Storming Way to Lead the Country

Over the last couple of days I have been reflecting on the composition of the United Kingdom’s new Cabinet.  This is the team that will make major decisions about the economy and security of every organisation and person in the land.

The new government is a joint venture between two enterprises that normally compete (the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats). So the cabinet faces all the interesting dynamics of two teams merging. Add to that that while they have done a little work together to try to compete with the previous dominant player in their niche (the Labour Party), they are not natural partners. That will give rise to some difficulties but it may also be the key reason they hold together as a lasting government (assuming they can).

There has been a lot of press coverage of the homogeneity (sameness) of the people in that Cabinet: male, same school, top university, middle aged, white, millionaires. Therein is the risk.  As teams come together they go through a cycle of Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing (Bruce W Tuckman,1965).

There seems to be (my observations in projects) a tendency for homogeneous teams to skip the Storming and assume there are no differences. When differences arise, the team can be shocked they didn’t recognise them and have to deal with that shock: slowing down their progress. Indeed, I saw one team call a halt to everything for 3 weeks to resolve a difference that had festered.  Similarly, the teams that don’t Storm never seem to get to the Perform bit of the cycle.

The trick for the new Prime Minster, Conservative David Cameron, and his Deputy Prime Minister, Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg will be to make sure that the team (while they start to run the country!) do recognise their differences and Storm so that they bond and move to high performance without the team, the political Opposition, the world’s press and markets drawing any conclusion that the UK Government might be in meltdown.  Interestingly, the tone of their first joint press conference in the rose garden of 10 Downing Street suggests they realise they will have past disagreements and present differences to resolve far beyond the joint venture agreement they have already drawn up.

About 3triangles
Helping organisations make change happen in 3 key areas: strategic change, deliver tactical impacts, efficient and effective processes. All blog content (c) 2009 - 2012 Carol Long and Three Triangles Performance Ltd

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