Before the group can develop a focus or a set of goals, it is important to state the assumptions the group might share.

First, when dealing with institutions (government agencies, etc ), it is helpful to keep in mind the Peter Principle: Large organizations develop bureaucratic hierarchies or ''pyramids of power '' People are often promoted to positions of power beyond their level of competence. In other words, just because they have impressive-sounding titles, don't assume they know what they are talking about! (The Peter Principle, by Lawrence J . Peter, W . Morrow Publishers, 1969)

Second, our society is organized into institutions which were initially set up to achieve some special social goals. It is always a smart strategy to accept at face value the stated goal of each institution as a legitimate ideal you can embrace, if that goal is consistent with the social change your group wants to achieve. The key to your success in changing the real policies and practices of that institution depends on how effectively you can demonstrate the institution's failure to meet its own stated goal, thereby destroying its legitimacy. You then can demonstrate how your group can do the job more effectively and, hopefully, at a lower cost.

Next Ingredient-->Legitimacy