If there is an ex directors breakfast club I haven’t been offered membership. If they invited me I won’t go. But if I did this is what I would expect to hear.
I speak of the time before austerity of the time before the time before austerity. A time when we were practice led not financially driven. A time we believed we could make a real difference for the better. People say that is history and we are not interested in what happened in the past. I remember when I said the same things about the generation of directors who came before me and my colleagues. We were the new young guns who felt that our time had come we were dismissive of those directors who had taken early retirement- “copped out”. Some of whom were now helping to select the next generation of senior managers their previous status clearly giving them credibility within the management consultancy industry but not with us.
Status and credibility are funny things one day my boss was the director of one of the largest local authorities whose views are actively sough, a few months latter she was an ex director , with out of date experience, and apparently with little of interest to contribute to current debates, a person of no influence.
Former colleagues were keen to point out , the politics are different now, relationships have changed, the private sector is more important , it’s about being corporate rather than protecting your directorate. Regionalism is the thing. Social Inclusion, community cohesion and equality and diversity are on the back burner replaced by efforts to stem radicalisation, tackle grooming and combat county lines.
Yet whilst so much has been changing so much remains the same.The job is still about Leadership, managing the political process, collaboration and partnerships working.
Despite everything the same issues keep coming up, bullying, the glass ceiling , Increased demand and an inadequate budget . The challenge of working in an increasingly ideologically driven political environment.
I am disappointed and surprised that the senior managers of today seem so resigned to social inequality, so apparently accepting of the reality that things can only get worse, so unwilling to challenge the establishment. Or perhaps I am out of step with a world that was never the way I thought it should be.
Blair Mcpherson former Director ,author and blogger www.blairmcpheson.co.uk