How not to mess up at work – Lessons from the General Election

Don’t let people around you fluff your ego

The UK Prime Minister finished the June 2017 General Election without the majority she expected and lost 12 seats in all. MP’s and Ministers in her party who were previously thought to be secure lost their seats to Labour candidates. A couple of days after the Election joint chiefs of staff succumbed to the blame for strategic and policy failings and lost their jobs. The reason for their dismissal is cited as a refusal to listen to advice, even from experienced colleagues. In your place of work, there may be members of staff you trust, but don’t restrict yourself to their thoughts about new policies or products, as eventually you won’t be able to distinguish if they are telling you the truth or what you want to hear.

Get out from behind your desk and meet people face to face

Build your network by meeting with people face to face (see point above – don’t surround yourself with “yes people”). Meeting clients and colleagues face to face is important for building relationships and better understanding needs. Email and text messages are important for quick connections but you can’t get meaningful results from this type of communication all the time. Even Skype is a better alternative than email. According to some sources, an extra 66 per cent of 18 – 24 year olds were energised to register and vote in this election, compared to 43 per cent in the last General Election. It’s thought that the opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn’s efforts to connect with young people seriously contributed to this. The lesson we can learn? Get out there and meet key clients, build relationships and make sure you understand their needs.

Know your priorities and prioritise 

Here’s a scenario: You have end of year targets that you must meet. You know a big client will deliver, but only if you put the work in. You then decide to focus your attention elsewhere and miss your deadline. Who is at fault? This is a simplistic but pretty accurate way of describing what happened with the Prime Minister’s decision to call a General Election. Brexit will be Theresa May’s legacy – her party have to decide if she should have taken her eye off the ball to call a General Election and see how Brexit negotiations begin before they decide she is the right person to lead the party.

Understand your audience 

Do you know what your customers really want? Market research is an essential part of the process where a new product is launched. Take feedback from customers and incorporate their ideas into your own. The Conservatives launched a policy on social care that alienated a large part of their core group and then did a U-turn and retracted the policy, giving the impression they hadn’t thought much about their core audience at all.

Do your own research 

People are prone to getting excited about new ideas and jumping to assumptions as a result. Our advice would be to not get caught up in the hype. Take time to understand the impact of your ideas across the business in different departments. Review the proposal, do your research, get feedback from relevant people outside of your department and then act on that feedback accordingly. Also, know what you’re talking about when sharing those ideas; Labour MP Dianne Abbot struggled with her figures when asked about the results of a 2016 inquiry into London’s preparedness for a terror attack, proving that if you don’t know the answer, admit it and move on.

Stay away from the jargon

You can have great slogans which will help to buy in support from your colleagues but make sure you can prove what you say or they become nothing more than jargon.

Just say no

If this election has taught us anything, it’s that if someone comes to you with an idea that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


Source: Sources: City AM, General Election 2017: How big was the youth vote, and what impact did it have?; The Independent, Diane Abbott struggles with questions on recent London terror report in latest bungled interview