Zip wire…

primary care training zip wire boris johnson-01

The main political parties are beset with inner wrangling. The Tories have lost 43 ministers, who, one way or another, have walked out, in a huff, over Brexit.

You don’t have to be a genius to realise, the country is being run by the ‘B Team’. None of the cabinet occupy any of the jobs as first choice candidates.

In fact, make that the ‘C Team’.

We are in the middle of a squalid competition between the duplicitous and the dissembling. Party before country is an ugly proposition. If the Tory Party was a bottle of milk, it would have curdled by now.

Whatever possessed No18 to think he had the qualifications, experience or character to lead our nation is completely beyond me. His lightweight preoccupations with peripheral technologies is insulting to the professionals who run the NHS’ complex systems.

Systems that process more e-mails in a day than the Pentagon and suffer more than 20, serious cyber attacks, every day.

Just a week or so ago our Health Secretary used an interview with the Financial Times to take a swipe at Johnson by declaring ‘f- “f- business”‘ in response to his infamous ‘f- business’ comment.

Speaking on the BBC’s Today Programme no one would have been left in any doubt that Hancock saw no place for himself in a Johnson cabinet.

Nevertheless, at the weekend we were reading No18’s ringing endorsement of Boris.

Somebody is a fool and somebody is a liar. Are we the fools to listen to a word he says?

It is important. It is important because the role of health secretary is one of the biggest responsibilities government has. Keeping the nation safe and well. It is not a job for a fool or a liar.

No18 is self serving… that is obvious. Even if he stands on his ego, he will still not be able to reach the door knob of high office.

He is dangerously neglectful of his task. Where is the green paper on the future of elder care… surely one of the most pressing matters facing the country.

He wants the job but doesn’t want to do the work.

Choosing leaders? My mind goes back thirty years…

It was the usual format. PowerPoint and coffee in the morning, trial by volovant at lunchtime and a grilling in the afternoon. By tea-time it’s all over.

The outsider, got the job. There was something about him. We took a chance. He held onto the job for 30 years, made it his own, ran the best NHS Trust in the country and got a Knighthood for his trouble.

Sir Andrew Morris, the outsider. Picking winners, spotting leaders… you need a bit of luck and be prepared to take a risk.

It is inconceivable that anyone would work for Boris Johnson. The rest of the candidates? A couple of thugs, no women and some blokes that will end up as Theresa May in trousers.

The first problem is politics doesn’t do talent management and the NHS isn’t very good at it, either. The second is, like the NHS, the Tories are looking for leaders in the wrong place.

The NHS just recycles the old guard when it should be thinking about finding leaders in social care, voluntary sector and business.

Leadership should look very different. Not template, guidance and grip. Tomorrow’s leaders will work by defining and sharing their goal and creating the time and space for good people to achieve it. Leaders create other leaders, the context and the climate.

The military look for VUCA leaders; able to cope with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity… and if that doesn’t describe post Brexit Britain, and post austerity NHS, tell me what does.

The Tories, like the NHS, are locked in the past. The only way out is to jump a generation and take a chance that the job will make the man or woman.

If you don’t believe Rory Stewart can do the job as PM, read his CV. Don’t take my word for it… read it. All of it.

He has done things, achieved things and shown us there is more to come. He is thoughtful, a leader, brought up a family, traveled and accepts he doesn’t have all the answers.

The trick in picking winners is to look for their ability to inspire, not just dangle from a zip-wire.

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Reproduced at by kind permission of Roy Lilley.