In Canada we are in the midst of a federal election. And, we are in the midst of seeing how leaders let us down and how we as followers are culpable to this poor performance.
I will make this case by drawing upon a tsunami like trend in our country:
- Aging demographics.
- Risks to two of most cherished sacred cow like social policies – health care and pensions of this “it will happen” demographic trend.
I have looked at future work participation rates in Canada that suggest that by the end of this decade participation rates will peak. Much of my consulting practice is to work with organizations who see this trend in very specific and unfortunately tangible ways. This is why readers of this BLOG will understand why I strive to help look for talent need solutions that are non-employee centric in nature.
Back to this post’s theme: Our politicians are choosing to ignore the issue in terms of not mentioning it. Why? Ignorance? Unlikely. Don’t believe it is a problem? God help us if this is true. Unable to talk about this without jeopardizing their political fortunes? Most likely I believe.
If this is true, why is it true? The assumption that we, those who will do the electing are unable/unwilling to face this issue directly is also likely a big part of the choice to remain silent.
We have an understandable propensity to have high expectations of leaders, especially when things go wrong. I do not see a strong public perspective to talk about future crises. We would rather deal with the crisis when it arrives. Heading it off at the figurative pass seems to be of low importance. Why doI say this? Because at least one political leader has promised to increase pensions for low pension earners. Actually all the leaders are promising to spend additional future dollars for our benefit. For me this suggests that we can get your vote today at the price of hardship tomorrow.
Businesses, deservedly go bankrupt for such practices (unless they are “too big to fail”).
From a talent management perspective: we will have to find a way to exponentially increase productivity of every person who participates in the future workforce. I do not see our politicians being at all relevant in this perspective.
From a decision making perspective: those leaders who will be around when the “difficulties” arrive will be pillared, even though it was the politicians of yesteryear and today to helped us arrive to this outcome. Also, those of us who continually believe that it is okay to spend our grandchildren’s inheritance and even saddle them with burdens of financing these policies we will be fondly remembered. I not only do not see our politicians being helpful here, I see them being borderline reckless.
From an uncertainty and risk perspective: this is a situation where we make an undesirable probable future a reality by what we choose to do today. The reality in risk management is we can do two things: we can do that which reduces the likelihood of the adverse event; and/or we can take actions that mitigate the harm done by the event. I do not see any of our politicians proposing either of these two basic uncertainty and risk management principles.
And I will finish off with a parting shot at those who buy the message when they know better: we choose to elect those who help us believe we can get away with this at a societal level (Most of us would not espouse nor practice this form of self deception within our own financial houses).
One of the true joys of being a “still learner” is I am often wrong. May this be the case here.