Is there a grown-up in the room?

By Jo Francis, Friday 29 March 2019

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Jo Francis despairs at the Brexit omnishambles, while trying to find a positive takeaway in how not to make decisions.

So here we are, at Brexit Day, and after getting on for three years of mismanagement by our elected leaders we seem to be no closer to resolving the situation.

As a self-confessed news junkie I’ve been following the saga with increasing disbelief (and concern for my mental health) as bad decision upon bad decision has been made.

Our MPs inexplicably voted to start a countdown that then involved having to go begging to the EU for an extension. What. A. Farce. Except, of course, that it’s not funny.

What strikes me as the key learning from the overall shambles is this: I keep thinking “was there a grown-up in the room when X, Y and Z decisions were made in this whole process?”. Did anyone put their hand up and say “Um, what if…?” at any point during the succession of ill thought-out moves that have brought us to this point?

Another recent example of this sort of non-thinking is the Cadbury’s ‘real treasure hunt’ ad campaign that had to be swiftly pulled. Where was the person who should have said: “Um, are you sure about this?” at ad agency or client? See also the original ‘flashing’ London 2012 logo. “Um, isn’t this going to be problematic for people with epilepsy?”. Answer: yes.

By grown-ups I don’t mean it has to be a grey beard or wrinkled woman. Just someone with their head screwed on, with suitable knowledge, and with the ability to ask valid questions that should, in a reasonable environment, be taken into consideration by those at the top of an organisation.

While it’s too late for the country, for business leaders it is surely vital to be open to having plans questioned (and to take on board the points made).

In the meantime, while we wait to find out the next step in the omnishambles that is Brexit, I can but hope that Mel Brooks is prepped to bring us Brexit the Movie, which would at least be something to smile about.

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