The One Minute Manager is a book written by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson espousing a simple, yet highly effective management style. The premise is that tasks, duties, responsibilities, and goals should be summarized such that they can be reviewed at any time in a minute. Get to the real issue, eliminate waste and get to work! Ron Hoff has a similar take on meetings and presentations in Say It In Six.
The Appleseed Project use this same idea in encouraging civic participation. Get results with elected representatives in one minute! Here’s how.
How One Minute can Preserve your Nation!
What in the world!?! One minute? Preserve the nation?
Yep, indeed it can!
Imagine having that conversation with John Adams, Patrick Henry, George Washington, with their 8 bloody years of battle, years of economic depression, inner bickering on what is the best way to set up the new “America”, they fought to secure. Telling them that due to their sacrifices, we today only need to spend 60 seconds to preserve our nation…….No doubt, they would be jealous of our ability to impact our country in just a minute, compared to what they had to go through, however, they would be proud of the fact that we have benefited so greatly from their blessings to us.
So what is this “wonder minute” that will allow you to have more impact on the Free World than a lifetime of suffering in other nations have?
A simple post card, letter and/or fax.
Simply sending these on a regular basis to your representatives is what it takes. Just a minute’s worth, no more. You spend more than a minute writing to your representatives about a topic or subject, you are wasting your time.
See, your reps fall into one of two categories. They are either of the 20-30% that hold such a strong ideological position on the topic, not willing to budge even if it might cost them the next election (chances are pretty slim this will be the case), or they don’t really care about the issue and are only looking for guidance and direction from their voters. Besides, you sent that representative to represent your views, you owe it to them, your country and your family to tell them how you want to be represented on the important issues!
Either way, the best way for you to handle this is to simply tell them how you want them to vote and leave it at this. Keep in mind, your representative won’t read your letter, some poor young staffer will. If you write too much, this poor, disinterested, pimple faced kid will have to wade through all your lengthy, reasoned, sound arguments, only to find out if you are a “yea or nay” on an issue. They may even just toss your 3 page letter, unable to find your position.
So why spend the time to explain your positions? You will never convince a representative who is dead set on a position. If they are not dead set on a position, they simply need to know how many folks “back home” are for or against an issue and are watching. Give them the information they need, they deserve and do so in the least amount of time, so you can get on with more Appleseeding, winning hearts and minds of others to join you.
In fact, how about you get a dozen or more friends to join you in your “One Minute Letter” campaign? Some studies have shown with just 10-12 letters, representatives on the state level can be swayed. With as few as 50 letters, some federal representatives can be swayed. Not bad for just a minute’s worth of work one or twice a week.
“I have never written my representatives, and frankly I don’t know where to start.” Sound like something you or your friends would say? Not to worry. There are organizations out there that will help you. In fact, they will help you write the letter, email or fax the letter, and they will even watch the issues that are important to you, letting you know when a bill is in the works which you might be interested in.
Now there is no telling what issues are important to you, but making some assumptions about the fact that you are reading this, perhaps some of the below organizations will provide you the tools you can use. If not, don’t stop! Seek out those organizations who work on issues important to you and see if they offer a similar program as those below. Remember, a minute can make a huge difference for generations, it is the least we can do for the generations to come, and but a partial repayment to those generations before us.
Here are some links which provide contact information for your STATE and Federal Representatives:
(These last two will be happy to send you email alerts about pending legislation which you may find important, you need to “register” with them if you wish them to provide this service to you)
So here is an example of how simple a one minute letter can be written to be both quick and effective.
“Dear Representative/Senator _______________,
As your constituent, I want you to vote for/against (or co-sponsor) bill (place the number here, or the issue).
I will be watching your performance and base my votes on it. Also, I will be sharing your performance with the dozens of friends that I regularly discuss current issues with.
See, it is just that simple! And you have just represented dozens of voters who would agree with your views, but have not taken that minute to make their demands known to their representatives. This is the simple, but very effective tool your Forefathers bled on the battle fields of Colonial America to secure for you…..at least we can take full advantage of those tools which they paid so dearly to give us.
Now you may know someone who says, “those politicians don’t listen to us anyway”. First, they do listen, if we do our job and tell them what we want them to do. Second, if they don’t listen, it does not mean we are off the hook to our obligation and duty to inform them how we want them to represent us. Remember, we are also watching our Representatives, if they don’t represent us, then we find someone who will.
If you believe this nation’s government of the people, by the people, for the people, then you know the power of this government sits squarely in our hands. We the People are the power, not the representatives we send to our state capitols or to D.C.