Sunday, August 29, 2010

Its all about ambiguity!

The current federal political situation in Australia is symptomatic of the problems with First Generation Leadership and Second Generation Leadership. Both of these depend on hierarchy and control. They both make it clear as to where the "real" power lies and who is in charge. They are both totally inadequate for situations where there is a significant amount of complexity and ambiguity.

Of course our media are inextricably linked into this model, too. The impact of this is that on TV, radio, and in the print media we are confronted by calls for "certainty" and an end to what is seen as an impasse. First Generation Leadership (compliance) and Second Generation Leadership (conformance) seek to bring things back to levels of simplicity that can be handled by people who lack the requisite ability to deal with the reality of ambiguity and complexity.

The truth is that the people of Australia have made it clear that they don't really think either major party is up to the task of governing. They don't really trust either party - and with good reason. And the media "shock jocks" especially are affronted by this.

Our two party political system has lied us into wars of choice that have lead to the deaths of 21 soldiers and countless others wounded or emotionally affected. Our two party political system has seen the main contestants vie with each other as to who can be tougher on refugees and the disadvantaged. Our two main political parties wasted their campaigns by rubbishing their opponents and failed to give us any reason to vote for them. Our two main political parties are both subject to the whims and fancies of unelected power brokers with vested and undeclared interests that, in reality, have little or nothing to do with what is best for Australia overall.

Now these parties have to negotiate with people they have tried to marginalise and/or ignore for years - people who once were members of their parties but who rejected them. The scarcely hidden anger and frustration from the establishment is great.

Personally I don't think any political party is a good one - in fact I think political parties indicate a decline in democracy. Equally I think there is a danger in a small number of independents being able to ultimately decide what is done.

We need a new approach to leadership - one that is able to understand and to deal effectively with increasing amounts of ambiguity and complexity. We need to make the shift to Third Generation Leadership.

Please let me know what you think about this. You can post your comments below.

More information about Doug Long at

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Australian Elections - failures in leadership

What an election campaign that was! The two major parties proved very adept at pointing out the faults of their opponents. A lack-lustre campaign by people who seem to have little or no understanding of what leadership is all about. No wonder we're stuck with a hung parliament!

There have been 2 generations of leadership in the past. First Generation Leadership was all about obedience. Second Generation Leadership was all about conformance. You don't need vision and inspiration for these - all you need is a desire to obtain power or to remain in power.

Third Generation Leadership is about engaging people and enabling them to achieve great things. Neither the Liberal-National Coalition nor the Labor Party offered this. (And neither did the others to any extent.)

What a travesty. No matter who wins we'll wind up with mediocrity dragging us further into mediocrity. We've got Second Generation Leaders trying to use First Generation Leadership approaches in a Third Generation Leadership world. In my 34 years in Australia I have never before experienced such a rubbish campaign or seen such mediocrity in both major parties.

Australia deserves better than this.

Please let me know what you think about this posting. Place you comments below.

More information about Douglas Long at