Usually, it’s the result of perseverance, sacrifice, learning, study, the love of what you do and a sprinkle of ‘smarts’.
How to measure it? The achievement of objectives, goals or maybe, simply peace of mind?
Success is not what you have or don’t have. Success is what you think about what you have, or don’t have. And, often, it’s what we think others think about us, that decides how content we are.
It’s all about perception… and perception is everything.
If it walks like a duck, it’s a duck… perceptions.
Perception is reality. What people perceive to be reality, is their reality and there’s no argument.
Governments live and political careers die by measurements of perception. The measurements are called ratings.
HMG, BoJo have to be perceived as successful, on-top-of-things. The reality for the people, the voters, is public opinion and that must be cultivated and curated, at all costs.
Comms people call it, ‘the optics’… how it looks.
When success doesn’t come as a result of perseverance, sacrifice, learning, study, the love of what you do and a sprinkle of ‘smarts’, the temptation is to engineer it.
Massage the numbers, fiddle the facts, spin and ultimately, bully people.
During the pandemic it was important, for public reassurance, that HMG portrayed itself as on top of things, in charge and competent. It wasn’t. Mistakes were made, decisions delayed and science was learning.
It used its Covid-powers to take over messaging to the public and that included an iron control over what the NHS said.
That cascaded into the restrictions imposed on communications professionals in our Trusts.
The over interpretation of that role, by NHSE, has lead to the avalanche of grief and angst that has overloaded my inbox. The stories of pressure, abuse, and outright bullying are still arriving.
As one NHS boss puts it;
‘… as a Chief Executive there’s always some degree of watchful eye on what we may say in the media, but nothing like this. It sounds almost like state censorship at a time when local communities really needed to know what was happening in their local NHS.’
The NHSE press office, faced with a dilemma, could have said to comms leads; ‘We’re in a difficult situation here, No10 is adamant they want to control messaging, to avoid misunderstandings and public alarm… how can you help us deal with it…’
… well, we all know what they did instead and are still doing… in the words of an NHS comms professional;
‘…I was part of those regional Comms teams spending fruitless hours marking the homework of excellent Comms people. I spent time in tears not believing in what I was doing and exhausted…’
The optics are bad.
NHSE could still say;
‘What’s come to light is not what we intended, we were all under pressure and we got a lot wrong. We are sorry. Thank you for what you did, can we start again…’
I can't imagine it... can you?
The common image of the ‘workplace-bullied’ is a weak, oddball, loner. The academic evidence contradicts that. The bullied are often successful people, well-liked and professional.
Bullies pick on capable people. They’ll try and pick off the influencers because they see them as a threat.
Bullies pick on people who are better than them, know more, have more experience and expertise because bullies are generally out of their depth.
They bully because they can’t, or don’t have the skills, to achieve their goals by leadership, management skills, persuasion, communication, experience or talent. So, they can end up white collar thugs.
As one emailer put it;
‘Sometimes, they made it feel like we were working in a totalitarian state.’
>> I'm hearing - James Lyons, son-in law of Margaret Hodge, was appointed to succeed Simon Enright, as head of comm's at NHSE. Enright is the son of labour MP/MEP Derek Enright. What a coincidence...
>> I'm hearing - Karen Taylor, current deputy, is to be appointed chief executive of Hertfordshire Partnership University Foundation Trust
replacing Tom Cahill, who will leave in December.
>> I'm hearing - GP practices are warning of potential cashflow problems after pensions deductions as high as almost £80,000 have been incorrectly taken via the new NHS payments portal in England.Payment issues, including those relating to QOF, have been ongoing since the launch of the portal.