Framing the Fruit and the Root of the Issue

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This is part one of a five-part series, I am going to be reviewing some concepts to help with the impact finesse. This is a word we've been hearing all year, really the past year and a half or so. When the pandemic started impact was something that was thrown around heavily, What’s the impact of covid? What was the economic impact of covid on your business? We’ve heard impact year-round. But what we don't talk about is that impact requires finesse.

Click here to download the Social Impact worksheet.

Because I’m gonna be teaching from this. There are five major areas that we are going to cover on how we can properly perform the impact finesse.


Before we get into part 1

It's worth mentioning that impact necessitates two things, right? You need two things to effectively implement an impact. You need influence and you need intent, if you’re missing one of those you will not issue an impact.


So, I am… I was an athlete, I was a hooper in college so I tend to still think in athletic metaphors. Saying you are in the game, you’re on advisory councils, you're part of civic organizations, you’re part of coalitions, you’re in the game. You're running up and down the floor, you’ve checked in, you're in the game right? But let’s say in the game you aren’t moving with intent, you’re on the court, you're in the game but you don't know what play we’re running, you don't know who we’re supposed to be fouling, you may be fouling the wrong person you don't know who's in foul trouble, you don’t know what defense we’re in, you don’t even know how much time is on the clock, but you’re in the game right? And so when you have influence and you don't have intent, you're a liability. Because you can be manipulated by everything that is happening around you. So, just because aren’t moving with intent doesn’t mean those around you aren’t. That’s a little example of what it looks like to have influence without intent.


And on the reverse side, let’s say you do have intent. You have all this strategy, you have this research that you’ve done, you have these programs, you have these activities but you won’t open your mouth or you won't go and gain the influence that's needed so that you can implement this intent. This is why you need both of these things to implement impact, you can't do it if you don't have influences, you can't do it if you don't intent. That is what we are covering all series make sure to download the worksheet because there are prompts for each section that you can follow along with me and take notes.


Click here to download the Social Impact Approach Worksheet


Framing is important...

and though these are very basic concepts, I see these things performed poorly all of the time and it's hurtful. The audience you serve because we have many audiences that we communicate to. But when you think about the audience that you serve as a responsibility you treat it differently, when you recognize that it's an assignment, you treat it differently. You can’t just rush and do stuff because you're excited, because you can step out of order and then ultimately damage your audience.


I'm assuming that everyone has performed a very thorough serving audience analysis.

Meaning we know our audience front and back. And this goes beyond just like the blanket demographic information age, sex, location, gender, socioeconomic status those things. I'm talking about you know your audience, you know who has their attention, you know the other group that serves, you know what policies, which laws influence their livelihood, you know what threatens them, you know what influences their decision making. Like you know- know your audience, right? I’m assuming we've done that work and we have that reference point before we jump into this first part. If we have not done the work we do need to spend some time understanding and getting to know who is our audience is, why? Because if we were to devise any type of solution or strategy to serve them, to have any type of mission or vision for them without fully engaging in the time and the process of getting to know them, it's almost like we would be committing like "grassroots colonization". I mean it's that bad,


how can you genuinely and authentically serve someone that you don't know too well?


You have to survey the land before you build your foundation.

Before you build any building you have to start with the foundation and it comes with surveying the land and setting a very sound structure. So, if I wanted to build a hospital that serves people i wouldn't go down to Florida and build this hospital on the shore of south beach, right? Because why would I say that I'm establishing this thing to serve people and then put them at risk because I didn’t fully do my homework. This is part of surveying again and framing that we are gonna do.


The very first part of framing is identifying, and properly defining the issue. You know you’ve done this if you can speak to the issue with the public and social sector lens with that filter. You can properly identify it. It's backed by some credible source your speaking to it statistically and you're communicating the severity of it. All of these things go into being able to properly identify and define the issue.


And let me tell you a secret this is the entryway into effective navigation of these sectors. If you're not able to communicate through the filter of the public and social sector your impact on your potential is going to be capped. Because that's where the real change occurs that's where the cause of some of the issues that your audience faces. That's where they live, so you have to feel comfortable getting in that space and speaking effectively, not just getting in there and having influence with no intent. We need to get in there, we need to be impactful. The very first thing that we have to do is properly identify and define the issue.


In identifying and defining the issue you wanted to draft an issue statement.

And I know most people get excited about their service efforts and the first thing they do is name their effort, they go file, they get a logo. And we have to get away from that. Those things are great and they're exciting, they kinda give legs to what we envision or what we solve but we want to practice order. So, after we’ve done this deep dive into our audience we then want to craft an issues statement. And the issue statement must identify the issue, the cause and the outcome of the issue or the fruit and the root is what I like to call it. It must communicate the severity and it must also be back by some credible source


A sample issue statement is: according to the Jessica Cohen book of facts in 2020 people with freckles in 29418 experience 78 percent less health care treatment services compared to their counterparts due to a lack of representation in the healthcare industry, a lack of social protection to offset affordability and access, and cultural preferences. Additionally, people with freckles in 29418 experience heart disease obesity, and mental disorders stressing the school-age children in homes of people with freckles who subsequently performed lower academic rates.


So, it was backed by a credible source "the Jessica Cohen book of facts". I was able to speak to the severity of the issue. I named the issue "in 2020 people with freckles in 29418", I located the issue. "the experience 78 percent less health care treatment" that’s the issue. I identify the cause or the root of the issue, "due to a lack of representation in the healthcare industry, due to a lack of social protection to offset the affordability and access and also due to cultural preferences". To identify the root, I spoke to the severity of it. I backed it by a credible source and I was also able to communicate in the public and social sector lens. And then I also tied in the outcomes the fruit of the issue, "because of these issue people with freckles in 29418 that zip code they experience Heart disease obesity and mental disorders" that then and I identified the second layer of issues that affect the children who live in the homes of the people with freckles. So, you want to craft this issue statement out it is going to do several things for you, instead of you trying to come up with programs and services your gonna have the answers, right here. I know how I need to adjust the problem because I've identified every angle of the issue, and this can get as in-depth as you need it to be. But you do wanna have this structure this blueprint because it's going to tell you how you need to, lay the plumbing, lay the electrical right, it's gonna give you an idea of where and how your effort to tie in this type of work as it pertains to you serving your audience.


I've identified the issue, I’ve crafted this issue statement, I have the fruit I have the root that is included. We have the issue statement crafted out so now we’re ready to move on to what most people jump into.


The second concept that I included on this worksheet was our vision.

And when you have an understanding of what the issues are then you can kind of determine what that perfect world looks like as it pertains to your audience which is what your vision is. It's what your eyes are set on, it's what you're pushing forward, it's what you're speaking to achieve. There’s no action in your vision! You shouldn't be telling me how you're going to do anything or what’s up with your audience it should be telling me what your eyes are set on.


A vision for this as it pertains to this lengthy issue statement for my people with freckles, a vision would be "equal health care treatment services for all people with freckles in 29418". It's really simple, it tells you who it's for, it tells you where.


Now the mission is what some people struggle with. The mission is all of your doing your action, it's how you are communicating your methodology to achieving your vision. It should address every angle of the issues statement that you track it so you should have something in your mission that says that you're tackling both the fruit and the root of the issue when I go back and I'm looking at this issue statement.


The roots that we've identified "there's a lack of representation healthcare industry" so addressing that looks like either some policy that enforces inclusion or some type of education promotion or training to prepare this demographic for the workforce. The second group that we identified was that "there's a lack of social protections in place to offset either affordability or access" and that's a multiprong statement in itself but let's just tackle this social protection so again addressing that in my mission looks like some type of policy engagement, that looks like addressing it in the form of advocacy and then the third root that we identified were cultural preferences which can be addressed in education promotion also, which shies most people away from addressing roots of the issue is. That they feel uncomfortable dealing with a representative public or elected officials were just navigating that public sector space and promoting and pushing for certain policy initiatives but we have to do that because in order to eradicate something or combat it effectively you have to hit in the systems level.


When you think about roots, roots are system they are system underground that nourishes a thing and in this case its the issue. In order to like genuinely and fully eradicate it, you have to deal with it at the root level. When you think about those ugly dandelions that grow everywhere, if you want to get rid of that weed you don't just blow the little flowers around or just cut the head off you pull it up from the ground because you wanna lift it those roots out of the ground. And so this type of work really calls for strategy because you can mess up in a cause something to be more fruitful. If you think about those dandelions when you blow those little seeds around you're not really getting rid of them you're actually calling for it to be more fertile where it can take root in other places. So, move with intent you don't want to be the person in the game with influence running up and down the court but doesn't know how much time is on the clock or what type of game were running and who we are supposed to be fouling.

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