I met with someone recently who is spearheading a community effort to get a “public official” removed from his post. There is very good cause for removal. The evidence goes back for years. The people who could remove this official have left him in place for all of those years. There may be reasons why they haven’t forced his removal, but at this point those reasons are not the concern of those who are insisting on the removal.
Of course they want to be decent and let the proper authorities deal with the situation quietly and effectively. If the situation changed without a great deal of turmoil that would be best. The question we were thinking on went back to how much pressure do you bring to bear on the organization. If it’s too little, it’s possible the situation won’t be dealt with, too much and there are hurt feelings all around.
After a couple of days of contemplation this reminded me of a time I took someone fishing. We would catch a fish, and there’s a little club on the boat to hit the fish to kill it. It’s an unpleasant job. A person can get accustomed to it though. It is the price of catching fish for your own table. This person I took fishing would hit the fish, but instead of a good whack, the fish was repeatedly tapped on the head. The desired outcome wasn’t pending, the fish was in far more pain that it would have been on receiving a good whack. “You’re hitting the fish to kill it.” I said. “Hit it like you mean it.” A good solid hit and the job is done. A bunch of small hits, and everyone is miserable. You don’t want to hit the fish, but you have to do it again, and the fish –if it has the faculties to know misery and enjoyment– isn’t enjoying it either.
So, when the “next steps” part of the discussion were about to happen with the public official. I recommended that they make it clear what the goals of their interaction were: this official must be removed from his position. If that doesn’t happen, they will hit it like they mean it. Instead of an issue that is dealt with quietly within the office, they will exert every effort required to make it happen. They will make it a community-wide discussion, lawyers might be called. Even that lawyer in town that few people like but who makes a huge stink about any issue he gets involved with. We mean it. There’s a time limit and we’re going to follow through.
The specifics don’t need to be mentioned. The fact that they have a plan, are confident of their plan and are determined to follow through with it will show through will give them a significant edge in their negotiations.