The events of last week draw me back to the management lessons we can learn.
It’s not about the politics. I think there is a consensus, on all sides; given better advice and a willingness to follow it, the Tories could have done better.
It is also true; if some of the Labour politicians who badmouthed their leader had been able to define the importance of loyalty-over-self, they, too, might have been in a better position.
Let’s turn our attention to the more fruitful activity of what there is to learn.
With all the humility I’m able to muster and please don’t write to me and say; ‘not enough’, I must refer to a reader (thank you) who reminded me of something I wrote last year.
On the 10th November I wrote (in terms); ‘… the Tories won’t win the next election… because by the time it comes we will all be fed up with austerity...’
Ok, the Tories have more seats and they have sort of won… but they haven’t really. The same-sex-relationship-deniers of Northern Ireland have won.
I made my forecast with no understanding of psephology or insights into focus groups; just based on a bit of good-old common sense.
The Duchess told me; during the war the population suffered deprivation, shortages and a miserable life of unexpected death and weapons of mass destruction. They did it at the behest of a man they trusted, the understanding it wouldn’t last forever and even at the darkest hour they understood the purpose. Life under the air-raid shelter was better than life under the Nazis.
It would be wrong to draw a parallel between life now and life then. But, we can draw some conclusions. Leaders with a vision make a difference.
Seven years of austerity, no end in sight; people are saying enough is enough.
The narrative was there but the Tories made a mess of it. They blamed Labour for an international banking crisis and tried to imply, building schools and hospitals wrecked the world economy.
They could have said;
‘The banking crisis has wrecked economies, including ours and we have to tighten our belts to get the nation back on track. It’s going to be a long hard slog but we owe it to our kids to make our economy strong again’.
Instead we have blundered-on with zero-hours contracts, flat-line pay, schools falling apart, prisons overflowing, the social care system on its knees, police numbers shrinking and the NHS in a worse mess.
At a time when money is cheaper than it has ever been, somehow, balancing the books became the only show in town.
The Tories offered no vision. Corbyn did. He offered hope, he engaged with people and offered the possibility that there is another way. He may be right, he may be wrong.
It’s the mechanics of motivation that interest me.
I was right on the 10th November and I am right now; people are sick to the back-teeth of austerity, politicians, Brexit, bureaucrats and everything else that gives them only the prospect of more years of what we have now. A grim vision.
What vision do we bring to work for the future of the NHS? Is it a poor service for poor people?
What personal vision do you have for your department, ward, section, practice or Trust?
- Scotter Ward; to be the best ward in the NHS… see what they are doing.
- James Paget galvanising a whole Trust… have a look.
The catastrophic STPs should have positioned as; hard working NHS people struggling to circle-the-wagons, make taxpayers money go further, produce a smaller, more agile, innovative NHS. ‘Come and help us’. NHS? We may have to take the Neighbourhood out but we won’t take out the ‘Now’.
Instead they’re mired in rows over cuts and closures. Where’s the vision? STPs are in a Maymite-mess of their own making.
As a manger or leader, shouldn’t we be saying;
‘This is the toughest time I have seen in the NHS. It’s up to you to change the politics but here, we can work together to make the best of what we’ve got, to create services that will be good enough for our families…’
If the best you can offer is more regulation, inspection, guidance bullying and tough talk… you just don’t understand the vision thing