Office Politics and the Scottish Referendum


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I don’t ever suggest that I am a fond  follower of politics, I do ensure that I’m well versed in what’s going on and the more recent events leading up to the Scottish referendum have got me thinking about just how much unneeded drama, wasted gossip and time is spent when there is a major political change a foot.

To clarify that comment; I’m not saying that the referendum is unimportant, but that the hype we attach to such events seems to spiral into completely random entities.

We all have office politics at work, it’s a social necessity unfortunately, as human beings we need to belong to something, attach to our tribe, find our values and beliefs and voice our opinions; some more than others true, but it does lead to this contentious label of “office politics” being thrown around.

Right now, there are actually raw office politics being discussed amongst employees and business owners alike; around Scotland and their battle for independence, some say Scotland the Brave others Scotland the Foolish and no matter where you live, who you are or where you sit on the polling scale – everyone seems to have an opinion.   Opinions are great but if they are not voiced in the right manner they lead to gossip, arguments and general progress-inhibiting disruption.

When you think about it, an election is one of the most effective ways to get a decision done! In the lead up to the vote all parties are allowed to market their opinions, plans and promises. Each voter is asked to carefully consider these in order for them to make a decision on a set day.  On the day of the vote each individual is asked to state their opinion in writing (with a cross!) on a ready-prepared voting slips which allows them to have their say, no discussion needed or in fact allowed when you are actually voting.  Ballot papers are counted and a decision is made.  A final decision that everyone stands by!

Surely there is something to be taken from that!? This process is smooth, accountable and involves everyone that choses to voice their opinion and be part of the decision.  If they opt out of the vote then they really have no further argument. Surely we can use this in our workplaces? No?

No more hour long discussions about did she/he, didn’t she/he, should we, shouldn’t we. One vote that is irrefutable! Think about the time you would get back in your working day, the arguments or discussions you wouldn’t need to be involved with, the thought planning that would need to go into the marketing of your idea and the results you would get! It could be awesome!

It’s a weird question I know, and in the main most seem to isolate the problem and deal with it when it arises, but why not attack it head on and build it positively into your work place, if it affects your employees, their families or friends then you can be sure it will ultimately affect your bottom line!   How many hours are wasted around the coffee machine? How many hours reading articles online?  Over-thinking or worrying about what may or may not happen?  By converting even 50% of this time into more focused productive time your employees will be more engaged and your bottom line healthier – that has to be worthwhile.

The passion behind the Scottish referendum is clear to see – for or against – I see so many similarities between how we have dealt with the idea of such a huge game changer.  We would do well to use some of the lessons learnt from this event in our workplace cultures.

To really bring the passion out in our employees in the right way by allowing each and every individual a voice that matters!  Who knows what personalities could be hiding in your business!

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