How to Regain Trust after a Political Failure
In the course of a political career, there are not only numerous failures, but numerous varieties of failure.
From minor failures to engage an individual, communicate a position or answer a question, to bigger failures such as losing an election, breaking an agreement or failing to deliver on behalf of constituents.
Then there are those that are more abstract — a failure to represent.
Regardless of the nature or scope of the failure, there is one sure footed spot to begin when repairing it and regaining lost trust.
In the fast-paced world of start-up culture, there’s a saying that goes “hire slow, fire fast,” and while its suitability in business is debatable, it’s a concept that should be taken to heart in the realm of politics.
The explanation is simple: political capital is more volatile, more fragile and more difficult to acquire. Its expenditure is also heavily influenced by election dates. There’s time to put people through their paces. And the consequences of a bad management decision might be far greater than a temporary downturn in stock prices.
Furthermore, political organisations are by their very nature cumbersome beasts — more conservative and less agile than their corporate counterparts — and more often than not, that is how they are seen by the general public. All the more reason a fast response can be so disruptively positive.
Political parties have a lot to gain from being visibly accountable in today’s world of severe trust deficit. It may not necessarily imply ‘fire,’ as a blame game might be equally disastrous, but it should always signify something.
Acceptance of accountability should be a prerequisite for public office and indeed any kind of public work. If it’s not, you’re doing something incorrectly. If it is, then it must be openly adhered to when trouble emerges.
If that trouble is coming from a process, policy or platform, it needs to be publicly acknowledged and fixed. If it’s coming from a person, that person needs to publicly accept responsibility. And if it’s coming from you, well then, you know what to do. Don’t be afraid to apologise.
Author: Daniel Mackisack
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