The one where I want some action

My first job when I left University was media sales. Selling recruitment advertising to recruitment consultants (and if you want to learn to negotiate, try selling to people who spend their whole day trying to sell!). During the training I received for my role the sales trainer was talking about the fear that some people experience before attending a potential client meeting. One of the ideas he gave us for conquering this fear was to consider the worst possible outcome of the situation and face that. The idea being once you have confronted the worst possible outcome then anything else was just a walk in the park.

Fast forward several years I have been in two situations within organisations where direction was unclear. Where it was obvious to most if not all within the organisation that a new plan was being formulated and that in the meantime we should just keep on doing the laundry. It’s an interesting phase to experience where everything kind of flips into neutral. Nothing really happens. I think the most succinct way to describe it would be organisational inertia. Fortunately, it never lasted long and once a new vision had been presented, confronted and digested the organisations slipped into first gear and set off in a new direction.

Individual reactions to this inertia was interesting. Some took it as an opportunity to try and land grab within the organisation, some tried to ‘read the tea leaves’ and start formulate their strategies given different scenarios, some used the time to improve their golf handicap but the group that are most interesting considering our current circumstances were the final major group – the group that got scared. They interpreted this pause in the journey as the worst thing ever and reacted by spreading negativity, polishing their CVs and generally acting as drains (in the pipes and drains analogy)

I would not consider myself a particularly political person (whether that be with capital or lowercase P) but have found myself getting increasingly frustrated in the past weeks (and with hindsight months) with the way that politics is seemingly getting in the way of government. This was brought into sharp relief by a blog written by Gavyn Davies in the FT (thoughtfully retweeted by @Flipchartrick) about the potential routes forward for the Euro.

As Rick said in his retweet “Pray for scenario 3. The others will be nasty!” and if you’ve followed the link you’d have to agree. Having now reread the blog several times and watched the news over recent days I can’t help but think that actually it’s the inertia that is causing the most damage at the moment.

If you confront the worst possible scenario in the blog (Euro ended, legal disputes everywhere) this would have a significant impact on the global economy but actually I have reached the point that I am wishing that whatever can happen would happen. You can’t switch on the TV, read a blog or a newspaper or sit in a coffee shop without people talking about the uncertainty and doomsdaying the outcome.

I don’t know anything near enough to say how bad the worst could be but I can’t help thinking that the current inertia and the uncertainty it is generating is leading to a fear that will make dealing with the inevitable much much harder. So what is the endgame and how do we get there quicker?

In the meantime can the politicians get on with being leaders (apparently) stop worrying about opinion polls and their legacy and realise that their posturing is causing more damage than they can possibly realise.

I realise I am being very naive in writing this but it’s been a bad day and this stuff was bouncing around my head and getting it out has made me feel better. Can I ask (nicely) that if you choose to comment on this blog you make your comments either supportive or educational? I don’t claim to fully understand the situation and would like to know more but am in no mood for pot shots – thank you!




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5 responses to “The one where I want some action

  1. Got to agree. Labour, in particular, are criticising but know full well they have no credible alternative. If there are differences of opinion then these should be put forward as suggestions not criticisms or personal jibes. Some of the unions are no better. There is absolutely no point quoting statistics about people out of work etc as if this is the givernment’s fault. It isn’t. We are all partly responsible for the current global crisis.
    We need to start more positively talking up the future. We need to acknowledge, together, that times are going to be tough, very tough. We need to stop trying to score cheap political points or trying to find one person or party to blame.
    We need vision, motivation and hope. Let’s start talking up a positive, bright future.

  2. Lucy M

    Thanks Rob, I too consider myself extremely “uneducated” in this area (probably doesn’t help – or does it? – that I choose not to read newspapers or watch any current affairs TV) but I can’t help but see a really interesting and important issue here – this feeling of inertia. Having been there myself within organisations, I can certainly see a lot of this behaviour breeding in the “vacuum” of apparent progress. I too would love to see an opinion from someone who knows more about politics than I do (wouldn’t be hard!) but will also have a dig around for research in the area within organisations…..

  3. Really interesting post. I watched BBC Question Time last night. Normally it is quite an interesting round robin of view but last night it was mainly Labour’s bright young hope getting tricksy with quoting figures, Conservative’s once bright hope brazenly claiming it was all a legacy from the previous government and a Union leader saying that the world was unfair to their members. The two non politicians were somewhat adrift and it just made me feel depressed. It was all about scoring points rather than solving problems and in the end I just switched off. Your blog has made me feel like I’m not alone and invigorated my day, thanks!

  4. Well said Rob. I too am in the same position; I avoid newspapers and current affairs programs because they are all spun out to make political statements from one perspective or another. My biggest issues is that there does seem to be a need at the moment for the opposition parties to roll out the same tired and poorly educated naysayers whose only objective is to have a pop at a policy, a decision (or lack of one) or an idea they didn’t have in the first place.

    What we have to recognise is that the majority of the problems we are facing at this time is not the fault of one party or another, as Tony says above we are all partially to blame. Would it not be in everyone’s best interest to get behind the efforts being made to get the country back on its feet rather than criticise and disrupt at every opportunity?

    Doesn’t the fear of criticism or the fear of failure, whether in government or the workplace engender the inertia you refer to? It is certainly my experience that if you give people a direction and a chance to succeed they will do so or at least make a very good effort and in doing so inspire others to succeed where they cant

  5. Pingback: The one with another acronym | Masters or Bust

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