With the historic television debates now behind us and the election around the corner the general public, if the polls are to be believed, are no further convinced as to which party should be in power than they were at the start of the election campaign. Why is this? Although all of the main parties seem to be championing the cause for change and reform, a disconnect has emerged between what is promised and what the public believe can and will be achieved.
This scepticism may be based on the behaviours and events that have occurred in recent times: as always, actions speak louder than words. But it is also based on candidates’ failure to spell out what specific changes will be made in a number of key areas, including providing more detail on the scale of future cutbacks, dealing with a ballooning national deficit, and getting the economy back on track. This requires strong leadership at a time when unpalatable policies on dealing with these issues risks alienating voters.
A similar challenge presents itself to businesses in the months and years post recession. Decisive action and leadership is needed to ensure that firms are not only prepared strategically to emerge from recession, but that messages delivered to internal and external stakeholders are understandable and workable in practice.
The importance of effective and meaningful communication cannot be under-estimated. As we have seen in the general election campaign, however, it is not enough. People are equally, if not more interested in what their leaders do – not just what they say. Firms with strong values - and whose values have successively borne scrutiny during the recession – will be better placed to sustain trust and continue building for the future.
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