Roots of Success Newsletter
What's New


This month we have a relatively big announcement – I’ve finished the journey of researching, being inspired, being tired, and endlessly editing to produce my new book, The Underdog Edge: How Ordinary People Change The Minds of the Powerful . . . and Live To Tell About It, published by Morgan James. The publisher is donating a portion of all proceeds to Habitat For Humanity.

Many of you have joined me on this journey, providing manuscript peer reviews, access to your star grassroots influencers, and general words of encouragement. For that I am forever grateful.

The book is the first of its kind to tell how “ordinary” people in politics and business influence up the food chain and change the minds of powerful people. I interviewed the not only the underdogs, but the powerful people whose minds were changed. There are stories from the political “left” and political “right” and those in between, as well as a few stories from the business world.

Not only do we share the stories of the winning underdogs, but we teach you how to integrate their specific behaviors (over 30 tips collected into seven extreme influence tactics) in your next upward influence effort.

You can read more about the Underdog Edge story here:


Bulk Orders

Want to buy a large quantity order of The Underdog Edge? Send a note to Nora Rubinoff at and we’ll talk with you about volume discounts.

You can of course purchase the book on Amazon: Underdog-Edge-Ordinary-People-Powerful/dp/1600379982/ref=sr_1_1? ie=UTF8&qid=1316626167&sr=8-1

or Barnes and Noble:

I’m also conducting workshops and and keynotes on the Underdog Edge. This is information you have not heard anywhere else before. Drop Nora or me a note about your upcoming event and we’ll see if there is a fit." 

Top Tips


Video: The Three Distinctions Between Mediocre and Excellent Political Involvement Programs



ASAE Annual Convention – Evaluating Your Government Relations Program

I had the privilege to co-present with Jim Potter, interim CEO of the American Academy of Physician Assistants at ASAE’s Annual Conference in St. Louis. We focused on the topic of how to properly evaluate your Government Relations program. As usual, we made sure that the workshop was very interactive.

Some questions to ask as you evaluate your GR program include:

  • Is your organization increasingly positioned as a resource for legislators? For example, is the number of legislators contacting your organization for information about your industry increasing or decreasing?
  • What’s your LCR? (legislator conversion rate)
  • What is your PAC evangelism rate?
  • Are your stakeholders engaging in more or fewer high-persuasion behaviors?
News from Innovate to Motivate


Lessons Learned from Innovate to Motivate Grassroots and PAC Town Halls


At this summer’s Innovate to Motivate PAC and Grassroots Town Halls (, I am always leaning forward in my seat taking notes. I surveyed the Town Hall participants and found that on average, each attendee gained eight new actionable ideas ---- not a bad investment for a half day. Thanks to our I2M faculty member Brett Kappel (http:// of Arent Fox ( for hosting us.


A few of the new ideas included:

  • Establish a PAC Advisory Committee
  • Include in grassroots training/orientation appropriate expectations for influence success
  • Engage the “exclusivity” principle when building your grassroots teams
  • Test messages among internal, not just external audiences before asking for PAC funds
  • Use narrative (without asking for their vote) as a part of your “pre- persuasion” campaign

We also conducted a “Mini-I2M Salon” where we shared over 30 resources, everything from the best financial management web sites to the best books and recreation equipment!



Mark Your Calendar - I2M 2012 Updates


Our fearless I2M leaders for 2012 are:


Jenny Boese

Vice President

External Relations and Member Advocacy

Wisconsin Hospital Association


Heather Doucet

Director, Government Relations International Foodservice Distributors Association


You can read more about them here:


We have two Innovate to Motivate events scheduled for 2012. The one- day “Best of Innovate to Motivate” seminar will be held Friday, February 17, 2012, in Washington, D.C. at the ASAE headquarters on 1575 I St., NW.


We are taking our most memorable, highest-rated presentations from the last eleven years to showcase the pioneering I2M training curriculum of professional development, PAC and grassroots skill building, and the science of influence. As an attendee, you’ll have the opportunity to engage in our Action Learning opportunities, which will facilitate the implementation of ideas gleaned at the “Best of Innovate to Motivate” seminar.


The Innovate to Motivate Institute will be held December 4 – 6, 2012, at the beautiful Charleston Place Hotel in the heart of Charleston’s historic district. South Carolina. charleston_place.jsp


The Institute is invitation - only. If you’re reading this newsletter, consider yourself invited. And, if you have a colleague you’d like to invite, simply forward the invitation when it is sent to you.


We are happy to announce that the The Soft Edge (http:// and The Original Congressional Handbook (http:// are joining us again as I2M 2012 sponsors!

Thanks for reading!


What's New
    -The Underdog Edge
Top Tips
    - Video: The Three Distinctions 
        Between Mediocre and Excellent
      Political Involvement Programs
    - ASAE Annual Convention -
        Evaluating Your Government
        Relations Program
News from Innovate to Motivate
    - Lessons Learned from Innovate to       Motivate Grassroots and PAC Town       Halls
    - Mark Your Calendar - I2M 2012