In Politics & Retail We Get What We Deserve.

The recent round of electoral activity has reminded us once again of the negative power of the electorate and the lack of understanding between action and outcome that resides in the mind of the voter. The electorate now has a long history of not delivering outright power to a single party ensuring the continuation of chaos and then gets frustrated with a lack of leadership. The media arguably both creates the situation and exploits it by ensuring coverage pre-election throws up every negative angle possible and then inserts itself into government through continued commentary and so-called ‘opinion polls once a government is seemingly ‘in power’.

Put the media noise to one side, voters are responsible for putting the political process in a state where no one is actually given the power to enact policy because they are hamstrung with a real life process where every initiative must be compromised and then spun in order to make any change – let alone the right change.

Retail has denigrated to the same levels.

True leadership in retail today is hamstrung by day-to-day consumer behaviour that inevitably sees volume swing in the direction of cheapest price (at any cost), in a marketplace where margins are tight and costs are high. In desperation to survive retailers chase the consumer and as a result we end up with the state of play we have today. Then consumers turn around and bemoan the elements of retail they nostalgically miss – with no recognition that their behaviour is what has led to the elimination of what they miss due to the cost burden that on surface behaviour they are unwilling to support with their purchasing power.

Both in politics and retail the issue comes down to one area of failure. The ability to sell ideas that add value in a world that is too eager to be cynical and critical. And the outcomes in both important pillars of social and economic advancement are just as dire.

We are at a tipping point. Leadership has always been about inspiring people into supporting a better way, a better life, and a better outcome. Painting that picture in a magnetic way has never been more important to unite voters and consumers that the outcome can be a sea of colour rather than grey. That we can celebrate differences rather than be forced to be the same. That creating choice means emphasising how you are different and why that is valuable. That criticism should be contemplated but not always acted upon as a knee-jerk reaction.

Consumers don’t think about the future. They act now. We need our leaders to think about consequence and longer-term outcomes before they work out a plan. Then we need them to work out how to sell the plan. Then we need them to implement the plan in a way that inspires support and ensures the outcomes are beneficial to all stakeholders.

In short, we need to change the paradigm from getting what we deserve, to getting what we need. A vibrant, strong landscape that is full of choices, which benefit all segments of the community in a way that leads to, shared prosperity rather than gradual demise and mounting frustration.

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