Will Abbott make a good wartime Prime Minister?

By September 28, 2014 No Comments

abbott warAnd what can CEOs learn from him?

It’s a reasonable assumption that we are going to be on the warpath for the next few years. Jihadist stories are going to dominate our headlines at least past the next federal election.

And the way our political leaders conduct themselves penetrates our conversations, offices and lounge rooms to such an extent now, one major event can significantly influence the culture of the nation. So what might we be about to learn from Abbott’s strengths and weaknesses?abbott war 2

The last time we assessed this was when he won the ballot that saw Turnbull lose the Liberal Party leadership (linked).

There’s actually a simple method we use to ascertain what’s required to ensure a CEO/spokesperson is equipped for the task, particularly when facing a tricky issue that goes public.

Six make/break fundamentals in assessing leaders for managing issues

1 Strong disciplined leadership. Set a course and don’t sweat the small stuff; when the temperature is turned to red-hot don’t melt; however, be aware that other people will weaken, so make sure you keep all essential stakeholders travelling with you, which sometimes means slowing down, taking small steps, articulating milestones, etc.. Abbott has a cohesive, disciplined team that’s been essentially unchanged for some time.
2 Strong spokespeople. Generally the best spokespeople thrive out front – being a spokesperson is a 24/7 love affair. Especially important when the going gets tough. Abbott has this nailed.
3 Strong messages. Winning messages are built out of a solid purpose and strong values, good research and a well-thought-through strategy (know ahead of time whether your messages are aligned with community values and are likely or not to win the debate).Repetition = Penetration = Impact His years in opposition taught him the art of the one-liner. The best in the country at it.
4 Keep it simple. Multichannel communication these days is complex, but simple rules still apply: at least one outstanding key selling point; be reliable, accurate and fair; be ethical, trustworthy, open; above all be honest. Again Abbott has this nailed.
5 Keep it nimble. Be quick to respond. With online media this is more important now than ever. Journalists require it, other stakeholders admire it. ‘The early bird….’ it’s an oldy but it’s true. Abbott has a superb comms team supporting him.
6 Keep budgets real. Not too low, not too high. If you’re a consultant be honest with your budget requirements, and open about the way you spend other people’s money – you need your client’s trust. If you are a client, find a consultant you can trust. n/a



Peter Wilkinson

Author Peter Wilkinson

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