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Resource Reckoning - Five Strategic Rules

I've been asked by the publisher to offer a preview of my new book (available on Amazon) entitled "Resource Reckoning - a Strategist's Guide from A to Z". It arrives at the native legal win #250 mark, and elaborates upon my theme that the map of Canada is being redrawn by natives as resource projects continue to 'drop the ball' in addressing the rise of native empowerment. Here is a brief summary of five strategic rules that should have been followed. 

Canada is a deeply conservative place when it comes to the resources sector. It's in our DNA not to rock the boat as to how we go about accessing and exporting resources. Every profession has 'siloed' itself away from changing events and attitudes, lest it be seen to be out of step. As a strategist, it's rule #1 that all the major mistakes are made beforehand right in the boardroom, where deference to authority demands that the project simply has to be right because 'Hey, we're blue chip'! Corporate arrogance is anathema to the proper development of strategy because it makes everyone else with a valid point of view appear to be interlopers. The latter having the unwelcome task of warning of potential trouble ahead to the Yes-Men. 

When a proponent is finally outed a rule-of-law bully, then it typically calls for reinforcements. 

As a strategist, it?s rule #2 that when the public relations smoke machine cranks up, meaning project messaging becomes more-and-louder, that in itself functions as a project derailer. The public is highly-attuned to corporate spin looking to force-fit a positive project image, in effect a new brand purchased off the shelf and delivered ad nauseam via costly advertising blitzes. 

Again as a strategist, it's rule #3 that projects that surround themselves with Yes-Men and acolytes (be they like-minded Think Tanks, academics who will sing for supper, and rule-of-law legal drum-bangers) this combination all but guarantees project failure; on account of their built-in emphasis on mutual deference which is intended to muscle independent strategic thinking out. Where media coverage is nonchallenging and the linkages to other power centers are discernable; there's a good chance that there's an iceberg dead ahead. Because at this point, the messaging is so corporate-filtered that it simply won't pass the public's smell test.

Strategic rule #4 postulates that projects that are served by professional silos are, by definition, pushing an urban elite narrative. These experts typically know little about the boondocks that the project is about to land in; and what they do know is so steeped in political correctness and other analytical straight-jackets (corporate-speak) that it operates to block vital on-the-ground information from making it into the decision making nexus. More to the point, the trouble with the urban elite narrative is that it's viewed as a phony value system, and has zero-traction with the locals impacted by the project.

Strategic rule #5 portends the most serious consequences for unwitting proponents. If you're letting lawyers pretend to be strategists, realize that once the project starts to spin around in the regulatory blender or in court, you can't make nice afterwards. It's downright unnerving how politically unaware litigators have proven to be on major projects. They can be oblivious to the political landscape and the social consequences; so imbued are they in the magic arts and the power of litigation. That's the key to this rule; if your project is coming across like 'we know best' or as a 'legal power trip', then it's already dead-on arrival. Because there's no chance of project recovery in the current media and social license environment. Moreover, corporate litigation at the appellate level to revive projects is running at a 90% failure rate at the hands of natives and eco-activists. Reliance on litigation is a bad strategy. 

These five strategic rules are intended to snap complacent boardroom thinking out of its comfort zone. Corporate Canada has been largely sleepwalking on the road to resources. 

This new book contains twenty-six chapters in 300 pages of similar commentary (Access, Social License, Veto, Gatekeepers, Kapyong, Aboriginal Title) along with cutting-edge artwork. 

A short and snappy video preview is also available by going to the website:

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