Thoughts from Michael Harrowven - Chair of the LATCo Network.
It’s October! The air is getting crisp, the nights are drawing in and we’re on the home straight of the year, although, I’m sure I don’t need to remind you, the year certainly isn’t over yet…
Feeling inspired, yes inspired, by hearing many theories about Brexit being a perfect catalyst, has caused me to ask myself some searching questions.
Socrates, a scholar, teacher and philosopher, laid the groundwork for Western systems of logic and philosophy. Socrates claims that he was aware of his own absence of knowledge, and also that the unexamined life is not worth living.
The quality of the answer is often directly related to the quality of the question. In 2016 if the question had been “EEC, EU or OUT”, I wonder where we would be now?
Unfortunately, somebody decided to give us just “EU or OUT” as our choice. It fits with the old management maxim “if you really want to bugger something up – give people a yes/no answer”.
In the face of unforeseen hard decisions, leaders commonly resort to binary choice making, limiting the options available to them to address complex challenges. Major research on decision making shows that our brains are naturally wired to be more impulsive under stress.
In line with Socrates’ reasoning, to examine ourselves without falling into this trap we must think about the broader and more profound questions to ask, so that we can obtain those constructive non-binary answers:
A. The Question of LATCo’s role in the UK post-B.
Is the role we play with Local Authorities, Private Sector, JVs and the whole collaboration piece fully understood by all parties and thus being maximised? Are we leading or following in this drive
B. The Question of the LATCo Network relationship with Central Government Policy Makers, Business Partners and Local Government in general?
What role do we play? What is the nature and depth of our economic, political, social and commercial relationships?
How do we ensure that at every opportunity the concept of the LATCo model is considered?
C. The Question of Confidence.
How confident are we about LATCos delivering fully against Shareholder measures and demonstrating that the LATCo model is not just the right one but also the best one?
D. The Question of Values.
What are our values, and do we live them?
E. The Real Question - The Question of Leadership.
How do we make certain that as LATCos we have a solid supply of leaders who are capable of addressing the real questions the Sector faces. Leaders we can entrust the future to, and build upon the existing relationships with our Business Partners/Shareholders/Customers whilst also making new ones? Leaders who can solve the enigmas, especially the questions in the Brexit box.
I believe it all comes down to who we are, what we stand for - taking our responsibility seriously.
In the end, it’s about leadership – A key aspect your LATCo Network Board takes pride in.
“Our Mission is to use our collective experience to help our members make the best decisions to innovate, thrive and find new collaborative ways of working using the LATCo model as an alternative to traditional outsourcing and direct delivery methods.”
Thanks as ever for your support.