Politics Needs Fewer Sales Staff, More Business Development Managers

business-development-sign-smallOne 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 1972John 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!


About Mike Smith

Partner in Ethical Consulting Services: www.ethicalconsulting.com; Ethical strategies and programs which get you where you need to go ... * Exceptional government & stakeholder relations, * Thriving governance systems, * Specialised project facilitation, * Inbound investment assistance, * Successful marketing, communications and PR campaigns ... and customised training in each of these areas.

Posted on April 15, 2015, in campaigning, Change, Culture, Democracy, ideology, marketing, Political tactics, Politics, Stakeholder engagement, Strategy. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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