Well then, another Ontario election and a few more names added to the list of political parties that need, or at least think they need, a little time for reflection. You can safely bet that won’t happen.
The symptoms are by now familiar. A political party falls short (in Ontario you can add embarrassingly short) of victory. The blame game begins. A leadership race that inevitably started months before the election defeat is kicked into high gear. A new next-to-be-the-used-to-be leader is crowned, bringing with him/her a new cadre of political shamans and the cycle repeats.
To the extent that any meaningful review is conducted it will never reach the depths of soul searching. There is no time for that sort of thing.
Instead, the blame game will focus on all the usual ways defeat is explained. People didn’t hear the message. Voters failed to realize the opposition is evil. We had the wrong leader.
There is much to be said for the blame game. It’s comfortable. We do it all the time.
Killing the leader is a lot faster and easier than serious reflection. Eventually the public will tire of the current government, the political tides will switch and the gates to government will open.
Heck, Bob Rae and the NDP formed a majority government in Ontario in 1990. Rachel Notley and the NDP won in Alberta in 2015. Back in 1993 Kim Campbell led the Conservatives to – well, never mind that one.
You get the point. Election defeats inevitably put political parties into a cycle they didn’t invent and don’t control. The responses to failure are immediate and reflexive, setting up another round of the familiar.
The blame game works. All it costs is everything else.
I’ve been in the reinvention business most of my life. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the best and brightest in the business of change and change’s big brother, transformation.
Reinvention starts with breaking the blame cycle.
In the political world that requires people to give up some pleasant illusions. Like the comforting thought that if they just yell their position a little louder, get a smidgen more strident, be more righteous and focus on just how evil everyone else is, victory will surely follow.
Not only is the blame game comforting (we just need to be more righteous and louder) it avoids the discomfort and outright risk of confronting positions, procedures, policies and even beliefs in order to create a new possibility.
As my friend Tracy Goss puts it – putting at risk the success you have been for the possibility that you are.
I am not losing any sleep over political parties playing the blame game and leadership roulette. Heck, they seem to enjoy it.
But the cost of this chronic blame cycle is a continual degrading of the art of representing people and the possibility of actually changing how government serves those people. Not a new flashy leader but a deeper, vital connection with real people and their aspirations.
This isn’t rebranding. It’s reimagining.
It is abundantly clear that the times demand changes not only in the inner deliberations of political parties but in the way people and organizations relate to their government.
The purveyors of climate change, social justice, housing, and every other public issue are just as trapped in the blame game as the governments they pester.
We can do better. It starts with stepping out of the blame cycle.
Tags: #SNOBELEN #Stop #political #blame #games