California Rules…

“The California marketplace is rule heavy,” a regulatory commission member recently acknowledged in a conversation.

A marketplace that is nuanced and demanding

“What is acceptable in Texas is not acceptable in California,” a department director said.

A nation-state that requires specialized knowledge and relationships

“Our regulations can be a profitable tool,” explained a panel president, “your products become the best, the safest in the world.”

Doing business here is a competitive advantage

California leads the planet in regulations governing the environment, your means of commerce and products. A single word like “sustainability” becomes a living, breathing entity in your daily costs of doing business.

A regulatory navigator is essential. “Show us maze brightness,” a CEO – a retired admiral from the CIA – once described my role.

Which is to listen to your business goals. To understand. To harvest the facts and the words to tell your compelling story so that regulatory decision-makers understand and act accordingly.

Working together, we may define a simple issue resolved in weeks. Rare, as you know, but it happens. Complex rules make for complex issues – resolution usually consumes months.

Gathering a working group of strong allies can make a difference. Targeted public affairs can sometimes be necessary, such as blogging, briefing trade media and specialized journalists.

There are times when your business regulatory issue becomes a process, part of a permanent cycle of periodic revisions. Needless?

Probably. Manageable? Absolutely. Know the regulators and their interests. Stay in touch on topics of mutual concern.

Regulatory advocacy is a business of no surprises for your business. In addition to this daily work, your navigator identifies trends early and knows what key regulators are informally discussing.

As the admiral said, “Keep us informed about the event horizon.”

Regulatory advocacy is unique, and demands real passion for detail, research, knowing first, precise definitions and effective, efficient actions.


The master carpenter walked deliberately up and down the wooden staircase, hunting for the squeak. He found a loose board, pulled the hammer out of his toolbelt along with a single nail. Locating the squeak precisely with his fingertips, he centered the nail and sunk it with one strike.

“Great!” said the business proprietor, “One nail. How did you do that?”

The carpenter smiled as he straightened up, explaining, “You have to know where to hammer.”

Know where to hammer. Let’s talk.

But first, a few tips on success in a regulatory venue, condensed from private chats with senior officials:

  • The California marketplace is about new realities. Change is not easy. Engage and get it done. “Move to the new realities.”
  • This is an opportunity for the practitioner to figure out solutions of value to him/her and the regulator.
  • Get your project done fast. “Do not prolong the pain.”
  • This is not about you and your product, it is about issues and outcomes.

Let’s talk,


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Silent Partner Strategies  /  916.501.8104