Why Mrs May and her “NEDs” should (re) read Chilcot on decision-making, today

Even CEO/owners of private companies with boards should consult them properly on key decisions, if only for selfish reasons. The risks of not doing so are high.

Prime ministers are not running private companies. They are acting on our behalf. The bar on following good decision-making practice must be set at the highest level.

Mr Blair ignored this requirement during the Iraq crisis. Instead, according to The Chilcot Report, he used a ”sofa-style” decision-making approach using a small number of close advisors. The disastrous results are etched on his face to this day.

Mrs May is repeating this error. There is no evidence of thoughtful collective decision-making, with input from Devil’s Advocates and with consideration of the needs all stakeholders.

History will judge her harshly. The worst damage is done, already. Over the next year we will merely experience the impact of her solo decisions over the last two.

But her ministers, who are behaving like complicit NEDs on a board dominated by a dominant CEO, will also be thrashed by the inevitable public inquiry into Brexit.

They, like so many NEDs, could stand up to her but are afraid. Afraid for themselves. Afraid they won’t be supported by other ”NEDs”.

This has nothing to do with the rights or wrongs of Brexit. It’s to do with its implementation.

There was zero focus on facilitating a shared purpose for the people of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and its relationship with neighbours after Brexit.

As in business, zero shared purpose in politics means there’s lots of activity but little progress.

It’s not too late for a courageous ”NED” – that is, a minister or even an MP seen as a supporter of the Prime Minister – to man or woman up and say what might feel like the unsayable:

”Prime Minister, as you know I have been a long time loyal supporter. But I can no longer support the process you are using to take key decisions. And I am not resigning. Every day you fail to use Cabinet and Parliament properly I will publicly protest that failure.”

It will never happen, you say. It didn’t happen in the Blair government nor in many high profile corporate scandal – RBS or Carillion to mention just two.

But I detect a shifting mood within moderates in politics and in business. This reflects a shifting mood in society which is saying: we’ve had enough of powerful people impacting our lives, unchecked.

Moderates who want to limit the damage should act, this week. Or else.

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