issue anticipation

Taming an Issue Before It Roars

Your best opportunity to tame a thorny subject is before it becomes a public issue.

Issue management is often associated with public relations and lobbying exertions to corral an issue that has erupted into a public debate, prescriptive legislation or regulatory action, all of which can be messy and expensive. There is considerably more room to maneuver before an issue reaches the front pages, a bureaucrat's desk or the legislative bill hopper.

This requires anticipation — and a different bag of tricks.

It's not just who you know, it's what you know

Tamping down an issue that has exploded into the public consciousness and morphed into new rules or laws usually involves talking to the right people. The goal is influence.

Anticipating an emerging issue involves reading and talking to critics to develop a keener understanding of an issue and of expectations how to resolve it. The goal is information , which can be used to change a practice or behavior before it festers into a public sore point. The change might even be significant enough to give an organization or individual a marketing advantage.