When you go into a meeting, you need to have some strategies planned so that you can accomplish your goals. Without strategies, it is not likely that you will accomplish those goals. Good strategic planning is not abusing the organization; the opposite is true as you will be working to do the best for your organization.
For the sake of argument in this post, let’s assume that the motion, “That the price of lunch in the cafeteria be raised from $10 to $12.” We will also assume that this motion does not require any previous notice and that it is in the preview of the assembly.
If you support the motion, you can do several things to support it. You can speak in favor of it. In fact, you can plan with a group as to who will speak for it and when. Also you can plan to make motions like Postpone Indefinitely and Call the Question when they will support your position. You may wish to work against any amendments to the plan unless the amendment improves the motion in a way you (or the group) desire.
If you are against a motion, you will do all to get it defeated. Again, a group plan can be helpful. You would at least argue against it. You might also offer amendments that would ultimately make the motion less desirable — an amendment to change $12 to $15 would be one.
The amending process can be a very strong way to work for the defeat of a motion. I will make it the topic of a separate blog post.
Elections can be very trying for any organization. Even if only one candidate is running for an office, there will be people who view themselves as losers. I remember that when Kennedy ran against Nixon, Ohio went for Nixon. One resident that I delivered newspapers to told me that he would not vote again as his candidate lost. When I asked him which one he voted for, he said Kennedy. He explained that his vote meant nothing as Ohio went for Nixon. I told him that he did have a winning candidate and he added to the national total. He found that to be not good enough.
This sort of discontent is dangerous in that it has a win-or-nothing mentality attached to. There is no room for compromise nor for the influence of the minority. I find this nowadays in the way people view the results of the 2008 election — Obama won so that is the only opinion that needs to be considered. It is so dangerous.
I remember reading many a year ago (don’t ask me where as I can’t remember) that Lyndon Johnson was successful in the Senate not because the Democrats had a majority but because he knew to compromise and work with Dirkson who was the leader of the Republicans. He kept the Democrats agenda going but he did not overlook the opposition.
I really believe that the same needs to occur in any election results to have a strong organization — one side leads but does not dominate absolutely.
At the same time, the side that lost must be willing to work with the winners accepting the concept that the others are the leaders and many of the losing side’s plans need to be put on hold or moderated to an acceptable level.
I know that many people are opposed to the constant compromise of politics, but, when used well, compromise leads to a better organization for all the members.