“Blood, Toil, Tears And Sweat”Christy Paavola
Recently at Definers, we opened our London affiliate, the U.K. Policy Group, which reminded me of one of my favorite historical figures Winston Churchill and this quote from him:
“I would say to the House … ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat’…”
Churchill said these humbling words in May 1940, less than a year after Great Britain had declared war on Nazi Germany. Winston Churchill’s tenacious attitude and inspiring rhetoric helped the British people stay strong in the dark days of WWII. While today we are thankfully not in the midst of WWII, the same doggedness which made Churchill a force to be reckoned with during the war can be a lesson to us all as we carry out our personal and professional lives.
At Definers, one of the many things we pride ourselves on is our persistence – our “blood, toil, tears and sweat” – on every project we work on for our clients. When doing opposition research on an organization or person, it is not enough to simply summarize the first hits you find in Google; real research requires a deep dive on the subject to get the complete story.
To put together a thorough opposition report on a subject it takes hours of painstaking work. While this work is not always glamorous or exciting, it can yield some significant results. In one case at Definers, we found a link between a company a person we were doing opposition research on previously worked for and some questionable people. This piece of information was one line, in one press release, buried in thousands of records in Nexis but became one of the most important hits in our research report. In another example, we watched hours of YouTube videos of an individual and identified a short segment in one video that was a significant vulnerability for that person. If we had not taken the time to thoroughly comb through all of the resources available to us we would have missed these political hits.
Another important aspect of opposition research is looking at all angles of an issue. Some of the most significant hits we have been able to identify have come from connecting the dots and building the narrative. The target’s name may very well not be mentioned in the article or document that we are previewing but when we take the time to understand all the issues surrounding the subject we are able to glean important information about the person or company we are researching. Just because a person or company was not on the front page of The New York Times does not mean they were not involved or had no knowledge of the issue.
Our research procedures at Definers also reminds me of another similar paraphrased Churchill quote, “Never, never, never give up.” This is the attitude we employ at Definers every day and is what sets us apart from the competition.