Bimbo Banter

What do the Kleiner Perkins Trial and the Anti-Fracking Movement Demonstrate?

  • Leadership
  • April 9, 2015
  • by Merrie Spaeth

04 09 15 kleiner perkins

Here’s a reminder that people are your most powerful weapon. I recently read an interesting article in USA Today about the Pao trial (the former partner of Silicon Valley VC firm Kleiner Perkins that is suing the firm for discrimination) headlined, “Money Doesn’t Matter.” The reporter covering the trial noted that the jury was not awed or impressed by the billionaire witnesses Kleiner put forward, and the jury asked probing, uncomfortable questions.

Almost immediately after reading the article, I met with Jacki Pick, a real dynamo and the new COO and EVP of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a Dallas-based, nationally known think tank. (Watch for great things from her!) She does a regular podcast on energy issues, and in one of her latest she discusses how energy companies out-spent anti-fracking citizen groups by more than ten to one and have been losing campaigns to regulate or restrict fracking by double digits. The reason? The pro-fracking industry is running ads and direct mail campaigns using fact-and-statistic-based claims. The anti-fracking citizens groups are personally showing up at neighborhood meetings and leaving leaflets on their neighbors’ doors. So, what’s missing from the industry? Real people working at real jobs, with real safety practices, who are proud of and committed to talking about why fracking is good for the nation. Social media does not replace person-to-person contact, and facts never outweigh anecdotes.

Businesses, particularly in the energy industry, need to enlist and deploy their own employees to talk about – as Simon Sinek puts it – what they do and why they do it. Sinek says the answer isn’t “‘to make a profit,’ that’s a result. Why does your organization exist?” Once you can verbalize the answer and enlist real people to share it, you’ll start winning over those you’re trying to influence.

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