Lobby and industry organisations: are they useful (and to whom) or are they a distraction?
Of course they have their part to play. So work out what that part is, how important a part it is to your organisation, and then work out whether you might get to your destination sooner by acting more directly, or by creating your own position rather than aligning yourself with someone else’s.
(There’s many a film scene containing a well-known actor, performing with charisma and flair, on the cutting room floor because, in the bigger scenario, the scene wasn’t needed.)
When considering the role of the third-party, identify an explicit financial or business objective, the direct business consequence of making this effort and investment.
The old adage, frequently repeated, that you have to engage because everyone else does, is not sufficient, nor is the assumption that the third-party inevitably has influence.
The alternative of going direct to your audience rather than via the third-party is often thought of as being too hard. That, I think, is the point: it is, so you have to think harder about what your cut-through position and proposition are. Getting these right might be time better spent, and once you’ve worked out both the position and the proposition, you’re ready to engage.
Whatever you do, though, don’t use engaging with the third-party organisation as a delaying tactic.
(This post is part of the series derived from my experiences in business over the past seven or so years.)