RUNNING Great Britain PLC is the same as guiding any other company to success – it’s just a matter of scale

RUNNING Great Britain PLC is the same as guiding any other company to success – it’s just a matter of scale

September is the perfect month to review progress and look at recruitment strategy to ensure the personnel you have in place can consolidate 2016’s success and build on it for a bumper 2017.
And as you consider who has earned a leadership role, who is ready to move from the backbenches with a promotion, who would benefit from extra training or coaching and who sadly has failed to get to grips with their portfolio, it is useful to learn a lesson from politicians and their reshuffles – making sure you adopt their successful strategies and avoid their very public mistakes.

It can be a minefield and while you may not have your very own spin doctor, the right recruitment consultant really can help to clarify the new key appointments you need to make.
It’s worth thinking about why we accept regular changes in political personnel at Westminster and beyond, yet remain loathe to apply the same shake-up in our own work environments.
What are we scared of? Stability is a worthy aim, but stagnation is the result of complacency rather than change. Evolution is essential – every business must adapt to new conditions and fresh challenges or fail. Clear objectives are key, but only if they are communicated and understood.

The aftermath of the recent EU referendum is a case in point – illustrating two very different approaches.

The Conservative Party understood immediately that the Brexit verdict meant a seismic shift at the top was inevitable and a new face was needed. Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation once he realised the Remain battle was lost and he was no longer the right man to lead his party and the country. He could not command the confidence of the electorate and a good proportion of the Tories in the House of Commons and the Home Counties. Like a company boss who has lost control, he recognised it was time for a change and Chancellor George Osborne knew his card was marked too. It’s an undeniable truth that cuts are sometimes necessary to build a better team.

As you review your workers, you need to ask the same tough questions and apply the same decisive answers.

Cameron’s departure sparked a chain reaction which could easily have descended into chaos with almost unknown quantity Andrea Leadsom threatening to capitalise on the conflict between fellow Brexiteers Boris Johnson and Michael Gove and seize control.

Now is the time to consider if you too have any loose cannons? Ambition is to be admired and encouraged, but not at the expense of a united team working for a common goal. Who could benefit from some extra training to get them back on track?

In the end, the game of musical chairs at the top was won decisively by then Home Secretary Theresa May, who was elected unopposed in a little over two weeks. Cool, calm and collected, she has inspired a new confidence.

As you review your staff, who stands out as really ready for a top job? Mrs May’s CV was impressive and she had a proven track record. Who in your organisation is similarly on track for promotion and how can you make sure you keep them?

Like the best managers, the new PM has surrounded herself with a hand-picked executive who she believes share her vision for the future and are clear about the part they must play in achieving it. New talent has been brought in to bolster more experienced personnel. Critically they have the same playbook – even maverick Boris Johnson is on side.

The best bosses know that success is dependant on and driven by those they hire. The right people are what make the difference.  It’s a different story for the Labour Party – and a salutary tale for any business looking to reshuffle without sound recruitment advice.  Like David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn was on the losing side of the Brexit debate, but declined to step aside in the aftermath.
Unlike Mrs May, he does not enjoy the confidence of many of his senior colleagues, yet a huge swathe of the rank and file party membership remain staunch supporters. They are furious with what they see as an attempted coup by many of the former shadow cabinet.

The party is increasingly divided and that is as disastrous for the Labour brand as it would be for any company. Change has brought chaos – instead of a focus on the key business of being an effective opposition, in fighting is the order of the day. Corbyn may yet prevail but it is likely to be a Pyrrhic victory. If contender Owen Smith takes control, he will be in charge of a decimated party and damaged brand for some time to come. The aim of appointing a leader capable of winning a General Election rings rather hollow. It has been a bad business plan.

It’s hard to see an easy solution for the Socialists – but what business can take from the debacle is straightforward. No amount of coaching will make Mr Corbyn the right man for his former shadow cabinet, following their mass resignation. He has singularly failed to appoint a replacement team with a winning strategy because he was forced to promote those who have not yet earned their place. And the CVs of all those who have sought to succeed him have had some serious holes in terms of qualifications and experience. The Labour Party certainly needs some sound recruitment advice.

So what are the key points to take from this turmoil at the top?

  • A change in personnel can be positive – provided there is a proper plan.
  • Fresh faces can change the future.
  • A shared vision is the only sure way of avoiding chaos.
  • Restructuring offers the potential for new beginnings and opportunities, but forget the in-fighting.
  • Confidence and consensus are critical – throughout the organisation – and that is achieved by clear communication.
  • Act quickly, but not in haste. Make the necessary changes decisively or risk causing division.
  • Learn from your competitors and whether they fail or succeed, aim to do better.
  • Change is inevitable, so embrace and evolve with it.

It’s all about people. Richard Branson has nailed it: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to. If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.

RUNNING Great Britain PLC is the same as guiding any other company to success – it’s just a matter of scale