I once played in a football team that got beaten 15-1. What
made it worse was it was only 2-1 at half time. It was a capitulation
and a humiliation. Our goal keepers confidence was shattered and our
star striker never played for us again. And yet the core of that team
went on playing together for several very successful seasons. People
respond differently to major set backs and so do organisations.
Sometimes when the worst happens and you survive then you lose any
fear you have. Well some people do others like the goalkeeper never
truly recover or like the star striker quickly distance themselves. To
be brutally honest I wouldn’t want either of them in my team. We
didn’t lose because of the goal keeper but as the second half wore on
he simply stoped believing in his ability or that of his defenders.
The star striker didn’t give up nor did he complain at the lack of
service, he didn’t say anything after the game he just took his boots
elsewhere. He wanted to play for a better team rather than make this a
better team and I thought less of him for that.
I have seen similar responses in Local Authorities after a death
in care, a damming service inspection or being placed in special
measures. Some people are irrrapairably damaged by the intense and
often personal criticism, others walk away saying, “nothing to do with me”.
We didn’t abandon our goal keeper he didn’t want to play in goal
any more so we played him on the right wing for the remainder of the season.
One thing I do remember people still wanted to play for us. Why?
Well we had a good captain and leader, we had people who were
determined this would not happen again, we believed we were better
than this and we were able to convince some equally determined people
to join us. And this I think is the lesson for Local Authorities show
confidence in your people especially your leader, don’t bow to the
pressure to attribute blame or identify scapegoats, having survived
the worse that can happen lose the fear ,be bold and be brave. Good
people will join you.
Blair Mcpherson former Director , author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk