Politics Needs Fewer Sales Staff, More Business Development Managers
One problem with Australian politics – and most UK and US politics too – is most Party leaders* are sales staff, not business development managers.
They’re after the quick business/quick sales so that their sales cycle numbers – the next election – look good, but it is at the expense of long-term customer acquisition:
- current marginal seat campaigning tactics,
- small target “leadership”,
- technocratic fiddling around the edges of policy differences,
- and similar practices
all work to ensure there can be NO growing of a solid base of voters, inspired by a leader’s vision.
When was the last time you saw an Australian political leader grab a big, bold, forward-looking, new, idea or agenda, and then try to get the community broadly on board with it? Gough Whitlam in 1972? John Hewson in 1993? Does Tony Abbott’s “Stop The Boats” count?**
Most are satisfied to claim a mandate for something even when voters have been clearly opposed, when they survive in spite of its advocacy – Mike Baird’s unpopular commitment to asset sales come to mind.
There’s so many important issues out there begging for a long-term perspective, matched with solutions capable of inspiring Australians, but there’s an unwillingness to put in any kind of a concerted effort to explain and persuade – so until we have political leaders prepared to put an effort into business development rather than sales, we seem locked forever into two things:
- a downward spiral of lowest-common-denominator policies that pander to existing prejudices and demons rather than voters’ better angels, and
- a cowardly concealment of real intentions, behind ambiguous platitudes.
* Party officials, Members of Parliament, political advisors … they’re all leaders, though many don’t act like it.
** I don’t think it does, because I don’t believe it was bold or new – it was mostly pandering to prejudices already in voters’ minds. Feel free to disagree!