Are Stealth Politics Visible On Your Bid?

Stealth Politics is a term from the late 2018 book about how billionaires influence governmental policy. Born out of this 2015 academic paper, the authors offer this definition;

stealth politics: political actions intended to push public policy in a particular direction that are not accompanied by serious public argumentation or political reasoning – that is, political action that is minimally accountable to the public

If you’re Leftist, you’ll likely wail ‘the end is nigh, told yer so’. If you’re more Right leaning, you’ll perhaps point out that such definition can encompass behaviour from all manner of self-interest groups, from the shadows to the light, across the entire spectrum. So, most tend to agree on the problem, but diverge when it comes to the way to fix it. ‘Twas ever thus…

Still, leaving the swinging pendulum aside, let’s consider solution selling implications.

I’m almost tempted to say that, strictly speaking, the word ‘stealth’ is superfluous. Politics is politics, right?

When pitching on any ‘complex’ sale (ie, where more than one person is involved buy-side) any influence brought to bear beyond your earshot is ‘stealth’-y.

The key, is in de-stealthing it.

Or should that be the Star Trek anti-Klingon ‘de-cloak’? Anyway…

I can recall many a question heard on calls with prospects around this.

‘What’s been said making tea?’ -type queries. Hoping to unearth diktats that might be in place but distributed informally.

One perception could be that those with actual power will be less likely to make public pronouncements on their desired path. Whereas those without will be prone to take a widely broadcasted approach. The more the latter is noted, is it the case that their opinion is falling on deaf ears?

One element of this ‘stealth politics’, is that public pronouncements actual ‘shakers’ state are, at the very least, meant to shield true feelings. Deflect away from the wanted direction of travel.

I doubt this will be news to any seasoned seller.

Falling victim of less-than-transparent buying execs is a wound which scars us all.

Whether it be simply to keep you in the game for their own misleading purpose, or thinking it’ll guarantee a discount come sign-up (from us kept on our toes or our competitor when we’re the makeweight).

What we must keep in mind, is that this kind of behind-the-scenes manipulation exists. And no amount of arranging ‘open’ discussions, rigid bid assessment regimens nor pushing ‘truer’ collaborative decision-making could erode such secrecy.

The Code Red of Nicholson-Cruise-Moore movie A Few Good Men is probably hidden, somewhere. We must know how to identify it. Isolate it. And if required, overcome it.

Good old political mapping is critical.

Yet even Miller-Heiman stalwarts can leave this component of their system aside.

In whichever way you prefer, this latest political term is a timely reminder that we ought do this. Even if it is by simply asking your preferred contact how every player is minded. Seek to verify, and then constantly (shape and) track shifts.

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