U Turns

Published on 5 May 2015 at 10:53 am #communicationskills #creativestrategicthinking #goodleadership #impactfactory #leadershipdevelopment #leadershipskills #negotiationskills

Russell Brand must have finally got it about voting as he has now executed a U Turn and is urging his followers to vote Labour.

I'm willing to do a U Turn as well, and applaud his common sense. Whether the majority of his followers are actually registered to vote is another matter; at least he is urging people to exercise their right to vote.

U Turns are funny things, aren't they? Politicians and other leaders are often mocked or castigated in the press for making U Turns and personally, I find the term unhelpful.

We all, every single human being on the earth, have changed our minds about something at some point. It could be as simple as "I think I'll sleep in an extra hour. Hmm, no I'll get up now." Or it could be as complex as "Will you marry me?" "Actually, the engagement is off."

Why I dislike the term U Turn as it is used in the media and by many politicians finger pointing when someone from the other side changes their mind, is that it implies it's only being done for expediency's sake - there has to be something behind it. It also implies that once you've made your mind up, that's it, it's fixed in concrete.

We probably all know Margaret Thatcher's famous, "The lady's not for turning," or Tony Blair's "I can only go one way, I've not got a reverse gear."

Why the bloody hell not?

Why shouldn't careful consideration of information, new facts, differing points of view, all contribute to a different outcome, which could in the end involve turning or reversing?

Which is why it makes me cross when politicians use absolutes and make declarations that they will never do X, will never work with Y; when they issue dire warnings and forecasts of disaster.

I'd far rather see these party leaders speak like responsible adults rather than playground bullies who threaten and take defiant stances.

This would also mean that if no party wins an overall majority on Thursday then deals are going to have to be done, negotiations are going to have to take place and all the rigid rhetoric could very well become rather meaningless as the leaders jostle for supremacy. There will have to be U Turns, reverses and back-pedalling.

How much better in these last (excruciating) weeks if the candidates and party leaders had been honest and told us that "If we don't win outright, then this is what a government led by me could look like." And then be clear with the electorate who they would work with to form a government and what that would entail; what they might have to compromise on, where the give and take could be.

Oink oink….and pigs will fly.

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By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory