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Choosing the right man to lead this country

When you choose if you want to work for a company (taking into account that it works with your personal situation at the moment and the role in itself is a challenge), you normally base your decision on two things:

1 – Do you like the leader of the organisation? Does he inspire you?

2 – Does he have a clear, exciting and challenging vision?

Question 1:

Nothing gives a better indication about a company culture than meeting the man/woman at the top – and crucially his/her team – what kind of people choose to work with them? Do they hire the A+ or the C? What’s the interaction? What are their core beliefs?

Question 2:

This is about the big picture, where do we go and where do we want to be? This is not about the meticulous plan; this is not about holding somebody accountable. This is about the planning principles and underlying values and the ability to create a reality.

In the context of the current election

Question 1:

7% of communication is spoken word, 70% through body language – so do we see the congruence between the words and the person? Does the person communicate with me or at me? Does the person treat me as an equal or as a prospect?

These questions explain why Clegg has gained so much popularity and why Brown’s outburst yesterday was so important, not because of what he said, but because it gave us an insight in the real man, and explained the incongruence that he has displayed in all the debates so far.

How do their key people compare? Do you prefer Cable, Darling or Osborne? How do they treat these key people? Are they partners or are their subordinates?

The linchpins, as Seth Godin, calls them, are incredibly important as they input and shape the initial vision and deliver and shape the implementation which in turn influences the vision.

Question 2:

For me, so far, no party leader has given a clear, exciting and challenging vision of the future. It’s all about the past, it’s all about the short term and it’s all about including everything and everybody.

I want to know: What’s their long term vision for Britain? What’s their long term vision of Britain’s engagement in a globalized world?  What’s their elevator pitch? And it’s not allowed to contain the words “fairer” & “safer” – these are the political equivalents of “customer centric” & “innovative”. And “change” on its own, isn’t precise enough either.

Excite me – give me something to aspire to and to be proud of, something I want to be part of. I don’t need to know all the detail as I would be surprised if you’d knew.

Reassure me – what are your core values that you will stand for no matter what happens? What would get you to change those?

And now – once we know this, let’s be a little more precise and tell me what does this mean for, e.g., Trident, what does this mean for education, what does this mean for the economy, what does this mean for the political system? Just to ensure that your system of values and vision are consistent and flexible enough.

In people we trust

Actions speak louder than words, but so far we can only look at Gordon Brown’s actions as neither Clegg nor Cameron have run a government yet. The manifesto doesn’t tell us much either, it’s a sales brochure that – rightly so– gets abandoned very quickly when realpolitik hits home. So, all we have is to trust ourselves in using our human capacities to decide who’ll be best to create a new, exciting and challenging future for Britain based on the two questions above.

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