THE Most Important Question To Success – Is It True?

You may believe it or not. But I believe that „Is it true?“ is the key to success. However, you have to understand how to use those few words wisely…

On 8th June 2011 Swiss parliament decided to phase out nuclear power. Four weeks later it struck me. This was probably the consequence of a strategy that a former work mate and I had created back in 1992 – 19 years earlier! A master piece of long-term strategic planning? Maybe. Maybe it would have happened anyway. But certainly we did ask ourselves the right question in 1992, again and again and again. Or better: he asked me…

In 1991 I had started to work as a (anti-) Nuclear Campaigner for Greenpeace Switzerland. My job then was to prevent unlimited operating licenses for two of Switzerland’s oldest nuclear power plants, Mühleberg and Beznau II. My work mate in this campaign was Berni. His job was to prevent final repositories for nuclear waste. Our office was very narrow and we had to sit back to back, as it was not possible to position our desks in the centre of the room. We were facing the walls. Berni had started his job two years earlier. He became my coach and trainer for the next two years. I learned from him most of what I know about campaigning today, when I design strategies, create ideas and manage campaigns or change-projects for clients.

Our situation was tough. Management didn’t have a favour for the (anti-) nuclear campaign, so we had to be successful in order to prove that our budget was justified. But our budget was always too small… Tough situations are when you learn most. We had to be very creative. We permanently came up with new ideas of what we could do in order to achieve the next goal. But how do you prevent (over-) activism and promote strategic action in such a situation?


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