Home Back Issues October 2008 Tactics: The operative

Tactics: The operative

| Print |  Email
Archives - October 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008

GROVE INSIGHT
www.groveinsight.com
FOUNDED: 1996, Portland
EMPLOYEES: 4
DIVISIONS: Green Insight, reports on trends in the sustainability market

LisaGrove
LISA GROVE, founder of Grove Insights.

It was in Washington, D.C., in the mid-1980s where Lisa Grove — today a political strategist and pollster but back then a fresh, idealistic Lewis & Clark graduate — learned a key commandment of the political game, and one that would later shape the success of her Portland-based political consulting firm. “It’s not issues; it’s politics,” she remembers being told after asking fellow pollsters what issues they were working on. “I realized that the issues are a vehicle to help get people elected. I was scoffing at that and then, of course, became part of it.”

Grove worked with two of the nation’s largest polling firms before returning to Oregon to found Grove Insights in 1996. In ensuing years, Grove says the company has racked up the highest win/loss ratio in the nation for initiatives it’s worked on: 58/8. Over the past 15 years the firm has also worked with probably every major Democratic name in the Pacific Northwest: Kulongoski, Gregoire, Wu, Hooley, DeFazio, Blumenauer, Wyden — the list stretches from the national level all the way down to Portland politics.  And as the list has grown, Grove has become what some Salem insiders say is one of the most powerful non-elected people in Oregon politics.

For many political strategists, the difference between personal politics and business is irrelevant. But for Grove, her personal ideals have inexorably shaped the work she does, and conversely shaped the success and limitations of her business. Travel back to the 1960s in Beaverton,  and you’ll find a young girl walking the streets with her education-activist mother knocking on doors and advocating for school bond measures. Travel forward in time and you find a consultancy firm that works exclusively with left-of-center candidates and issues. Which, obviously, eliminates half of its potential business.

It sounds antithetical to basic business practices, but it’s been a smart move. While Grove says it’s hard not think about the lost work, limiting the business scope has allowed Grove and her team to create what she sees as a boutique firm — a company that has a hands-on, often personal relationship with candidates. Other factors have helped push her firm forward: Following Sept. 11 and the last two presidential elections, politicians began seeing a disconnect between the major Washington, D.C.-based polling firms and what people were actually thinking in the rest of the country. Grove, with her inside-the-Beltway street cred but West Coast location, has been in a prime spot to capitalize.

No matter what the politics or the location, at the end of the day, Grove Insight has one major metric that defines its success: Election Day. What happens on that day determines everything else.

“It’s always about winning. People pay attention to the win/loss,” Grove says. “I think our success has had everything to do with winning.”

ABRAHAM HYATT


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


 

 

More Articles

Q & A with Chuck Eggert

News
Thursday, March 06, 2014
03.06.14 thumb pacfoodsBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

The founder of Pacific Foods talks about why his company has flown under the radar in Oregon, how saving a family-run chicken hatchery has helped his bottom line and why he thinks organic food is anything but elitist.


Read more...

Video: Kickstarting Oregon business

News
Thursday, March 27, 2014
02.04.14 Thumbnail VideoBY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR

Watch this OB Original Video about three Oregon companies and how crowd-funding "kickstarted" their business ideas.


Read more...

The more they change, the more they stay the same

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
100-best-collageBY BRANDON SAWYER

The 100 Best Companies get more creative with perks and more generous with benefits; employees seek empowering relations with management and coworkers.


Read more...

Branching out

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
DSC04185BY LINDA BAKER

A blueberry bush is a blueberry bush — except when it’s a blueberry tree.


Read more...

Workplace benefits

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Health care and vacations rule. That’s the consensus from our reader poll on workplace benefits that help retain and recruit employees.


Read more...

Closing the gap: Community colleges and workforce training

News
Thursday, March 27, 2014
03.27.14 thumb collegeBY MARY SPILDE | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Community college career, technical and workforce programs present an opportunity to bring business and education together as never before.


Read more...

How to handle the unexpected

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 28, 2014
03.28.14 thumb disasterBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

The next mysterious (or disastrous) event could be one that you or your team might suddenly need to respond to, probably under intense scrutiny.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS