So, maybe it's time we just let most of this stuff go. And just, you know, talk about policies and plans and programs instead.
Sounds crazy, I know. But perhaps - just perhaps - it's a bit more important than someone's long-ago, ill-advised tweet.
I was talking to a friend yesterday about politics - one controversial policy topic or other. She mentioned that, in her opinion, all politicians are liars. Okay, I said - but politicians are people. Anyone can be a politician; our crop of politicos always represent a wide swath of backgrounds, professions, communications ability, etc. They're human.
If they're all liars, self-centred manipulators and what not, is that not reflective of all of us? If it's not them, as a separate species (hath a pol not eyes?) but their behaviour is not what we, as the people represented, might want to see - what's causing it?
The same day, I was giving a training on community animation with a special emphasis on emotional intelligence, self-regulation and empathy. My key points are these:
- we're all emotional beings first; our emotions shape our world view
- emotions are influenced by a combination of internal and external factors
- like our physical states, our psychological/emotional states can be exercised and shaped, with effort (which varies from person to person)
- knowing how we feel and why we feel that way helps us to interpret the behaviour of others through a similar lens - what are they sharing, and what can it tell us?
- good space design and great culture design can help strengthen communication and improve both mental health outcomes and productivity; they can also reduce tensions and increase adaptability
I am proudly part of the Why Should I Care team - a volunteer-driven not-for-profit that promotes civil conversations about policy. We bring in top-notch speakers to discuss issues, not debate them; the audience gets to ask questions, gain insight, increase their understanding of a situation - which is rather different than being hammered with ABC messaging.
WSIC is one of many groups taking the same approach, encouraging what can loosely be termed an informed, engaged, responsible society that has the tools and understanding they need to make informed choices in their interest, both immediate self and broader social.
On the other side, there are a lot of public servants, citizen activists and yes, even political staff and politicians working to make Open Government a reality. It's a slow process, but is fundamentally changing the way politics works.
In politics, this responsible society/open gov/behavioural economics stuff is still pretty fringe, but it's gaining traction - not because of aggressive sales, but because it's simply what works best at this point in time.
If we want to hold other's back, we can use the past as a weapon. If we want to adapt to the broader changes happening in our world, though, we're going to need all hands on deck - all of them, from all quarters.
It won't be easy to change the way we do politics, the way we do organizational structures, the way we do engagement. It isn't meant to be. If that's what works, though, then those best able to adapt will be the ones who succeed.
You don't need to take it from me, though. Warren Kinsella says it way better than I ever could.