May’s Network Failure

So, Theresa May won the Vote of Confidence called against her last night, somewhat unsurprisingly perhaps. But should she have been in the position where it was called in the first place?

I have had a number of conversations this year with clients seeking to influence key decisions. One of the common threads has been the importance of being confident in the outcome of an important meeting before going into the room. A typical example is presenting a proposal at a Board or senior management meeting.

Theresa May’s decision on Monday calling off the vote on her Brexit proposals scheduled for Tuesday wasn’t a shock to any of the pundits who had been predicting a heavy defeat for her. But her Cabinet Ministers did seem somewhat blindsided by the decision, particular those who had appeared on national television that morning expressing certainty that the vote was going ahead.

The Times reported that Government Whips only started canvassing some Conservative MPs at the weekend, a matter of hours before the vote. That is a startling revelation, as I would hope my clients would tell you.

I constantly stress that networking is not about exchanges of business cards and elevator pitches. It is about developing networks of strong relationships with people who will support you when needed, advocate on your behalf and feed you key intelligence and information that will help you to make your case. And politics thrives on it.

Theresa May’s networks failed her this week and pushed her into a corner yesterday. Strong networks, managed by the whips, would have either guaranteed her the support of Parliament in the most important vote of her Premiership or they would have given her the insight and advice to make the right tactical decision well in advance and the support to see it through.

Either those networks weren’t in place, were poorly managed or were simply ignored. She had a close escape yesterday but part of the reported cost was her chance of leading her party into the next General Election.

Underestimate the importance of your network at your peril!

It didn’t matter how many times I was chased home. It didn’t matter how many times the girls bullied me. It didn’t matter how many times my father beat me. It didn’t matter how many times the teachers picked on me. I just knew; This is not it! There is more greatness to come!