a valid need, but no money or power.
As CASE looked at the major gap between where they were and where they wanted to be, they were ready for a needs analysis. The trouble with many strategic planners is that they try to start with needs analysis. A needs analysis is not effective until you know what you want and where you are.
Step Three: Fill THE GAP with the Critical Success Factors.
CASE identified seven factors that were crucial for the success of their mission. They started each factor with the words, We need. For example, one critical success factor was, We need to develop strategic alliances (who have money and power)." The following is an example of some of CASE's critical success factors:
Step Four: Outline the Action Steps for each Critical Success Factor and assign a date and member of the team to be responsible for each step.
Dates provided accountability and a time line for their plan. Often groups have to regroup because they get a little too optimistic. But regrouping is part of the process.
Step Five: Keep on Keeping on!
The California Association for Safety Education accomplished their goal. As of July 1st the graduated driver's license program is in effect and teenage drivers hold a provisional driver's license until they are 18. For the first six months no passengers under age 20 are allowed unless a licensed driver who is 25 or older is present. For the first 12 months no driving is permitted between midnight and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a licensed driver who is 25 or older.
If a task force of safety education teachers can change the status quo, how about you? Ask your group these questions:
Do you have a focused cause?
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