Saturday, March 13, 2010

What Does It Mean to "Win"?

I was sitting at WeMedia in Miami last week, listening to an eloquent presentation by TCK TCK TCK.

TCK TCK TCK had just won a Game Changer award and its representative was explaining what the organization had done. Set up in advance of the Global Climate Change summit in Copenhagen, TCK TCK TCK created a giant tent under which all of the organizations in favor of a "fair, ambitious, and binding" agreement could gather.

TCK TCK TCK got more than 16 million people to put their names on a petition calling for a "fair, ambitious, and binding" agreement.

It got hundreds of thousands of people out in the streets to demonstrate. It did important work to change the conversation about climate change.

And in the end, it failed. There was no agreement worth talking about, much less one that was "fair, ambitious, and binding."

But did it fail? Or did it win--without winning everything.

We're living in times where political issues are rarely over, even when it looks like something's been decided.

Every issue, every problem, every cutting edge concern is in play, all the time. Yogi Berra had it wrong; it's never over, not even when you think it's over.

So I'd say TCK TCK TCK has a lot to teach us about getting into the game, about organizing and articulating for our causes, about building coalitions that cross conventional boundaries, about establishing goals, about measuring impact--and about keeping after it. They didn't fail. They're still out there arguing their case for what they believe in.

We need to think differently about winning--it's the only way we'll stick with the causes we believe in, and recognize that it's not even about winning. It's about caring enough to get into the game--and then staying in the game all the way.

All Rights Reserved 2009 (c) Alan Webber, Rules Of Thumb