About Political Strategy

About Political Strategy

Neil Foster writes that polls prove that it’s policy and the offer which determines the way most people vote. We need to remember that polls only measure what’s happening today but Foster’s corollary is that the offer needs to be sound and also that the government’s record is put under intense scrutiny. I should add that the policy offer needs to be believable. I have written a personal manifesto against triangulation and in favour of leadership and collective honesty by the political parties in my blog article “If only”. The poll is one piece of evidence that most agree.

I feel that Labour’s European campaign missed the opportunity to oppose austerity, and in doing sp failed to confront the ideology behind the Tories economic policies. We failed to engage in any vision as to the future of either Britain’s future or that of Europe. We have some way to travel.

The fact is that strategy must follow values! Triangulation legitimises your opponents politics and is not believed. No-one now believes that the NHS is safe on the Tory’s hands, and no-one really believes that Labour will be tougher on welfare or immigration. The policy offer and mandate must be based on an honest and truthful conversation with the electorate. It would seem that’s what they want. …

Beyond simple keynesianism

Beyond simple keynesianism

In the aftermath, of Ed Miliband’s conference speech, I came across two important articles published on the Touchstone and IPPR blog sites. Responsible Capitalism Takes Shape by Duncan Wheldon, and On left populism and Labour’s conference by Nick Pearce. It was Wheldon’s article that caught my eye first but both he and Pearce suggest there is a tension in the Labour Party between those who believe that British Capitalism no longer serves the interests of the majority; that what’s good for business is no longer good for people and the ‘simple keynesians’ who follow the old New Labour policies of using macroeconomic policy and demand management to encourage private sector growth. Pearce argues that Miliband believes that it’s broken and needs rebuilding, he’s on record as saying he thinks the 2015 election will be as transformative as that in 1979 and as he put it in the conference speech in speaking about the fact that capitalism seems no longer to let people afford a decent life, …

McKinsey on strategy, services and product

On my sun/oracle blog I wrote a note/précis of an issue of the McKinsey Quarterly. The keynote article, “Distortions & deceptions in strategic decisions” looks at the flawed human values often inserted into major business decisions. They quote a major acquisition decision taken by a dominant player and suggest that the major advocate of the merger wanted it for personal political gain. They look at ways in which these human factors can be brought into the open and evaluated in the decision making process. Despite identifying over-optimism as a frequent occurrence once a proposal has been made, the decision not to proceed is often taken in private and so collaborative decision making cannot neutralise these human shortcomings. One suggestion is to ask the proposer, what their next best proposal is. …

Solutions or Service

One of Sun’s internal debates is what “Solutions” are. Currently in my mind there seems to be ambiguity between a Solutions or Utility proposition, and what Sun seeks to organise around. Bob Macritchie (EVP Global Sales) opened the conference with a presentation on Sun’s sales model. He spoke in balanced terms between solutions (consultancy/project) and programme (commodity/utility) . He was clear that he wanted GEM (geographic organisations) autonomy, presumably using both loose and tight controls, but he did describe them as billing engines. This does not imply a lot of faith in their intellectual property generation but it may have been a throw-away remark.  …

More about managing the professional services firm

This is an article I original wrote as at the date posted and brought across to this blog in Nov 2015. It is a review, and maybe a development of some ideas published by Geoffrey Moore in an article entitled “Just Shoot Me!”, which was published in Under the Buzz, Nov 2002. The article was subtitled “Managing the Services Function inside a Products Company”. The article was sent to me by a colleague, Mike Habek after reading my previous article. It astonishes me how useful it remains, eleven years after first reading it and thirteen after its initial publication.

Moore believes that the service functions of product companies are trapped inside a life cycle inimicable to optimal service strategies, but that by understanding the cyclical nature of these factors, management can build valuable and valued service delivery companies. In 2015, I’d add that his model offers insight to both data centre architects and consultancy strategists looking to avoid areas that lead to the conflicts Moore describes as endemic in product attached consultancy. …

Managing the Professional Services Firm

This article was written in July 2004, and is a manifesto for change in Sun. In passing the article reviews and borrows from David Maister’s book, “Managing the Professional Services Firm“. I copied it across to this blog in 2015. It still reads as a manifesto, which was ignored.  I suggest, its remaining relevance is based on insights I hope still stand to be repeated. In summary, Consultants offer Expertise, the ability to invent and solve problems for the first time, Experience, the promise of having done it before or Efficiency, a cost promise based having done the thing many times. These propositions have different values to customers, overselling is hard and will be resented. Organisations will find it hard, Maister argues impossible to optimise for all of these propositions. …