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The Tactic Star (a tool for planning and evaluating tactics)

The “tactic star” is a tool we developed a few years ago. We wanted to repost it here on the new site. Click here to download it as a worksheet (PDF).

Choosing or inventing a successful tactic often involves some intuition and guesswork &#151 and always risk. But the more we study our contexts, the better we become at judging when to pull which punches. Projecting and measuring success is complex, but we should not let the murkiness of these waters deter us from diving into them. Patterns do emerge. We can learn a great deal from our experiences when we critically analyze them. This tactic star names some key factors that change agents should consider when determining their tactics. The same tool can be used to evaluate actions after they have been carried out.

Strategy: How will the tactic move us toward achieving our goal?

Message: What will the tactic communicate? What will it mean to others? How will it carry a persuasive story?

Tone: Will the action be solemn, jubilant, angry, or calm? Will the energy attract or repel the people we want to engage?

Timing: Can we leverage unfolding events and new developments as opportunities? Does the political moment hold potential for us, or vulnerability for our opponents?

Audience: Who do we want to reach with our tactic? What response do we want our action to inspire in them?

Allies: How will the tactic affect our allies or potential allies? How will they receive it? Will it strengthen the relationship or jeopardize it?

Resources: Is the action worth our limited time, energy and money? Can we get more out of it than we put in? Do we have the capacity to pull it off effectively?

Target: What message will the tactic send to the people who have the power to meet our demands? Will it pressure them to capitulate, or enable them to dismiss us or retaliate?

Click here to download the tactic star worksheet (PDF).

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