Popularity, or perhaps more accurately the democratic process can get in the way of progress and improvement. These days with many associations and other organisations being controlled by boards that are forced to rely on the popular vote, that very process often stymies the development of the organisation.
Lets face it, from time to time, anyone in charge of anything is going to have to do something that isn’t popular. Raise a fee here, reduce services there, revamp something, re-align something, replace something or build something completely new. Chances are, any of those activities are not going to please everyone.
I have often heard board or committee members say, “it is vital we are seen to do something”. Which is code for “I want to be voted back in.” Thus positioning that board member or committeeman firmly in the role of “champion of popular activity.” This could well put him at odds with what is good for the organisation.
Surely for an organisation to develop, grow, become more resilient etc, that organisation needs to do what is right for them, not what is politically prudent for the survival of an individual board member. But here is the curly one. Who is going to call the director on this absurdly juvenile behaviour? The General Manager can’t, not if he has plans to work there, long term. Fellow board members may not want to call the behaviour out for a number of reasons of their own.
Often it will go unchecked resulting in outcomes that are less than ideal for the org. I have seen it time and again. It rarely gets called out for what it is, but most often gets relabeled as something like expediency or whats good for us is good for the everyone, or the value of stability.
Wouldn’t it be cool to have someone like an omnipotent freelance roaming ombudsman, charged with being “tough but fair” calling out activity in all circles of life that were self-agrandising and out of step with the wellbeing of whichever org. the activity involved.
School headmasters would lose their jobs immediately rather than hiding in their offices waiting for retirement. Line managers would be forced to leave rather than waiting for their long service leave. Office managers would be sent packing for putting their own ‘work-life balance’ ahead of developing the people around them. Board members would simply leave, embarrassed by their own pitiful performance all in a bid to be re-elected.
Maybe Mr Putin is onto something here???? Just kidding. Who would want to get rid of the opportunity to have their say at the ballot box? No-one is going to feel comfortable giving up their democratic right to vote someone out of office. Truth is though, how often does it happen? For most org’s it’s business as usual. Same old, same old, regardless of the performance. Sad but true.