There are lots of good think pieces on the rise of populism. This one has an interesting take on why the lying that Trump does is not a problem.

The rise of highly polished, professional politicians such as Tony Blair and Bill Clinton exacerbated the sense that politics is all about strategic concealment of the truth, something that the Iraq war seemed to confirm as much as anything. Trump or Farage may have a reputation for fabricating things, but they don’t (rightly or wrongly) have a reputation for concealing things, which grants them a form of credibility not available to technocrats or professional politicians.

It’s and interesting read: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/nov/29/why-we-stopped-trusting-elites-the-new-populism

Apoligizing

I apologized yesterday to someone I hadn’t talked to in many years.

I had thought about it a few times. But I always felt it would be weird. Or maybe that’s what I told myself to not have to deal with admitting I could have acted better.

I was pretty much “in the box” at the time. It felt good to apologize. They did as well. In a way, I think we were (and probably still are) very similar. It’s interesting how when we see ourselves reflected back to us we can see our flaws. Well, we probably don’t acknowledge that those are also our flaws, but we see them. We notice them and they frustrate us.

I think it’s noticing the similarities and the shared flaws that bring about compassion. It’s often easier with someone who “looks” like us. And I use look not just in the physical visual sense of the word, but “looks” in the same way Facebook does lookalike audiences.

I have a few other folks I’ve always wanted to apologize to. There are a few I’ve done, but not many, not enough anyway. Perhaps I should start on that…

The End is not a Failure

Often people talk about things that have ended like they were a failure. Mostly with relationships but often with other parts of life. Just because something ends, that doesn’t mean it failed. It could of been a great 5 year relationship that has lived it’s course or leaving a job  where you had a great time.

Things often come to an end, it doesn’t make it a failure.

Burnout

I think there’s a big misconception about burnout in today’s society. We assume that burn out is just when you do too much work. If you work 70h a week or something like that you’ll burnout.

I don’t think that’s the case. We already know what motivates people. Yet seem unaware that burnout is the opposite of this. Managers often are trying to “shield” employees and making decisions that are “for their own good” but creates the opposite result. Really what drives people to burnout is:

  • The lack of self-direction (Autonomy)
  • The inability to impact necessary change when it’s needed (Purpose)
  • The inability to grow in the direction we want (Mastery).

In the past, I’ve let folks work on things I thought were a waste a time. Not because I didn’t think they could use their time better but rather because not letting them would reduce their output to lower than it currently was. Even if they now spend 20% of their time on something I disagree with, the other 80% will be much more productive because of it and, in the end, that will help the team.

Now you may say, well I really don’t want that person to work on that. Or I really don’t think that’s a good idea. That means you don’t share the same vision as your employee and the only real solution is to let them go.

In the knowledge economy there are 2 things you should do with employees:

  • Empower them
  • Fire them

You should only ever do those 2 things. All the other ways out of the problem just postpone or create a worse problem in the future. As much as letting someone go is tough, most organizations I’ve been a part of should have done it more often rather than less often.

Campaigns don’t matter as much as they use to

Scott Reid asked if campaigns even mattered anymore. I think he’s partially right that they don’t. They don’t matter as much because the 30 odd days that are defined as a campaign are no longer the “real” campaign.

The “permanent campaign” has been a buzz word for a while but the implementation of it by the Canadian political parties has been lackluster at best. The digital outreach is strongly axed on fundraising instead of persuasion. I can understand why, with fundraising you see the results right away. There are easy to gauge metrics (what those mean and if they are the correct metrics is a whole entire post). Launching a year long persuasion campaign doesn’t show the results right away.

But that’s exactly what many conservative leaning organizations have been doing. A good example of this is “Ontario Proud“. The tactics for gaining followers are transparently obvious. Asking folks to “share if you’re patriotic” or posting some nostalgic pictures asking to “like if you remember this“. The idea is of course to be able to then target folks with the political posts.

It’s very smart and well done and an easy way to bypass the current campaign finance laws since there are no limits outside of election periods. I guess this is why they say campaign managers are always prepared to fight the last war.

Elections

I voted today but I’m pretty sad. Some great MPPs will probably lose their seat. A good example is Yasir Naqvi who I’ve met a few times and campaigned for in 2014. He’s the kind of person I want representing me. It reminded me of the 2011 federal election when lots of really good people lost their seats including Glen Pearson who I always looked up to.

I remeber being in the war room and knowing we had all but lost and we’re trying to salvage as many seats as possible in the ones we had the best chances. His riding (London north) wasn’t on the list of ones we were focusing on. It was a lost cause. A few of my colleagues and I added him to the list of ridings we would send the last ditch get out the vote calls. He still lost, but I atleast felt like I had tried to keep one of the great ones in office.

You can follow Glen on his blog at http://www.glenpearson.ca

Strategic voting

I really dislike First Past the Post as a voting system. It’s so incredibly flawed. It leads to situations that the current election in Ontario where I have a preferred party that has currently 0 chance of getting elected. I also have a strong preference of the remaining choices. I’m fine with the NDP who’s policies are similar to mine except often (IMHO) unrealistic in how they will achieve all (or any) of them concurrently. And there’s the conservatives which the leader (Doug Ford, which some of you may know as the brother of the late Rob Ford) is practically a caricature of how to be a terrible human being.

The problem is that the NDP and the Conservatives have been statistically tied in the race for a while now with the Liberals far behind. In a perfect world we’d have something like the preferential ballot which has a few other names but is basically that instead of writing an X you rank folks 1,2,3 etc. This has many advantages over the current system and has one very big advantage over all the systems political junkies try to get to referendum in that you can explain it in one sentence and folks will instinctively understand what you mean. In my current situation I would just vote Liberal 1, NDP 2, Green party 3, any random independent running 4, Conservatives 5 and all would be fine.

In the current context the choice would ostensibly be wasting my vote or voting the lesser of two evils. While I support people who want to always vote for the best candidate or the one who represents them the most, I find that in reality that leads to things like Stephen Harper, George Bush, Donald Trump, and potentially, Doug Ford. That’s too high a price to pay.

So at this point you could reasonably assume that I would vote NDP. The problem is my current riding. I live in Ottawa which is the only place the Liberals are actually still in  the running with polls showing the NDP with a slight lead but within the margin of error. The conservatives sadly are leading in the region (because of this split IMHO). From the latest polls I can see here https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/onvotes/poll-tracker/ the NDP has a slight lead. If that remains the case on election day I will sadly need to cast my ballot for them. Not because I think they are the best party, but because they are, by far, better than the alternative. Hopefully one day we’ll get election reform right and it won’t have to be this way.