Yesterday, I met with a bright young man, JW, seeking career advice. JW is a smart, well-composed student athlete and he asked me, “Why do people hire you?” Great question!
From our perspective, people hire us to make a difference. After all, every principal at Capstone got into the political and policy arena because that’s where our passions lie: making a difference.
To that end, of course our clients want us to make a difference but it’s a defined one. Typically, they hire us for one of three reasons:
The first kind of client that hires us is seeking our help to fix their pain. These are businesses and organizations that have a problem or one looming on the horizon. The government has made a decision or is about to implement a policy that would cause them harm, and our job is to devise a strategy with achievable tactics to reverse the decision and/or to ameliorate the negative consequences. In sports, we’d say that the clients in these scenarios are usually on the defensive; something harmful is going to, or already has, happened, and they need to fix it. Usually these efforts require big lifts and, potentially, legislative changes. We actively lobby and deploy both our clients and our collective assets to solve these challenges.
The second kind of client is an organization that wants to avoid being blind-sided by a government action and/or is seeking intelligence as to what the government is going to do next. Think eyes and ears – boots on the ground sort of thing. They need information to play offense, defense, or both. Often they are already working with the government and in industries that have a lot of regulation. Terms associated with this kind of client include: monitoring legislative and executive actions, political intelligence, positioning and analyses. These engagements are terrific in that they allow the organization to build deep and mature strategies.
The third kind of client hires us because they have a brilliant idea and the government can help accelerate their vision. Frequently, these clients are seeking dollars or other resources from the feds. Over the years, we’ve helped our clients capture hundreds of millions of dollars as part and parcel of this. Sticking with the sports analogy, clients are playing offense here. We are constantly looking at advancing the client, as well as working closely on helping them packages their vision so it intersects with the government’s needs. After all, the government is not going to buy unless they see the need.
There are commonalities in all three categories. For instance, we are constantly analyzing policy, developing strategies and tactics, along with engaging in the political process. We are also the day-to-day foot soldiers for our clients, participating in meetings, briefings, and events to advance their interests. The beautiful thing about what we do is it changes from day to day, client to client, while at the same time allowing us to tap into all of our collective experiences and relationships.
Working with the government is not for everyone. Our clients are sophisticated and know that Washington is full of the proverbial political land mines that require constant vigilance. Our job is to be their guides and partners, and at the end of the day, deliver one of three things to them – and, of course, make a difference.
So that’s it JW, that’s what we do. That’s what we’re here for – that’s why we exist.
For more background on Capstone’s CEO, John C. Rogers, click here for his bio at Capstone or here for his Wikipedia entry.
Connect with him on LinkedIn or follow John on Twitter.
The views in this blog post represent the viewpoints of individual team members, not Capstone National Partners as a whole.