If you were brought up in the 50s/60s or have a predilection for Hearbeat or Call the Midwife (don’t worry I won’t tell a soul) then you may be reminded of the smog that used to envelope us, prior to implementing the Clean Air Acts.
Well we now have clean air but we seem to be governed by organisations that won’t clear the air. As we are regaled with Hillsborough, South Staffs and LIBOR scandals, it seems to me that one question still needs to be asked: why did it take so long for those with complaints to be heard, really listened to, to the extent that actions are taken? Years and years and years elapsed. People must have started to lose hope that they would ever be heard.
Modern companies, those that grow swiftly and create significant wealth, generally don’t behave like that. They are open to criticism, sorting the constructive from the destructive, and using the best ideas to stay ahead of their competition or even to create completely new markets. Organisations such as the Civil Service seem to be based on the belief that any criticism is unwarranted, unjustified and the deluded product of diseased minds of madmen with axes to grind.
It is a genuine and heartfelt belief that things should be better. And actually, the more personal and emotional the criticism the more a person should be listened to because we only get to that level when rational, balanced objective criticism has been rejected.
So please, Permanent Secretary, Commissioner, Ombudsman, and Customer Services Representative, Listen, listen carefully, listen empathically and don’t reject us in a defensive reaction born of complacency, over-confidence and smugness.
It’s choking us.