I used to play a bit of sport. Not very well, but I tried. I well recall the inglorious defeats of the college football team I was part of a few too many decades ago, once or twice we lost by double figures. Fingers got pointed. Watching even the pros it’s sometimes disappointing to see the blame game take over when things aren’t going well.
In life as in sport as I said in a previous blog. The challenges in local government just now certainly warrant the label “things aren’t going well”. That is to say we are having to find creativity and innovation to maintain and improve services with significantly reduced cash resources at a level I for one have not experienced in my career to date. And we are doing it, but sometimes the challenges in one area of work, in the eyes of those holding responsibility for that area, are rooted in the decisions or actions of others elsewhere in the organisation. Classic responses – “our overspend is the result of their failure”, “if they did this then we wouldn’t have to do that”, “can’t they see it’s their problem?”.
The re-design and re-think of local government we are all involved in needs us to think “long game” and, in particular, “big picture” all the time. Apologies for the clichés. If we see ourselves as firstly of our service and then, only in second place, of the business as a whole, we will fail.
We can commit to the mantra of “one council” in rhetoric, but when things are tough that commitment can be challenged. The thing we have to avoid when the going gets tough is the tough having a go at each other. In our current environment there is no room for the blame game. In the face of any challenge unity is strength.