Get People Involved Before Making A Decision That Impacts Their Lives
Posted Jul 12 2010 12:00am
As we celebrate our freedom for yet another year, I marvel at the system that has preserved that freedom for so many amazing and productive years.
It is obvious, if you read the editorial page and political commentary of your local paper, listen to talk radio, or read one of the myriad political blogs on the internet, that someone is always unhappy about the state of the union. Some of the unhappy people get together and have a (tea) party. Some have coffee instead. And they ought to be unhappy, really, because our system of governance is seriously flawed. Politicians are owned by special interests. Leaders are bound by agreements they never made. And no matter who wins on an issue, someone always loses. My father in law used to say “This is the worst system in the world. Except all the other ones.”
I remember reading, as a student in history class, that the founding fathers envisioned the possibility that our Republic would be hijacked by special interests quite easily. Thomas Jefferson wrote that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” The founders thought it possible that, because of the nature of power and politics, a violent overthrow of the government might be required every twenty years or so in order to maintain the freedoms for which they so gallantly fought.
And yet, it hasn’t happened.
With the exception of a few uprisings, riots and a civil war, American society has stayed fairly civil (in deeds if not in words) about power and politics. Why? Because our system is so incredibly and artfully designed that people get a say in the future every couple of years. It’s the beauty of our elections. Vote or don’t vote. Pick one party or the other. You get your say. And if you’re unhappy, don’t get too worried, because you’ll get your say again. Even not voting is a form of having your say.
I’m an advocate for involvement and engagement before decisions get made. I think that’s how it ought to be in organizations and businesses. People don’t want to hear about the new deal after the fact. They want to hear about it while it is still being thought about. That gives them a chance to talk about it, think about it, and have some say in it. Even if they don’t like the way it turns out, they get their say.
How does this apply to you? Well, when an important decision is coming down the road or standing on the brink, you can ask people to think about it and invite their input! Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a way to make a better decision. Or maybe, they’ll find the way to support the decision that is eventually made. In either case, rather than a mixed message, it’s a congruent message of respect.