Leadership and Self Interest

Having just watched George Osborne explain the UK Budget for 2015, you get the strong feeling that this budget is all about getting the Conservative Party re-elected next year  rather than putting the country on  a long term path to recovery.

On the one had he talks about giving money back by reducing stamp duty on property purchases and then he talks about cuts in public spending becoming bigger going forward.

Wouldn’t it make sense that if you need to make cuts not to give money back, but to use that money to fund the services to might have to cut, so why do it?

It’s because it’s in their self interest, they are hoping to use the give backs to win the next elections so that they can remain in power. It’s about self-interest rather than the best interest of the country.

I heard a great joke recently, its said ‘the other day it was so cold that the politicians had their hands in their own pockets’.

It’s this self interest that causes our lack of trust in politicians, and it’s not just in the UK, we see it everywhere in politics.

But it’s also the same in business,  when leaders do whats best for them rather than whats best for their teams, or their companies, then the self interest undermines the trust we have in leadership.

It also means that we can end up focusing on short-term individual benefits, at the expense of long-term pain and suffering for everyone else.

Look at the financial crisis of 2008, much of the problems stemmed from greedy bankers looking to make huge bonuses based on short term results which ultimately crashed the system and plunged us into a recession which has lasted for many years and has seen millions lose their homes, their jobs and drop below the poverty line.

Isn’t it time that we had a leadership which looked to make long term benefits for everyone?

We have the power to make the changes, we are the ones who have the votes, but too often we fall for these give aways because we too look at self interest.

Until we start to look at long term benefits we will not fix many of the problems that we face in the world, the financial crisis, global warming, escalating obesity, because many of the people we elect benefit from perpetuating these problems.

Food firms make millions in profits, whilst pumping our foods full of sugar, even though it is causing a health epidemic, it’s the same with energy companies why should they look for a safer greener alternative when they can make millions from selling us gas guzzling motors which destroy our planet.

Why do we not have electric cars, why are these not mandatory, its because our leadership is funded by the old structures, too much oil money, so the self interest is not in fixing the problems, it’s in perpetuating them.

Somedays I despair that the lengths people will go to in the name of self interest, the death of the planet we inhabit doesn’t seem to high a price to pay for those who wish to cling to power.

It’s time we did something.

Gordon Tredgold

#Leadership Principles