This has probably been one of the most fascinating elections in living memory. Nothing, but nothing happened the way it was thought it would and the landscape is now not dissimilar to a world war one battle field, parched, rising smoke and littered with bodies!
I am not going to repeat the list of casualties and the events that people know well. I would like to take a moment to make some ‘leadership’ points that struck me. Nick Clegg is probably the man I feel most sorry for. I think he made an excellent Deputy Prime Minister and in years to come his Party will lament on their stupidity in not supporting him better than they did. Having said that, as much as he was good a Deputy Prime Minister, he was not effective as the Leader of his Party and he did make some mistakes. He is one of those people that make an excellent Number 2 and not the Leader at the top.
However, he made a very interesting and perceptive comment in his resignation speech. He said; “Liberalism in UK and Europe is not faring well in a world of fear”. This is a very true statement, and the Party needs to really consider this carefully. The truth is, in a world where there are threats like ISIS, Al Qaida and other forms of terrorism, people do not trust the Liberals to make the right choices. They are simply not seen as strong enough to stand up to these forces.
So what about Labour? Ed Miliband is not a Leader and should never have been elected in the first place to represent his Party. He has the amazing ability to talk a good talk and made some clever statements at times, but he is like a street fighter and not a professional boxer. He can fight a good fight in the back streets but struggles with the rules of the game when in the ring. A statement was made at the beginning of the campaigning that found seed in many people’s minds. The statement was something like, “If he can stab his own brother in the back…”. He lost Scotland after that. Scotland didn’t want to vote for David Cameron but they certainly did not want Ed Miliband.
He also made some major gaff’s that showed his immaturity as a leader. His commandments in stone were cheap, tacky and smacked of publicity seeking and of no real substance. His comments about being called to Downing Street to discuss Syria and standing up to Cameron and Obama, was embarrassing to say the least. However, the biggest issue was ironically at its clearest in his resignation speech which came over as though he was still campaigning and not imparting some wisdom to his Party of where they need to focus now. Having reversed Labour from the re-invention of Labour under Tony Blair, which he did with such pride, he still does not recognise that this was the wrong thing to do. The striking difference in the two resignation speeches from Labour and Liberals showed how little Ed Miliband understood the real issues and what people are thinking. He is totally out of touch and set Labour back as badly as Michael Foot did years ago.
I am not a big lover of statues but I do understand their significance. Over centuries there are people that have done significant things, whether it is Ghandi, Mandela, Churchill, Lincoln, Hitler, Stalin, Mao or others. Some of them did great things of good and others not. The point is that they did exist and did make major contributions to the world. In every case there were some people that hated them and some that loved them.
This week students at a university in South Africa got their way and had the status of Cecil John Rhodes removed. For them this is some sort of moral victory. In truth it is an example of their immaturity. You don’t create the future by trying to remove the past. The past is just that….it is the past. Cecil John Rhodes made a major contribution to Africa. He may have been part of building an Africa that was racist, but he was still a building block in the creation of modern Africa.
A mature approach from students would be to have demanded that a statue of Mandela or even Rhamaposa was erected next to Cecil John Rhodes to show the way Africa has developed and moved forward DESPITE and because of these people.
The defacing of the statues was, at best childish, but sadly ranks them alongside ISiS in the destroying of the great Buddha’s in the Middle East. These students are so focused on overcoming their past, they are in danger of replicating their past. They are so focused on “demanding retribution” for the way white people treated black people, that they are starting to become the white people they hate.
This week Mugabe said that he did not want to see a white face. An outstandingly stupid comment to make, but not surprising. Mugabe hated racism. Yet he is now the most racist person in the world. He has become everything that he hated all those years ago. Mr Mugabe, if you hate whites, then why do you like to wear western suits, nice white shirts, beautiful ties? Why do you like cricket and embrace the trappings of colonial power with their buildings and systems? You hated white people for the same reason white people hated black people all those years ago. You are still frightened of them and it is time to face your fear and get over it!
We should all be careful of what we hate, because it can consume us and turn us into what we hate. It is better to regret the past, learn from it and build a future, than to hate the past and accidentally end rebuilding the past all over again with different labels.
This is obviously not an setting that Cameron is good in and he started out very hesitantly. When he did get into his stride, Burley was not giving him time to answer the questions fully. Miliband did well in many ways, and he employed a useful strategy of taking the sting out of questions by simply agreeing that Labour had got it wrong in the past. He did a good job of coming over as personal (talking about the issue with his brother) and he tried to come over strong and certainly will have surprised some people.
In terms of Content, Cameron had a lot more content and answered questions well. Miliband lacked content as he always does.
In terms of Personality, Cameron was still the more mature of the two. Disciplined and calculating in his presentation and answers he was the Cameron we all know (love him or hate him) and consistent. I lost count how many times Miliband said “the point is….” He was too intent on making his point and not answering the question. He came over as the kid who sits in the class with his hand in the air saying “Me, me….please Sir me”.
In terms of Leadership, Cameron was more of the Statesman and portrayed a steady hand with a sense of strength, that was just below the surface and behind that smile. He was more disciplined. People like consistent, disciplined and strong enough. Miliband lacked the Statesman and leadership style is still an unknown with him. When tackled on being strong enough, his example of saying “No” to President Obama about Syria was laughable. Having said that, die hard Labour supporters will have loved him and he gave them something to feel good about. The undecided voters will not have been won over by Miliband in terms of leadership ability and will still lean to Cameron as the better leader.
Think of it this way, who would you want leading the country against ISIS? Who would you want negotiating against a Republican President? Miliband still has not shown he has a leadership style worthy of the job of Prime Minister
Overall, Cameron came over as a steady hand and Statesman, Miliband came over as the ‘wannabe’ Alex Salmond! The winner was most definitely Jeremy Paxman
The death of a young man on the streets of Ferguson is certainly tragic and sad.
However, the outbreak of violence, looting and criminal behaviour does not do credit or should be a fitting memorial to a young man despite his background or life. Worse than that, the protest is for totally the wrong reasons.
Everyone seems to be missing the point.
First of all, Michael Brown was hardly an example of common sense a law abiding citizen. At the same time the officer was hardly showing common sense or following sensible protocol when confronting Michael Brown. First of all a police officer allowing ANYBODY to approach them while they are in a vulnerable position of being sat in their vehicle, is not sensible and probably taught in Police School to avoid. Having got themselves trapped in the police vehicle and then attacked, was pure stupidity and showed the naivety and lack of experience of the police officer.
To return to the scene ALONE after the first altercation, was once again pure stupidity. The Officer is alone, there are two suspects, there are plenty of witnesses watching….. everything about it was screaming, don’t deal with this on your own. Call for back up. Make sure back up is on the way. Don’t walk into this on your own!
But the inexperienced officer with what is now a bruised ego decides to deal with it himself. Now he steps out the car and confronts the youth and we all know what happens next. Very sad indeed. Did the officer break the law? No. Unfortunately being naïve, stupid and not following your training or protocol is not illegal. So there is no crime committed by the Police Officer.
So what do we have? Michael Brown acting inappropriately at least, behaving stupidly and showing a complete lack of common sense. A Police Officer acting inappropriately, behaving irrationally and showing a lack of common sense. You can be as upset as you want that the Officer shot the young man, but he DID NOT BREAK THE LAW. In fact if anyone broke the law in the altercation, Michael Brown was in the wrong for attempting to assault a Police Officer. And it is absolutely true that the young man should not have died for what, at that stage was a misdemeanour.
So what is the real issue here?
The real issue is the lack of trust the Public has for the Police Service. This is an issue across the country. The Police are seen as enforcers of the law and not keepers of the peace. It is true that the Police have the full force of the law behind them and that is a lot of power to have in their hands. However, they are seen as wielding their power like a ‘right’ rather than a back-up when needed.
A Police Officer should be hanging on to their common sense long after the members of the public have lost theirs. But the public don’t see that happening. They see the Police wielding their power, and it is often seen as doing it to inflate their own ego and not because they are doing the job required of them.
