The cessation of BBC Question Time for the summer recess signals the beginning of the holiday period for Parliament. I suspect it can't come soon enough for the bruised PM Theresa May who has endured what most would agree has been a torrid two months.
Last week she reached out to other parties to get some input on the tough Brexit issue only to have it rejected with a few sneers. Collaboration? You can stick it seemed to be the message; perhaps not surprising given the combative nature of our political system and the ferocity of the recent election campaign with an unexpected result.
Public frustration when health, education, Brexit and other key issues are used as 'political footballs' rather than sorted out for the benefit of citizens, is more evident than ever now as frustration grows.
Susan Boniface, a journalist and panelist on Question Time last week, sounded frustrated as she accused politicians of all parties of behaving like kids chucking insults at each other rather than sorting the important stuff out. Mark Wilson, CEO of Aviva in a press article this week called for both government and opposition to stop bashing business and work together to sort out critical issues facing the country. And in Parliament, MPs discussed the issue of the toxicity of not so social media where puerile and shocking content posted about politicians by those with different views. In a sense this activity is like a giant magnifying glass showing the distrust and bad feeling that already exists but previously didn't have a public voice. Is it too engrained to change; can it improve?
This week I was a guest speaker at the Institute for Collaborative Working (ICW) event at The Crystal in London Docklands. The meeting brought together the utility and water markets. A major challenge faces these sectors as the assets of energy and water are precious, our populations are growing and more people than ever will live in cities in the decades ahead. Collaboration with us as consumers to work together is essential to achieve affordable energy for all. Is the issue of collaboration different in organisations than in politics?
The need for collaboration is key around customers; it's pretty obvious when an organisation is focussed on its internal issues, sorting out structures, perhaps acquisitions and mergers, new processes and technologies, leaving customers 'cast adrift'. And yet these situations are not uncommon; those responsible believe that an internal focus is essential for the survival of the organisation.
Organisations built around customers rather than its departmental structure are more likely to naturally maintain this strong customer focus particularly during periods of change; an example being Amazon who this week are reported to be responsible for a colossal 40% of online sales.
The real question for politicians and companies alike must surely be, 'Who and what are we here for? Who pays our remuneration?’.
Perhaps then collaboration in all its forms will become an essential form of working; not replacing but complimenting and enhancing competition in our fast-paced, always on world where change is not only a constant but the new normal.
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