Tips to AVOID populism

The world is a new place full of old people that slay democracy in the name of the few. Well, that’s not that new, actually is an old strategy that grants extremities the power of the few to guide the choice of all.

As  Andrés Miguel Rondón puts it in the  :

“The whole world’s eyes are on Washington today, and not in a good way. As Venezuelans, we’re looking North with more trepidation than most today, even though — in fairness — the panic over Trump-as-northern-Chávez is premature. A politician is to be judged by what it does in office, not by what he says before he gets there. Beating Chávez historic economic demolition of the richest oil country in the world, during the biggest oil bonanza ever, leaving behind an inflation-ridden, bullet-stricken, hungry, ailing country — is quite an ask. But let’s see what happens.

Because in one way, Trump and Chávez are identical: they are masters of Populism.

There’s something soothing in all that anger. Though full of hatred, it promises redemption.

The recipe is universal. Find a wound common to many, someone to blame for it and a good story to tell. Mix it all together. Tell the wounded you know how they feel. That you found the bad guys. Label them: the minorities, the politicians, the businessmen. Cartoon them. As vermin, evil masterminds, flavourless hipsters, you name it. Then paint yourself as the saviour. Capture their imagination. Forget about policies and plans, just enrapture them with a good story. One that starts in anger and ends in vengeance. A vengeance they can participate in. ”

What is populism ? 

“At the root of populist movements is a delineation between “normal folk” and “the elite.” For example, “We” are the people and “they” are the ones who cheat, control and subjugate us, along with their supporters. These concepts are impossible to define in clearer terms because they don’t reflect objective realities. More than anything else, the divide is grounded on identity and emotion that stem from making a sharp distinction between friend and enemy.”

So how to have the power of choice in the era ?

_ It is important to acknowledge that globalization, technological progress and tax reductions elevate the quality of life of society as a whole; but in the short term, they deliver a direct blow to certain pockets of the population, especially in rigid labor markets that hinder the unemployed from quickly finding a new job. Someone needs to break the news that not everyone’s standard of living will continually rise and that some peoples net income will remain stagnant for years on end.

_Populism is a stance and a rhetoric more than an ideology or a set of positions. It speaks of a battle of good against evil, demanding simple answers to difficult problems.

Following Stephen Fussell advice lets lay some ground tips:

1. Be a stabilizer.

While the vision for our political and economic futures may be murky, we can provide our people with a clear vision of what it will take to grow our companies, and their careers. We should be advertising this corporate vision — both short-term and long-term — openly and often, so our teams and employees can align their goals.

We can also be an anchor of stability by creating opportunities by investing in our employees. This might mean we need to create new sorts of innovative jobs and retrain people. It’s a fact for all of us that we won’t retain 100 percent of our employees for life, but if we invest in them, we’re going to retain more than most. And for those we don’t, we’re making their lives a little better, too, by getting them ready for the jobs of tomorrow — and likely gaining a lifelong advocate, if not a lifelong employee.

By making employees’ skills more sustainable, you further your company’s ability to grow sustainably, too.

2. Offer security.

Security is a physical need, but also a financial and mental one.

People want to live today, and know they’ll be able to retire someday, without fretting finances — Abbott offers a pension and a 401(k) among other financial benefits to its employees to address this.

They also want to feel secure in their jobs. Employees should feel safe to ask for a flexible work schedule if they so choose. They should know they won’t be implicitly punished for taking a few extra weeks off for maternity or paternity leave.

Managers should be their employees’ principal advocate, offering continuous feedback to help their team members succeed, not once-a-year performance reviews, and making an effort to connect with employees in person as often as possible. This helps people feel safe to innovate, throw out new ideas — and even to fail every once in a while.

Businesses need to offer a mix of formal benefits and a culture of open communication to make security at the workplace a reality. Which brings me to my next point:

3. Build aquariums, not hidden libraries.

With 40 percent of the world’s population under the age of 24, the people we work beside more than ever have grown up with — and expect — connectivity and transparency both at home and at work.

Our employees will connect with each other one way or another, but whether it’s us that connects them — or all these forces we can’t control — is up to us as business leaders.

We can connect them via networking events, mentoring programs and intriguing, relevant content on our internal company websites. We can speak to employees with the sort of open language we’d use with any highly respected colleague. And on a micro-level, we can encourage managers to form authentic relationships instead of transactional ones.

In a world where so many people are disillusioned by so much, let’s help those who work for us be happy when they put their feet on the ground each morning to head into the office or out into the field.

As in:

How to Culture Jam a Populist in Four Easy Steps

Leave a Reply