I am not sure where the fault lies here, but I will guess it is not in one area alone. I suspect the training given to Officers needs a complete rethink. I suspect the way officers are performance managed and even disciplined needs a rethink. I do know one thing for certain…..Leadership is at fault. The culture and attitude of the Police comes from the top, and the communication and perceptions of the community comes from lack of clear Leadership.
Two young men have faced tragedy. One lost his life literally and the other lost his figuratively. He now has to live his life knowing he needlessly killed a human being because of his arrogance, stupidity and lack of common sense. He will always be known as the reckless person incapable of showing sound judgement. I believe he has resigned, and I bet he was encouraged to do so because no Police Force wants that sort of reckless person on their force.
When will society wake up and realise that these incidents are an outcome of a bigger issue?
To the protesters I say this: Protest not against the single foolish Police Officer or the single incident. Rather protest against the culture of the Police Force and Leadership that has allowed it (even nurtured it) and certainly condones it. You are wasting an opportunity to make a real statement and instead showing yourselves in a bad light when resorting to violence.
Real change happens when the right conversation is held in public. Start that movement NOW. Start talking NOW. Force discussion NOW. Create a following of people behind a change and reform in the Police Service across the nation, NOW. Become an example to the world of how a good Police Service should be run and led.
To Protect and to Serve
Many years ago I read this and marveled at how simple it was but so powerfully true in its simplicity:
Feed a man and he will eat a meal. Teach him how to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life.
Each human being has needs and what makes us unique is that our needs are OURS. We learn differently, we enjoy different things, we operate differently, we find different things funny, we love different things and we certainly live differently. No right way and no wrong way.
Yet I see schools giving prizes to everyone indiscriminately and recently heard about “no rankings” so that some do not feel inferior to others.
I recently read this article:
“An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.”
The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class”. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A…. (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more readily understood by all).
After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.
The second test average was a D! No one was happy.
When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.
As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.
To their great surprise, EVERYONE FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.
People need a reason to make an effort. People want to know how they are doing. People want to be rewarded. Mastering these three can create internal motivation. Failing to Master them or allowing others to care about them for you, will promote de-motivation.
Part of Mastering anything is getting it wrong before getting it right. In fact, getting it wrong a number of times before getting it right. Mastering is working at something to perfect it and then working at it to refine it.
Any attempt to stop this process or short-circuit it, will deprive the person of the necessary steps to mastering……and most importantly deprive them of realizing this and learning the process of mastering anything.
Self-discipline is the basis by which personal success is built.
The article went on to become slightly political but there is still a lot of truth in what was said.
- You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
- What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
- The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
- You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
- When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.
Taking away the obvious political element, there is a lot of truth in this. It does not mean that there is no role for Government and it does not mean that some support it not very valuable. In fact it fails to point out that failure to give education is often the route cause to many problems.
Equally, withholding the discipline of learning how to take ownership for your own motivation and progress, is criminal and does society at all levels a dis-service.
I also read this bumper sticker this year:
“A child that is taught to hunt and to fish won’t beat up old Grannies”
P.S – If you want to contact me about writing an article for you, or speaking about this at your event, please feel free to contact me below:
It’s Sunday evening, and flight 278 from Toronto to London is about to board. At each gate is a gate attendant whose duties are to ensure that passengers board safely and on time. They coordinate with flight control to make sure that everything happens as quickly and as efficiently as possible. On this evening, gate 72 at Toronto Pearson International Airport, Marva was in attendance. Marva is one of my heroes.
This lady epitomises everything about what I believe is now the building of relationships. Marva is a professional. Unlike any other gate attendant I have seen anywhere; Marva finds the ability to balance, being in full control of her passenger with being respectful. You see, Marva makes no bones about what she expects of each passenger. She tells them to stay seated. She tells them to clear away from the gate. She tells them not to line up, she will call on them when ready. When she makes announcements, she starts by saying please remain seated. Marva understands that her job in terms of being able to do the best for the customers, is to ensure that they know when and where to be and that will give them a safe and quick boarding. These days, boarding an aircraft is an important element of the journey for the passengers. People rushing on board can cause health and safety issues. It makes life difficult; boarding can take too long, flights can then be delayed. So there is a whole lot of issues around it. But at the same you have a group of passengers who are all desperate to get on board, want to get their luggage in there right, want to find their seats etcetera, etcetera.
Marva does what is needed and that means Marva is a professional. In terms of engaging with customers, professionalism is a key element in that process. What does professionalism mean? One dictionary describes it as “the competence or skill expected of a professional” and then goes on to add, “The key to quality and efficiency is professionalism.”
What Marva understands is that if she is going to do her job correctly then she needs to be; respectful of her clients but not submissive to her clients or customers. In other words, it isn’t about being nice and friendly. It’s about being efficient and effective. Marva does that by looking people directly in the eye, speaking very respectfully but bluntly to people and making sure that people know where they need to be and how they need to get to where they are going and the right time and place to do that. She is an outstanding communicator, constantly informing people of progress.
One evening I was catching a flight, that there was a delay. There was an incoming flight but due to bad weather there were technical difficulties, there were problems with the airport. It was like a series of events that are taking place in and around the Toronto airport affecting most flights that were there. Marva was the one gate where everybody at all times knew everything there was to know. She was open with people when she didn’t know stuff. She told them that she didn’t, wasn’t able to give them certain information but as soon as she had it, they would have it. She spoke sternly, strongly, look people directly in the eye, made no bones about her position but did it with a respect that said: “I am doing my job for you; you have to trust me and let me do it.” And it’s that ability to be able to look somebody directly in the eye not in a subservient manner of traditional customer service but rather in a “we are equals. I am here to do a job, you will benefit by me doing my job and I can do it more effectively if you follow my instructions.” This builds a relationship of trust between the passenger and Marva. It’s that trust that’s built between them and her ability to build it which makes her the professional. And this is key to being able to engage with customers, is knowing how to do it in a way that enabled you to say and do things and the customer be not offended, upset or viewed as poor customer service. I’m quite sure that some older people or old-fashioned in their thinking may see Marva as not being giving the traditional customer service and I would agree with them. Marva is not going to give the traditional customer service because she is not there to ponder to the needs of people who will be upset regardless of what happens because they want everything their way and their whole world revolves around them. Marva has a way of making sure that people know, “I do respect you, I do want to do what’s best for you but you have to trust me and allow me to do that.” So, if anybody struggles with that it’s them who have the problem and certainly not Marva. I am consistently at gates in airports and never find somebody as a professional as I do when I see Marva on the gate of Toronto airport. Many of them are trying to give traditional customer service with at least trying to be pleasant and you can see when they turn around, they roll their eyes, they are getting frustrated because it’s just going through the motions of doing whatever they think they can do. Marva is viewing it as, “I have a relationship with you. I have a job to do, you want to know? Come. My job is to provide you with that outcome if it is at all possible. It may not be exactly the way you wanted but I will get it to you as quickly and as effectively as I can.” And it is the outcome that is more important than the process. If I can get you on board safely and you can get away on time, that’s probably going to be more important than anything else to you. And so she reminds you of that in a comment she makes to people, that we will get you on time if you follow my rules. Stand clear of the gates because you’re only going to get in the way of other people trying to board. That is going to slow the process down. Don’t come up asking me if there are any more upgrades available, I haven’t got any more upgrades available. So she is straight and clear with people at all times. Professionalism is a huge part of engaging with customers. It’s about, “I am a professional, you want to make use of my services and I am good in doing what I am doing for you. And I am prepared to practice it and improve upon it at all times.”
We all walk across this planet over the course of our lives. We all leave footprints on the earth as we pass along. Every once and a while someone walks across this planet and leaves footprints on our hearts and minds and changes the way we live on this planet. Today a great man left behind footprints that will never be erased and changes that humble those that remain. Such was the long walk of Nelson Mandela on my heart and mind. Today we bow our heads in sadness that you have left us and in joy for having been here when you walked this earth. RIP Madiba your work is done
Wow, I’ve just found this on YouTube. What a great session that was, hope you enjoy this clip.